According to a report released yesterday by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), some 2.3 million domain names have been registered with obviously false information. For example, they use the telephone number (999) 999-999, or have "XXXXX" for a postal zip code. In addition to this, some 1.6 million domain names have been registered with incomplete information.
The GAO said individuals or organisations registering the names of their websites may have provided inaccurate information to domain name registrars to hide their identities or prevent the public from contacting them. The 3.9 million wrong or incomplete registrations represents 8.6 percent of the 44.9 million the agency was asked to check by Congress.
The lack of correct information in domain registration compromises the effectiveness of the Whois service, which can help law enforcement officials investigate the misuse of intellectual property and online fraud. Whois is also useful for identifying the source of spam. The GAO has made recommendations to help deal with these problems.