The American Library Association strongly supports the first formulation of the purpose for Whois.
A basic tenent of privacy law is that data collectors must collect only the minimum personal information necessary to achieve the specific purposes of that organization. By no means should personal information be collected simply because third parties might find it useful for their own purposes. The purpose of the Whois database is to assist with the technical administration of the Internet, and nothing else. Even if those ancillary uses were deemed worthwhile from some perspectives (and that, itself, is open to debate), collection and retention of such personally identifiable information creates a serious potential for misuse, fraud, and intimidation of speech..
The American Library Association has long stood for the privacy rights of information seekers and providers, including the right of anonymous speech, regardless of media. Thus, as key providers of Internet services to the public, we are specifically committed to privacy rights with regard to speech on the Internet. We believe that, while managing the technology of the Internet , ICANN has an obligation to minimize the impacts of its technical decisions on broader social policy issues.
The Office for Information Technology Policy of the American Library Association is a member of the NCUC.
Fred W. Weingarten Director Office for Information Technology Policy American Library Association