12 March 2019Copyright

GDPR inhibits IP enforcement: MarkMonitor

The EU’s 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has had a significant impact on preventing online brand piracy, a software company has claimed.

MarkMonitor, which collects website registration data, or WHOIS, as part of its investigations into infringing domain names, said last year’s EU-wide rule change hampers its ability to obtain registration details for infringing websites.

In a blog post on Sunday, March 10, the anti-piracy company said that it observed a “20% decrease in enforcement efficiency” in the first ten weeks after the implementation of GDPR in May 2018.

The company blamed the drop on GDPR-related redaction of WHOIS data.

In the period since, MarkMonitor claimed it had “successfully mitigated GDPR’s impact to just over 6% loss in operational efficiency”.

After the implementation of GDPR, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) introduced a “temporary specification” governing the collection, storage and display of registration data in compliance with the EU regulation.

Since the introduction of the temporary specification, MarkMonitor has successfully obtained registration data in 45% of cases, the company said.

Where WHOIS information is redacted, however, the company has been able to access the information in just 14% of cases.

MarkMonitor said it was “frustrating” that many online registrars who hold the data do not perform a “balancing test” between public interest and the registrant’s confidentiality, as required by ICANN.

The company highlighted anti-phishing as an area in which GDPR has had a particularly negative impact on its work.

“These phishing attacks are measured in effectiveness per minute, and cannot wait for registrars to perform a balancing test, which further evidences the need for reliable, unified access to WHOIS data”, the company said.

This story was first published on TBO.

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