Domain owners could lose their privacy with these rule changes

If you're thinking about running a commercial website, there are good chances you won't be able to hide your identity. Currently, when someone wants to register a domain, he’s offered the option of proxy registration, meaning his or hers personal information is not that easy to obtain.

But right now, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which oversees the bureaucratic process of naming online domains, is in the process of proposing a new set of rules and one of those would make commercial websites not eligible to use proxy registration services.

That basically means if you want to run a commercial website, you have to give away your name, address and phone number for anyone to see, if they want to.

Obviously, privacy advocates are freaking out, and Electronic Frontier Foundation said this increases the risk of “harassment, intimidation and identity theft."

“The ability to speak anonymously protects people with unpopular or marginalized opinions, allowing them to speak and be heard without fear of harm. It also protects whistleblowers who expose crime, waste, and corruption. That's why EFF opposes the new proposal to roll back anonymity.”

However, ICANN is still in the process of proposing new rules, and it’s listening to what people have to say. EFF says that between now and July 7, you can send your comments by email to comments-ppsai-initial-05may15@icann.org.

It has also established an online petition, together with a coalition of companies. Following this comment period, ICANN says it will prepare a final report.