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Using Domain Name Registration Data

Under ICANN contracts, RDDS can be used for legal purposes except for enabling mass unsolicited commercial advertising or solicitations. Additionally, it cannot be used for enabling high-volume, automated electronic processes that send queries or data to a registry or registrar's systems except as necessary to manage domain names.

The recent evolution of data protection regulations across the globe changed the landscape and impacted the availability of personal data through RDDS. Specifically, the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has brought about changes in ICANN agreements and related WHOIS policies. Read more about how the ICANN community and organization has responded to the GDPR here.

One of the key outcomes of the policy changes was the restriction of access to most personal data. However, ICANN contracted parties (registries and registrars) are required to provide reasonable access to registration data that was previously publicly available. The community is working towards addressing the need for access to previously public registration data while aiming to strike a balance between data privacy and accessibility.

Below are numerous purposes for which people use RDDS:

  • Determining whether a domain is available.
  • Diagnosing registration difficulties.
  • Contacting web administrators for resolution of technical matters associated with a domain name.
  • Providing investigators and law enforcement officers with information to quickly investigate a compromised website.
  • Requesting to obtain the real world identity, business location or contact information of an online merchant or business, or generally, any organization that has an online presence, subject to an established legal purpose.
  • Aiding law enforcement in:

    • Identifying if the domain name holder is maliciously or incorrectly using a trademarked domain name.
    • Online crime investigations such as identifying the criminals as well as determining the scope of their activities.
    • Gathering investigative leads, finding email addresses, and attempting to identify the location of an alleged perpetrator of a crime involving fraud.
  • Contacting a domain name registrant on matters related to:

    • The protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.
    • Registrant's obligation to maintain accurate registration information.
    • Discussing and negotiating a secondary market transaction related to a registered domain name.
  • Establishing or looking into an identity in cyberspace, and as part of an incident response following an Internet or computer attack- (Security professionals and law enforcement agents use RDDS to identify points of contact for a domain name).
Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."