Nominet UK in climb-down over WHOIS data

Opt-out strings attached

Nominet UK - the national registry for .uk domain names - has been forced into a U-turn over plans to publish personal details of UK domain name holders on its WHOIS database.

The move is a victory for those who claimed the sweeping measures breached their personal privacy.

However, the climb-down is not universal and only applies to individuals whose Web site is used for personal, and not commercial use.

Businesses will have no option but to have their details published online.

From October businesses with a .uk domain name will have their company or trading address published as a matter of course, although no telephone numbers or email addresses will be included.

However, even an individual's personal details will be published on the WHOIS database unless they "opt out" of the scheme.

The revised WHOIS format will take effect for new registrations made from December 2002.

Existing domain name holders will be given the chance to opt out when it's time to renew their domains.

Nominet UK claims it has made the concession to "protect the privacy of individuals".

Said Nominet UK MD, Lesley Cowley: "While the principle of improving the scope of the WHOIS search facility remains, we have changed our plans to take account of the concerns expressed."

In April, Nominet UK announced details of extending the scope of its WHOIS database claiming it was stepping in line with other top level domain registries around the world. ®

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