I am delighted to report that ICANN has engaged the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) of Pittsburgh, PA, USA, CyLab to conduct a set of gTLD Whois Misuse Studies.
Working under the direction of principal investigator Dr. Nicolas Christin, this highly regarded cybercrime lab expects to spend approximately one year analyzing the extent, nature, and impact of harmful actions taken using Whois contact information. To accomplish this, the CMU team will survey gTLD domain Registrants about Whois misuse incidents they have experienced and use experiments to measure how well anti-harvesting measures reduce Whois misuse. Registries, Registrars, other cybercrime researchers, and law enforcement organizations will also be surveyed about reported cases of misuse.
These complementary studies are expected to provide the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council with the empirical data needed to assess community concerns about misused Whois contact information and inform any resulting policy changes. ICANN looks forward to working with CMU to apply their cybercrime expertise and experience to this challenging topic.
To learn more about Whois Misuse Studies or additional studies currently being considered by the GNSO, visit http://gnso.icann.org/issues/whois/.
To learn more about Dr. Christin and his work at the CMU CyLab, visit http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/nicolasc.