It's very important for SIDN to have registrants' details
It's very important that SIDN has the details of everyone who has a .nl domain name. Disputes about domain names are not uncommon, and many of them come about because of shortcomings in the information that is registered with SIDN. Problems can arise, for example, if a company's domain name is registered to one of the company's employees. It is then the employee who is entitled to use the name. And that can lead to problems if the two part company, especially if the split is acrimonious. Another difficult situation is where a domain name is registered through an internet service provider that goes out of business. The registrant then has to quickly find a new provider to manage the registration. Under such circumstances, the registrant has to be able to show the new provider that he or she really is the domain name's rightful user. The best way to do that is by reference to SIDN's register.
Many people nevertheless feel uncomfortable about domain name registration, because they are worried about other people having access to their personal details. Someone who sets up a website devoted to his favourite football club might, for example, suffer abuse from fans of a rival club, who have obtained his contact details from SIDN's Whois. Working with the Dutch internet community, SIDN has therefore taken a number of steps to limit access to data in the Whois. The address of a domain name's registrant is no longer visible to the public, for example. Starting later this year, it will also be possible to withhold the names of private individuals from public view.
Internet service providers and others with a legitimate interest in knowing a registrant's name and address will still be able to obtain that information, but subject to certain criteria applied by SIDN. In certain cases, SIDN can even implement an 'opt-out', in which case the registrant's details won't be available to any outsiders, even internet service providers.
Be aware of proxy services
Not many people are aware of the opportunities that exist for keeping their personal details private. Some people therefore use proxies or privacy service providers: people or businesses who register domain names on behalf of others. The proxy's details are then recorded in the register, and anyone looking up the domain name in the Whois will see the proxy's name. It sounds like a neat solution for a privacy-sensitive registrant. There are certain risks, however. It is the proxy, for example, who is legally entitled to use the domain name. So, if a dispute arises between the actual user and the proxy, or if the proxy goes out of business, the user is in a vulnerable position. Another problem is that proxy services often attract people seeking to perpetrate abuses under cover of anonymity. Consequently, as legitimate proxy user, your personal or business reputation can suffer by association.
Using a proxy or privacy service provider to register a .nl domain name always entails a degree of risk, often for little or no advantage. With .nl, there are various ways of protecting your privacy without using a proxy or privacy service. Make sure that your details are correctly recorded in the register. That will make it much easier to keep hold of your domain name and go on using it.