Publications, Proceedings, and Specifications


Crocker, Stephen, A Framework for Expressing Registration Data Directory Services (née WHOIS) Rules (July 31, 2021). Available at SSRN: or


The registration process for the Domain Name System (DNS) has evolved over several decades. Access to registration data has traditionally been through the WHOIS protocol, which is now generically described as a Registration Data Directory Service (RDDS). Over time, complaints have accumulated regarding three aspects of the system: data accuracy, privacy, and cost. There have been many attempts to adjust the system in response to complaints, but there has never been a fresh approach to examine the system from first principles. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has caused a significant change in data privacy considerations, but the change has been broad and has not addressed the underlying questions of what data should be collected and who should have access to which portions.

The work presented here provides a set of concepts and tools for precise specification of the rules by DNS registrars and registries for collecting and labeling registration data and specification of a variety of authorized requests for registration data. These concepts and tools will make it possible to compare competing proposals, formulate detailed studies to gain data on the potential impact of alternative collection and access rules, and manage evolutionary changes in the overall registration data ecosystem.


Crocker, Stephen, “Project Jake: Precise Specification of Collection and Access Rules for Registration Data.” Presented at the Registration Operators Workshop #10, 8 June 2021.


Crocker, Steve, and Heather Flanagan. “DNS Data Dictionary”. Internet Engineering Task Force, 18 November 2021.