We have always taken a dim view of network and infrastructure abuse. It hurts us, it hurts our clients and it hurts the internet at large. For those reasons we have been actively involved in multiple initiatives to make the internet a “better” and “cleaner” place to conduct business and as more and more of us do, our daily lives.
In the realm of IP addresses, which are a core component of the internet, all IP addresses in the RIPE region have an abuse contact associated with each and every one of them. (I am not pretending for an instant that the abuse contacts are going to be super responsive or anything like that, but there is a contact published for every single one.)
With domain names, however, things are a little different.
All the generic top level domains, such as .com and .club, have abuse contacts. So if you need to you not only know who the registrar is, but you also have access to an abuse contact.
For example here is the output for one of my personal domains:
Domain Name: MNEYLON.COM Registry Domain ID: 34020836_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.blacknight.com Registrar URL: https://www.blacknight.com/ Updated Date: 2019-08-14T01:27:06Z Creation Date: 2000-09-04T00:00:00Z Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2026-09-04T00:00:00Z Registrar: Blacknight Internet Solutions Ltd. Registrar IANA ID: 1448 Registrar Abuse Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +353.599183072 Reseller: Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited (http://www.icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited)
With country code domain names however it is a very different animal. While some have adopted the ICANN style output and included an abuse contact many have not.
In the case of the .ie ccTLD the public whois currently includes an optional abuse contact which was added quite recently. We have chosen to activate ours, but many other registrars either have not or simply do not even know about the contact field.
Domain: xxxxxxx.ie Domain Holder: Admin-c: AIQ120-IEDR Tech-c: AAM456-IEDR Account Name: Blacknight.ie Registrar Abuse Contact: email@example.com Registration Date: 12-January-2009 Renewal Date: 12-January-2021 Holder-type: Locked status: NO Renewal status: Active In-zone: 1 Nserver: ns1.blacknight.com Nserver: ns2.blacknight.com Nserver: ns3.blacknight.com Nserver: ns4.blacknight.com
So why do I mention this?
Earlier this year we proposed some changes to the IEDR’s policies around the abuse contact via the Policy Advisory Committee on which I sit.
Basically we propose to make the abuse contact obligatory for all .ie domains with the language in the policy being updated as follows:
An abuse contact email address field must be published on the .ie WHOIS output, where the nominated Billing Contact is an accredited .ie Registrar. This abuse contact email address is to enable anyone to report allegations of online abuse, illegality in respect of the associated .ie domain.
This won’t magically make the internet “better” or “safer”, but it will make it easier for people to report issues to someone who either can do something about or flag it with someone who can.
IEDR currently has put the proposal out for consultation with all .ie accredited registrars, so hopefully there won’t be any serious issues with the proposed changes.