US court keeps .NZ domain owners’ data private

A US Appeals Court has upheld an earlier US court decision preventing US company DomainTools from publishing the details of .NZ domain name owners.

In September 2018 allowing court action initiated by New Zealand’s Domain Names Commission, the US District Court in Washington Seattle ruled against DomainTools publishing the personal details of .NZ domain name owners. However, DomainTools appealed the decision but on 17 July lost its appeal the US Court of Appeals.

DomainTools has for many years been scraping registration data from New Zealand’s Domain Name Commission, and many other similar bodies around the world.

However in 2018, the commission mandated that a privacy option be offered for all non-business .nz domain name holders enabling them to withhold their address and phone number from appearing in the online registration data search.

The commission says more than 63,000 domain names have already taken up the option, but the withheld information was still available from DomainTools.

Domain Name Commissioner, Brent Carey, said the win was important for managers of other countries’ domain name systems who might consider starting legal action against DomainTools and other similar companies where terms of use are breached.

The service offered by DomainTools has its upside. In 2015 ComputerWorld NZ reported how it could benefit efforts to counter cybercrime.

“[DomainTools] has collected vast amounts of information about the Web: historical domain name registrations and network information, all of which are extremely valuable in investigating cyberattacks.”


Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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