RDAP replaces WHOIS

The WHOIS protocol now appears to be outdated due to the evolution of technical requirements in the digital era. Indeed, this tool, provided by registrars, is inter alia not capable of working with either encoding or with non-latin characters. Consequently, since 2015, ICANN in collaboration with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IEFT) has been working on the replacement of WHOIS through the RDAP (Registration Data Access Protocol), in compliance with the Temporary Specifications and the GDPR.

Like WHOIS, the RDAP provides registration data, although its implementation is different since it allows standardization, security data access and enquire response formats. As a result, it will be possible to search all the registration data available from various registrars, unlike WHOIS that is limited to the database being searched. It also takes into account the internationalisation of domain names.

The possibility of granting different accesses to the registration data is being considered. For instance, access for anonymous users could be limited whereas authenticated users could have full access to all data.

While some elements still have to be worked out, registrars are required to implement the RDAP service prior to August 26, 2019.

This brief was published in the July-August 2019 issue of the French magazine “Propriété industrielle”.