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Frequently Asked Questions

What is WHOIS?

WHOIS is a database that lists every registered domain name in the world. When a WHOIS query is submitted, it returns information such as who owns a domain name and their contact information. In some cases, additional information such as a domain name’s registration and renewal dates are included, as well as any technical and administrative contact details.

To find out who owns a domain name, all you have to do is type the domain on the search box above.

Why is WHOIS data important?

Every time a domain name is registered, registrars need to verify the identity of a domain’s owner or registrant. This information is important because any domain name disputes and technical issues will need to be resolved by the domain name owner.

Beyond this, WHOIS information is used by different parties in many different ways. In some cases, domain names may be put up for sale and having WHOIS information is a way to determine and generate leads in the sale of a domain name. WHOIS information can also be used by network administrators to combat spam, fraud, identify trademark infringement and track down registrants that may be engaged in damaging or illegal activities.

How is WHOIS changing?

In light of the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, coming into force within the European Union in May 2018, many Registries and Registrars that operate within that region, or globally, are required to gain Registrant's consent before disclosing Personally Identifiable Information to any third parties or the public. As a result of the implementation of the GDRP, much of the data historically found within WHOIS will no longer be included or be redacted. The absence of this information has a trickle-down effect throughout the domain industry, affecting WHOIS data output for domain names and Registrants that do not have an immediate or obvious nexus to the European Union

How is the GDPR applicable to Webnames.ca?

Under Recital 23 of the GDPR, Webnames.ca claims no nexus with the EU, EEA nor the citizens of either, and therefore claims non-applicability of the GDPR to any and all aspects of its business.

Despite this, many of the domain Registries that Webnames is partnered with to provide domain extensions must comply fully with the GDPR. The changes to policies and procedures required of these partners will affect what information is collected, shared and displayed, and may result in changes to agreements and terms.

Notwithstanding, many domain Registries with whom Webnames.ca contracts must fully comply with the GDPR, and therefore these Registries may implement policies or procedures relating to WHOIS data which result in changes. These changes may include, but are not limited to,?variations in what WHOIS data is included and how it is displayed via the Webnames's WHOIS lookup page.

Therefore, in regards to WHOIS output:

Where the domain Registry is the sole source of Registrant WHOIS data for the queried domain, the WHOIS data will be displayed by Webnames in whatever form it is received from the Registry, without alteration of any kind. This may result in some fields, particularly those containing (or potentially containing) Personally Identifiable Information being absent, blank or redacted.

Where Webnames is the sole source of Registrant WHOIS data for the queried domain, the WHOIS data will be displayed in full, except in cases where Webnames Privacy has been purchased and activated by the Registrant, in which case the Privacy information will be displayed in place of the Registrant's information.

Where another Registrar is the sole source of Registrant WHOIS data for the queried domain, the WHOIS data will be displayed by Webnames in whatever form it is received from the other Registrar, without alteration of any kind.

Why is some of Registrant data still public?

WHOIS can trace its roots back to 1982 when a protocol for a directory was established by ARPANET users. Initially, the directory simply listed contact information that was requested by anyone transmitting data across the ARPANET.

However, as the internet became available to more users, WHOIS began to serve the need of different stakeholders that ranged from Registrants, governments and corporations. For decades WHOIS data was open to the public to ensure that all stakeholders, from Registrant and domain investors to government agencies and corporations are able to quickly determine who owns a domain name online

Why do some WHOIS queries have more information than others?

With WHOIS now in a state of change due in part to privacy laws such as GDPR, the data displayed in a WHOIS lookup can vary to some degree as each of the Registrant, Registrar and Registry have (or do not have) a jurisdictional nexus with such laws.

Where a nexus with the EU's GDPR is present, Personally Identifiable Information will often be removed or redacted from WHOIS output.

Why do some WHOIS queries have more information than others?

With WHOIS now in a state of change due in part to privacy laws such as GDPR, the data displayed in a WHOIS lookup can vary to some degree as each of the Registrant, Registrar and Registry have (or do not have) a jurisdictional nexus with such laws.

Where a nexus with the EU's GDPR is present, Personally Identifiable Information will often be removed or redacted from WHOIS output.

How can I hide my remaining public contact details from the WHOIS database?

For Canadians with a .CA domain name, the?Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA)?automatically provides domain privacy be default. However, non .CA domain names will need to purchase an additional service called a Domain Privacy service. Once purchased, all Registrant information on the WHOIS database is replaced by proxy contact information. In most cases, this information belongs to the operating registrar such as Webnames.ca.

While the details list a registrar or proxy contact information, the true owner of a domain name is still the original registrant.

Why should Registrants still utilize WHOIS Privacy Services?

The WHOIS database lists information about each domain registration online and is open to the public. In regards to Registrant information, the amount that is displayed publicly may differ based on a number of factors, including:

  • The specific domain extension (each are operated by an independent Registry with their own policies pertaining to WHOIS output)
  • The type of Registrant used for the registration (GDPR and other privacy policies revolve around Personally Identifiable Information, and not Corporate or non-personal information)

This means that malicious entities are still able to quickly access this public directory and survey for potential pieces of information to exploits. By replacing your information through a privacy service, your information is effectively blocked from public access.

I am a third party with legitimate interests in Registrant information which has been redacted or excluded from WHOIS output. How to I obtain access to this Registrant information?

Webnames.ca will provide access to Personal Data within Registration Data over and above what may already be present publicly to third parties, when ordered to do so directly and specifically by a Canadian court of competent jurisdiction.

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