4

Domain name registrars offer whois ID protection services. I do plan to use such a service.

But as I'm a relative newbie to the domain name registration world, I don't know whether I can trust it.

I'm trying to decide whether it is worth risking providing a false mailing address on top of this, because I'm not sure how much I can actually trust my registrar to keep my information private despite this.
(Obviously, my mailing address would, etc. be invalid. I wouldn't be providing someone else's info!)

Of course, I realize that in the case of a legal inquiry/subpoena/etc., the registrar will obviously have to produce my information. I can neither really avoid that, nor am I trying to.

However, what I am trying to avoid is some nosy third-party entity socially engineering or otherwise getting my information from the registrar, and I'm trying to balance that against the risk of my domain name getting shut down due to invalid contact information.

It's not hard to use some imagination here, so let me give an example. (This is just an example; use your imagination to think of other situations.) For example, let's say someone wants to know my name and address, and therefore accuses me of hosting their copyrighted content/secrets/etc. as a ploy to get my hidden contact information from the registrar, and manages to convince the registrar I'm doing something illegal.

Of course, I realize no such system can be completely bulletproof. But I just don't know how lax it is. Would such a person be able to succeed in getting my information on their own without my knowledge (possibly through social engineering, lying, etc.), or are registrars historically pretty good about first contacting the domain owner and keeping their information protected until they legitimately confirm that the domain owner may be doing something wrong (or not cooperating or the like)?

If it matters, I'm looking at Namecheap's WhoisGuard in particular, but I'd really like this answer to be as reasonably generic as possible. Again, to reiterate: I realize the system isn't bulletproof, but I would like to have some idea of just how trustworthy it is. Is it more like 50%? 80%? 99%? 99.999%?

  • 1
    Register a small company with a PO Box. The details are legitimate, and even if the registrar does give the information away, no one has your personal details. – Luke Park Sep 27 '16 at 20:31
  • @LukePark: Can you register companies in secret though? I would've assumed you can't register a company while hiding who owns it from anyone who cares to find out, but I don't know... – Mehrdad Sep 27 '16 at 21:55
  • 1
    @LukePark: Also, P.O. boxes aren't really free either, though that's a less major problem. – Mehrdad Sep 27 '16 at 21:56
  • I don't really know what you want then. You are going to have to give away this information at some point. If you are that protective of your personal information then don't register a domain at all? – Luke Park Sep 27 '16 at 21:57
  • @LukePark: I think you already understood the problem correctly though? The solution you suggested would be perfect if knowing a company's name/address is actually insufficient for someone to look up the owner's contact information. Is that the case? If it is, then please post it as an answer; it indeed solves the problem. If that isn't, then what is the point of making a company to begin with? Wouldn't it still leak your contact info? – Mehrdad Sep 28 '16 at 0:16
1

It would seem that with "proxy" registrations still leave customer IDs, but email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers, etc., are left out.

A part to note is that it can also matter which domain name you pick. Not only was this cheaper in my case (with a .ca), but also arguably more secure.

For instance, using one of many WHOIS services on the internet, .ca domains will have less information available about them (my customer number replaced):

Domain name:           darkst3alth.ca
Domain status:         registered
Creation date:         2015/09/06
Expiry date:           2017/09/06
Updated date:          2016/10/21
DNSSEC:                Unsigned

Registrar:
    Name:              Go Daddy Domains Canada, Inc
    Number:            XXXXXXX

Name servers:
    pam.ns.cloudflare.com
    tim.ns.cloudflare.com

% WHOIS look-up made at 2016-11-26 00:35:29 (GMT)
%
% Use of CIRA's WHOIS service is governed by the Terms of Use in its Legal
% Notice, available at http://www.cira.ca/legal-notice/?lang=en 
%
% (c) 2016 Canadian Internet Registration Authority, (http://www.cira.ca/) 

As per GoDaddy's "Domain by Proxy", or "Domain Registration Privacy" feature, .com domains have much more available:

Domain Name: XXXXXXXX.com
Registry Domain ID: XXXXXXXXXX_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.godaddy.com
Registrar URL: http://www.godaddy.com
Update Date: 2016-08-26T23:33:53Z
Creation Date: 2016-08-26T23:33:53Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2018-08-26T23:33:53Z
Registrar: GoDaddy.com, LLC
Registrar IANA ID: 146
Registrar Abuse Contact Email: email@godaddy.com
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.4806242505
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited http://www.icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited http://www.icann.org/epp#clientUpdateProhibited
Domain Status: clientRenewProhibited http://www.icann.org/epp#clientRenewProhibited
Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited http://www.icann.org/epp#clientDeleteProhibited
Registry Registrant ID: Not Available From Registry
Registrant Name: Registration Private
Registrant Organization: Domains By Proxy, LLC
Registrant Street: DomainsByProxy.com
Registrant Street: 14747 N Northsight Blvd Suite 111, PMB 309
Registrant City: Scottsdale
Registrant State/Province: Arizona
Registrant Postal Code: 85260
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: +1.4806242599
Registrant Phone Ext: 
Registrant Fax: +1.4806242598
Registrant Fax Ext: 
Registrant Email: email@domainsbyproxy.com
Registry Admin ID: Not Available From Registry
Admin Name: Registration Private
Admin Organization: Domains By Proxy, LLC
Admin Street: DomainsByProxy.com
Admin Street: 14747 N Northsight Blvd Suite 111, PMB 309
Admin City: Scottsdale
Admin State/Province: Arizona
Admin Postal Code: 85260
Admin Country: US
Admin Phone: +1.4806242599
Admin Phone Ext: 
Admin Fax: +1.4806242598
Admin Fax Ext: 
Admin Email: email@domainsbyproxy.com
Registry Tech ID: Not Available From Registry
Tech Name: Registration Private
Tech Organization: Domains By Proxy, LLC
Tech Street: DomainsByProxy.com
Tech Street: 14747 N Northsight Blvd Suite 111, PMB 309
Tech City: Scottsdale
Tech State/Province: Arizona
Tech Postal Code: 85260
Tech Country: US
Tech Phone: +1.4806242599
Tech Phone Ext: 
Tech Fax: +1.4806242598
Tech Fax Ext: 
Tech Email: email@domainsbyproxy.com
Name Server: NS77.DOMAINCONTROL.COM
Name Server: NS78.DOMAINCONTROL.COM
DNSSEC: unsigned
URL of the ICANN WHOIS Data Problem Reporting System: http://wdprs.internic.net/
>>> Last update of WHOIS database: 2016-10-27T18:00:00Z <<<

For more information on Whois status codes, please visit https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/epp-status-codes-2014-06-16-en

****************************************************
See Business Registration Listing
****************************************************
Copy and paste the link below to view additional details:
http://who.godaddy.com/whoischeck.aspx?domain=3zliving.com

The data contained in GoDaddy.com, LLC's WhoIs database,
while believed by the company to be reliable, is provided "as is"
with no guarantee or warranties regarding its accuracy.  This
information is provided for the sole purpose of assisting you
in obtaining information about domain name registration records.
Any use of this data for any other purpose is expressly forbidden without the prior written
permission of GoDaddy.com, LLC.  By submitting an inquiry,
you agree to these terms of usage and limitations of warranty.  In particular,
you agree not to use this data to allow, enable, or otherwise make possible,
dissemination or collection of this data, in part or in its entirety, for any
purpose, such as the transmission of unsolicited advertising and
and solicitations of any kind, including spam.  You further agree
not to use this data to enable high volume, automated or robotic electronic
processes designed to collect or compile this data for any purpose,
including mining this data for your own personal or commercial purposes. 

Please note: the registrant of the domain name is specified
in the "registrant" section.  In most cases, GoDaddy.com, LLC 
is not the registrant of domain names listed in this database.
0

many services including Google offer a generic google address, and put that information in there instead of yours.

When using google domain, a simple click of a button substitutes this information for yours. Google could forward the email to you, but don't know if they do or not.

For privacy, I changed the email and customer id number

Registrar Abuse Contact Email: registrar-abuse@google.com
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.8772376466
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited https://www.icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 123456789
Registrant Organization: Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 123456789
Registrant Street: 96 Mowat Ave
Registrant City: Toronto
Registrant State/Province: ON
Registrant Postal Code: M4K 3K1
Registrant Country: CA
Registrant Phone: +1.4165385487
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: czabcdefghijkl@contactprivacy.email
Registry Admin ID:
Admin Name: Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 123456789

All sections of the whois record point to contactprivacy system.

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