Media release: Feedback sought on proposed new approach to .nz domain name privacy

The Domain Name Commission (DNCL) is seeking comment on the proposed introduction of a new WHOIS privacy option for .nz domain name registrants.

The WHOIS is the publicly available search service that lets people find registration information for a .nz domain name. Using the WHOIS is commonly known as a ‘domain name search’.

Registrants’ full contact details have always been publicly displayed in the WHOIS, but the realities of today’s online world mean the status quo is no longer appropriate. It’s important that registrants are aware of what information is displayed in the WHOIS and can exercise some control over what is displayed.

DNCL has already run two public consultations on this subject. Based on comments received DNCL is now calling for feedback on what an alternative privacy-aware approach might look like when it comes to dealing with registrant contact information. There has been a high level of public interest so far, with dozens of submissions being received.

Domain Name Commissioner Debbie Monahan says many of those submitting in the first two rounds have supported the need for a privacy mechanism for registrants in genuine need to have personal details withheld; for example where their personal safety is at risk.

“DNCL understands that position and has heard through the submission process that privacy, especially for reasons of personal safety, is a major concern for many registrants.”

DNCL recently launched a third public consultation proposing a way forward – one that would see registrants able to apply to have their details withheld. Monahan says this is one option, and DNCL is interested in hearing from people what other options might look like.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to withhold contact details they’re concerned about, but not to make it easy for scammers, harassers and phishers to withhold their details so they can harm other people.

“We believe that the status quo is no longer appropriate and want to work toward a system where registrants' sensitive personal details are able to be withheld. Through the submission process, we're looking for interested parties to help guide us in striking an appropriate balance," says Monahan.

More information about the WHOIS review, including a comprehensive set of FAQs and DNCL’s proposed process can be found at

The deadline for making a submission is 7 June 2016. Comments can be sent by email to [email protected], or by post to PO Box 11881 Wellington 6142.  All submissions received will be carefully considered and DNCL expects that further comment will be sought from the public later this year.

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