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When we established the launch policies for the .CO domain, we took a hard line position against proxy registrations -- also known as "privacy protection." While common in many TLDs, and certainly a useful and important business tool when properly utilized -- our first priority was to ensure for a clean name-space. We decided to prohibit proxy registrations in all cases in order to deter potentially harmful uses of the .CO TLD -- particularly during the launch. The intention from the start was to relax this restriction once the .CO domain established itself as a safe, secure and clean name space.
With over 600,000 registrations under our belt and a strong policy framework as a foundation -- we are happy to report that the time has come to relax the absolute restriction against proxy registrations. This said, official as of December 22nd, 2010, privacy protection will now be enabled as an option for registrants of .CO domain names.
The availability of privacy protection is great news for folks who are concerned about the potential for spammers to misuse registrant data -- or who have other legitimate strategic reasons (of which there are many) for keeping their registration details private.
Does this mean our concerns about the misuse of privacy protection are no longer an issue? Absolutely not. It simply means there is a balance that must be struck between the legitimate uses of privacy protection and the need for information transparency -- and that the .CO name space is now robust enough to offer a more balanced approach that considers the needs of all stake holders.
We are truly committed to keeping .CO as the premier and safest domain for registrants and end users. This new policy allows us to continue to do so by requiring our registrars to maintain the most accurate, up-to-date registrant data possible still deterring cyber-squatting and other abuses -- and to share this information only when necessary in the context of a legitimate law enforcement request.
So on the question of privacy, the answer is -- privacy protection is now a possibility in the .CO name space for those who don't use the privilege to flout the law.