ICANN wants to kill WHOIS and fast web browsing

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The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) wants to kill the popular WHOIS tool, which internet users can currently use to find information on a domain name.

ICANN has established a working group to get public input on the matter. Currently the WHOIS system makes domain registration information to everybody – you just have to use a command-line or web-based WHOIS lookup tool – but that’s all set to change. ICANN wants to get rid of the current system, something that’s already been in the pipeline for a decade, because it regards it as broken.

Instead of leaving well enough alone and enhancing the current, simply WHOIS system, it wants to use an aggregated registration data service (ARDS) to have different tiers in the lookup system. Essentially this will introduce checks into the system – more hoops for companies to jump through – to prevent it from being abused, likely by spammers who use it to gain details on domain owners.

However, with more stops introduced in the lookup system there is concern that latency will increase, and ultimately web users are affected by this in the form of slower web browsing. ARDS will also mean that all aggregating DNS servers will have to query data from a centralised repository. So if that goes down, and has no redundancy, the service is rendered unusable.


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Christo van Gemert

Christo van Gemert

Eleven years ago Christo started writing about technology for one of South Africa's (then) leading computer magazines. His first review? A Samsung LCD monitor. Hey, it was hot news, back then. Nowadays he gets more excited about photography, cars, game consoles, and faster internet connections. He's sort of an Apple fan, but will take any opportunity to remind you about his Windows-powered home theatre PC and desire to own a vanilla Android tablet.   Currently uses: Apple 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display, Apple iPhone 5, Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000, Audiofly AF78 Earphones, Xbox 360, Nikon D50.