whowas: queries for historical registration data

By on 27 Jul 2017

Category: Tech matters

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One of the primary technical services provided by APNIC is the whois registration database.

This database provides public access to details of the disposition of the Internet number resources under APNIC’s stewardship. However, the whois database shows only the current registration of resources. Questions about the past holders of a resource block cannot be answered using whois.

In late 2016, APNIC deployed a pilot whowas service to provide answers to these sorts of questions. This service provides an Application Programming Interface (API) allowing queries for historical registration data, extending the Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP) to support this purpose. As this is an RDAP extension, only RDAP objects are supported. This includes data on Internet number resources and the entities who serve as contacts for them, but does not include routing registry data.

At APRICOT 2017, APNIC also deployed an experimental user interface, consuming the whowas API to allow users to search for the history of Internet number resources and whois database entities such as person, role, and IRT records. This service highlights the differences between versions of each record over time, and is currently being improved following feedback received after the presentation at APRICOT.

The extension to RDAP has been submitted to the IETF, and was presented this week at the “regext” working group for feedback. This extension standards draft was a collaborative effort involving all five RIRs, and with some input from individuals working with domain name registration.

The whowas service, its user interface, and the standards document are all Open Source work, available through the APNIC GitHub resource.

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The views expressed by the authors of this blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of APNIC. Please note a Code of Conduct applies to this blog.

One Comment

  1. eric brunner-williams

    nifty! registry operators (either model), as well as bulk request parties, and registrars (model independent), all should be able to publish past data, according to the appropriate data collection legal regime.

    broadly, this is part of the requirements we should have developed in the icann what-if scenarios for failure, data portability, as deep as commercially, and/or legally, feasible.


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