The newly authorized operator of the .tel registry has sent a letter to ICANN asking for permission to deviate from ICANN's contractual requirements to display registrant contact data, in order to avoid conflicts with UK Data Protection law. The letter states, in part:

After a lengthy process of consultation which included informal guidance from the UK
Information Commissioner's Office which oversees Data Protection in the UK, it is clear
that Telnic's current contractual obligations on WHOIS are incompatible with The
Legislation. In simple terms, The Legislation requires that individuals have the ability to
choose how their Personal Data –postal and email addresses,phone and fax numbers,etc
–are used

Telnic is asking that its contract be amended to institute a kind of tiered access similar to that already implemented by the .name registry. Privacy advocates are generally not thrilled with the .name model but it does restrict the unlimited access for data-mining of whois contact information that is now favored by both spammers and trademark lawyers. For a description of the .name approach, click here.