Changes to the .ca WHOIS Policy

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), the organization overseeing .ca domain names, has changed its WHOIS policy.

Under the new policy:

  • .ca WHOIS searches will not display registrant, administrative or technical name and contact information for .ca domain names registered to individuals.  Such information privacy shielded in WHOIS searches.
  • WHOIS information for domain names registered to businesses and other organizations is displayed by default unless CIRA grants a request to shield he business’/organizations contact information in the WHOIS database.

Due to policy change, CIRA implemented an on-line message delivery form that allows interested parties to send messages to a privacy shielded .ca domain name’s adminstrative contact to resolve a domain name dispute.

If the dispute is not resolved within 14 days of the message’s transmission, the interested party can ask CIRA to disclose the registrant’s contact information. The request must show that the dispute meets specific criteria; otherwise, CIRA will not release the registrant’s contact information.

CIRA’s new WHOIS policy can make proving a registrant’s lack of legitimate interest in a domain name difficult in .ca domain name dispute resolution proceedings conducted under the CIRA Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (CDRP).  This is because the person initiating the CDRP proceeding (the Complainant) against a privacy shielded .ca domain name does not know who the domain name’s registrant is.  Therefore, the Complainant cannot address whether the registrant’s legitimate interest in the submissions which launch the complaint.

Accordingly, CIRA amended the CDRP Rules so that a Complainant can file supplemental submissions after the registrant files its submissions.  The supplemental submissions can only address the registrant’s legitimate interest (or lack thereof) in the domain name.

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