New Zealanders, aka Kiwis, can rejoice as the country code top level domain (ccTLD) for New Zealand .NZ now allows Whois Privacy.
The Domain Name Commission (DNC) the organization the oversees the administration of the .NZ extension launched a Whois Privacy service today. Previously if you wanted to keep your contact information private and use .NZ domain names, you were out of luck. The DNC didn't allow or offer any such service to hide or mask a private individual's contact details. Currently it is being called “provisional address masking option” or PAMO for short.
The new service is available for all .NZ domains which includes;
- .AC.NZ (Academic Center)
Editor's Note – Doubt there are individual registratns for .AC.NZ and .SCHOOL.NZ domains. Both are for school and universities.
Individuals and private citizens can opt to remove their address details from the .NZ whois database. Domains registered under companies or organizations are NOT allowed to use the Free Whois Privacy service PAMO by the DNC.
You can visit this page to contact DNC if you want to them to mask your information. You just have to email the DNC, they will run some verification checks, and then replace the address with DNC's PO Box number. The DNC will also assign a unique reference number in the Registrant Contact Address field. Mail they receive will be forwarded to you.
From what I can tell in the press release and that page, this PAMO service currently only covers masking the address fields, not email contacts. The New Zealand Domain Name Commission is currently working on a full Whois Privacy service that can be implemented. The DNC is currently taking public comments about a .NZ Whois Privacy service. At least the PAMO service currently is free of charge to .NZ domain registrants.
Neustar, a domain registry and technology services company, held a .US TownHall recently for the .US domain extension. The .US extension is for the United States and is managed by Neustar. One of the most common questions and requests they said they get is for implementing Whois Privacy for .US domains. This is in the works and is something that Neustar wants to launch, and charge people for obviously.
It seems with the rollout of new domains, which do allow whois privacy, the last few years more ccTLD operators are feeling pressure to offer some sort of whois privacy. Seems like a good for move ccTLD operators as often crawlers and bots will mine whois data for spamming.
The reason many ccTLD operators have not offered whois privacy is residency requirements or restrictions. ccTLDs were meant for specific country networking use. Not allowing whois privacy or masking details allows the registry to confirm you meet requirements. However many ccTLD registries have services now for allowing whois privacy for private citizens that own and managed domains at the registry level.
While New Zealand is a relatively small country with around 4.47 million residents, internet usage is quite high. It is estimated that 97% of Kiwis use the internet on a daily basis. You will often find a .KIWI using a mobile device as 8 out of 10 own one.
The .NZ domain extensions is perceived as being local for New Zealand as is preferred. As of this writing the DNC homepage shows 666,960 .NZ domains as registered. For a country with 4.47 million residents, that is an impressive. Especially when you consider .NZ domains are more expensive than .COM, .NET, and .ORG domains typically. .NZ and .CO.NZ domains are sold for $20 + at most registrars but prices can vary.
It's good to see .NZ and the DNC moving to allow this. While .NZ hasn't allowed whois privacy in the past there are no residency restrictions for owning a .NZ domain name. You can read the full press release below.
Do you own a .NZ domain name? Will you use this new whois privacy service PAMO being offered by the DNC?
Domain Name Commission introduces provisional address masking option
Media release – 1 November 2016
The Domain Name Commission (DNCL) has today introduced a free provisional address masking option where any individual (natural person) .nz domain name holder can ask that their contact address be masked from public display in the WHOIS (domain search tool).
Just what information should be displayed when a WHOIS search is done on a .nz domain name is the subject of a major review. Throughout the review, DNCL has become aware that some individual registrants are concerned for privacy and personal safety reasons about having their contact address publicly displayed.
The provisional address masking option has been introduced to help alleviate these concerns while DNCL carries on with its WHOIS review. Those wanting to take advantage of the option will have his or her contact address masked with a unique reference code and DNCL’s P.O. Box address.
Domain Name Commissioner Debbie Monahan says DNCL is currently running a public consultation – asking for the community’s feedback on two policy options for withholding some information in the WHOIS, including contact address information.
“In the meantime,” she says, “the address masking option announced today is intended to allay any personal safety concerns around public display of address information while we finish up our review and implement any permanent policy changes – expected to be later in 2017.”
With the provisional address masking option, any individual registrant can ask that their contact address is masked from display in the .nz WHOIS. This doesn’t change their contact address information recorded on the .nz Register; it just means that information can’t be seen when someone does a WHOIS search on their domain name. Any mail sent to the masked address displayed on the WHOIS will be forwarded to the address on the Register, by DNCL.
Importantly, says Monahan, the masking option is open to any individual registrant who is concerned for whatever reason about having their contact address publicly visible. She encourages all individual registrants to make use of it if they feel the need.
The address masking is a straightforward process, but can only be effected by DNCL. It works by having individual registrants email DNCL from their email address on record. The DNCL office will then run some basic verification checks before applying the masking.
The option is not available to businesses or organisations.
Visit dnc.org.nz/pamo to find out more about DNCL’s provisional address masking option. Information about DNCL’s WHOIS review can be found at https://dnc.org.nz/whois-review.