WhoIs Privacy and Proxy Service Abuse
ICANN has a draft study that looks at abuse of the Whois database.
This study, conducted by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the United Kingdom, analyzes gTLD domain names to measure whether the percentage of privacy/proxy use among domains engaged in illegal or harmful Internet activities is significantly greater than among domain names used for lawful Internet activities. Furthermore, this study compares these privacy/proxy percentages to other methods used to obscure identity notably, Whois phone numbers that are invalid.
Richard Clayton, the primary author of the report, has a blog post:
However, it’s more interesting to ask whether this percentage is somewhat higher than the usage of privacy or proxy services for entirely lawful and harmless Internet activities? This turned out NOT to be the case for example banks use privacy and proxy services almost as often as the registrants of domains used in the hosting of child sexual abuse images; and the registrants of domains used to host (legal) adult pornography use privacy and proxy services more often than most (but not all) of the different types of malicious activity that we studied.
Richard has been telling me about this work for a while. It’s nice to see it finally published.
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