Dutch gTLDs decide not to provide public access to Whois data

The registries for .amsterdam and .frl, two Netherlands-based geographic generic top-level domains (gTLDs), have decided not to provide public access to Whois records (containing data about registrants of domain names). According to the standard ICANN Registry Agreement, all new gTLDs are required to provide public Whois access. But the two registries do not offer links to Whois search on their websites, and instead note that Dutch law ‘forbids that names, addresses, telephone numbers or e-mail addresses of Dutch private persons can be accessed and used freely over the internet by any person or organization’. According to DomainIncite, the two registries have already received a notification from ICANN about breaching the Registry Agreement, and it remains to be seen how the matter will develop. The decision come in the context of ICANN trying to determine whether and how the new EU data protection regulation (to enter into force in May 2018) will affect its Whois policy.