If my domains are hosted at a registrar (lets take Gandi, for example) and it has privacy protection on the whois information, can another ICANN-accredited registrar (GoDaddy, for example) still view my actual information that is behind the privacy guard?

i.e. I don't have a GoDaddy account. But, since they are ICANN-accredited, could they access the real whois info without the privacy protection?

  • 1
    I re-opened this. We've let some pretty broad stuff through here lately and this isn't too much different from them.
    – John Conde
    Jun 2, 2014 at 0:57
  • @John Conde I would not have quibbled with your closing this question of course, but somehow secretly, I wanted to see what answers would be offered to this question. My personal opinion is that private is private, but I really do not know for sure. Perhaps we can learn something new.
    – closetnoc
    Jun 2, 2014 at 2:47

1 Answer 1


There are two commonly-used methods of maintaining privacy in domain registrations:

  • Privacy services offered by the registrar. These services are independent of ICANN but regulated by them through policy. ICANN does require that registrars send private registration data to the shared registry, meaning that ICANN has access to that data, but they only reveal it to other registrars when necessary for verification, such as in the case of domain transfer. Note that many registrars will also reveal private registration data on a case-by-case basis upon receipt of a cease-and-desist letter, DMCA takedown notice, or other exposure to legal action. ICANN leaves these decisions to the registrar.

  • Proxy registration services (usually offered by third parties, e.g. web developers or attorneys). Registering through a proxy conceals the registrant's information even from the registrar because a third entity actually performs the registration, meaning that ICANN has no data other than that of the registrant's proxy. There are plans underway to require entities acting as registration proxies to be ICANN-certified by 2017, meaning that they would likely need to submit registrant data to ICANN in the same way as the registrars themselves.

So to answer the question: An ICANN-accredited registrar can access non-public registration data in certain cases, but such access is specifically forbidden for marketing purposes and is not available in bulk or by automated means.

For more information, see the ICANN Registrar Resources page and the Specification on Privacy and Proxy Registrations.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.