Surprise, whois is full of junk

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The GAO reports that the Whois database, which contains the registration information for people's domain names, has a lot of clearly bogus information:
Approximately 2.3 million domain names have been registered with obviously false information, such as (999) 999-999 for a telephone number or "XXXXX" for a postal zip code.

Another 1.6 million were registered with incomplete information, according to a report released yesterday by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).

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.

This isn't exactly a surprise: as long as you pay your money, the registrars don't exactly try that hard to ensure that your information is non-bogus. And remember, this is just the information that's trivially bogus. The fraction of information that's plausible but bogus or just plain out of date is likely to be quite high as well.

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