] "The Government must play a greater role in punishing
] those who conceal their identities online, particularly
] when they do so in furtherance of a serious federal
] criminal offense or in violation of a federally protected
] intellectual property right," (Lamar) Smith said at a hearing on
] the topic today.
Congress wants to make it a federal crime to lie on your domain name registration. If you do not make your real address, telephone number, and email available to everyone on earth you can be sentenced to federal prison time (in this version you'd have a sentence for another crime extended). This came up in last years legislative session as well. The thing that makes my blood boil about this is that the spin is totally wrong. The copyright people are lying through their teeth, this journalist can't see through it, and the CDT/ACLU don't understand EITHER so they are providing the wrong counterpoints, almost assuring that this will pass!
This article lets slide absolute lies like:
] Smith and Berman drafted the bill after receiving complaints
] from the entertainment and software industries that much of
] their material is made available for free on Web sites whose
] owners are impossible to track down because their domain
] name registrations often contain made-up names.
No web site owner is "impossible" to track down!
DNS whois information is made available for reference. It is intended to assist communication between administrators who run networks, for security or network management related reasons. It was not designed for lawyers or police. It was also not designed with the modern spam and stalker infested internet in mind, and therefore often people fill it out with false information, especially if they aren't a business entity.
If you want to track down someone on the internet for a legal reason, you do not use the DNS whois system. That is not what the DNS whois system is for. You do a nslookup on the domain name and get the IP address. Then you use the ARIN whois system, (a completely different and totally unrelated database that used to run on the same software) which tells you what ISP an IP address has been issued to. ARIN whois is usually correct. If it is not correct you can complain to ARIN and they can check their records. Their records are always correct unless the IP addresses have been stolen (and if you're dealing with stolen IP addresses you're way past the point where DNS whois is going to help you, federal crime or not). Either way you'll get an ISP. You then go to a court and get a subpoena, and send that subpoena to the ISP, and the ISP produces contact information for the customer. This always works.
Let me be absolutely clear about this. Requiring people to keep accurate dns whois records has absolutely nothing at all to do with being able to track down domain holders on the internet. You can always do that today. Forcing people to keep accurate dns whois records is about being able to track down domain holders on the internet without court authorization. We should not allow that.
What really pisses me off here is that no one on "our side of the fence" in this debate is making that point. We're going to loose this one if the discussion isn't forced back into the realm of reality. If this is about people committing crimes on internet sites that can't be tracked down by any means, we'll be passing laws based on a complete fantasy.
Kids, this is exactly how bad law happens.
Congress Eyes Idiotic Whois Crackdown