Adaptation of the regulations concerning the publication of registration data in .ch domain

The revision of the Ordinance on Internet Domains (OID), which will enter into force on 1 January 2021, contains important changes to the rules on the publication of registration data for the .ch domain in order to protect privacy. Personal data concerning the holders of .ch domain names, such as name and postal address, will no longer be published via the RDDS (formerly WHOIS) service provided by the registry SWITCH. This data will only be accessible to persons who can reasonably be expected to have an overriding legitimate interest.

With the recent evolution of data protection legislation (revision of the Swiss DPA, European GDPR, Californian law), conceptions and expectations regarding the RDDS (WHOIS) have clearly evolved towards the principle of a ban on the publication of any personal data concerning the holders of domain names. Consequently, Switzerland will adapt the rules on the publication of registration data for .ch domain names from 1 January 2021. In doing so, it is following ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which has undertaken a comprehensive reform of the RDDS (WHOIS) service for generic internet domains (gTLDs), and a majority of European countries which have complied with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for their national top-level domains (ccTLDs).

In concrete terms, any publication of personal data relating to domain name holders (the name and postal address of the holder of the domain name concerned, as well as the name and postal address of the technical contact) will henceforth be prohibited via the RDDS (WHOIS) service. Only those persons who can demonstrate a credible overriding legitimate interest will be able to access this personal data through a specialised enquiry service operated by the registry SWITCH. Access to this specialised enquiry service will be free of charge; the costs of its implementation and operation will be covered in total by an slight increase in the wholesale price charged by the registry from 1 January 2021 for each registration or renewal of a .ch domain name. In addition, the Registry is authorised to set up specific and simplified access procedures, in particular for the law enforcement authorities and other public authorities.

Specialist staff
Last modification 18.11.2020

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