Recently I was pointed to a series of postings on Bob Parsons blog regarding some decisions made by the company that administers the .US domain (that being Neustar).
Mr. Parsons, who is the founder of GoDaddy, a very successful domain registrar, goes on to comment that the recent decision by the NTIA made it ‘illegal to have a private registration’ of a domain.
While the decision by the NTIA may be poorly founded, and Neustars interpretation of the decision flawed (nowhere in Mr. Parsons postings, nor on Neustars site, nor on the NTIA’s site did I find a link to the rule change that is being talked about), I feel Mr. Parsons reaction to be overly dramatic and in fact harmful to the clear and informed process that should be followed when things like this arise.
From Mr. Parsons posting on March 29th :
But Mr. Parsons doesn’t stop there. This is not a poor decision by a government beaurocracy. This is an ASSAULT on our RIGHTS to PRIVACY! I will quote here:
It’s ironic that we lost our right to privacy on the one domain name that says we are Americans!
I find it ironic that our rights to .US privacy were stripped away (without due process) by a federal government agency that should be looking out for our individual rights. For them to choose the .US domain name is the ultimate slap in the face. .US is the one domain name that is specifically intended for Americans. Think about this for a moment: These bureaucrats stripped away the privacy, guaranteed by the first amendment and that you’re entitled to as an American, on the only domain name (.US) that says that you are an American. I am outraged by this — you should be also.
Let me be clear here. I think the NTIA’s decision was a poor one, and should be addressed, but I feel that Mr. Parsons has gone off the deep end equating a poor decision by a government agency with an all out assault on our rights as US citizens.
Domain registrations are a process of creating a space in the public forum where you wish to voice or present information that is uniquely associated with yourself. It is not an anonymous forum. “Private Registrations” are a false workaround to publishing Whois information, by registering the domain through a secondary proxy (in GoDaddy’s case, they are using DomainsByProxy, an affiliate website. The legality of this form of registration is already questioned, since the ownership of a domain could already be perceived as being misrepresented.
I wholly support the process of calling the NTIA and/or Neustar to task for this decision, but it should be pursued in a sane, intelligent way, not via rants and handwaving in the style Mr. Parsons seems to prefer.