Greater privacy and protection against cybercrime

On 18 November 2020, the Federal Council adopted the revision of the Ordinance on Internet Domains (OID). Set to go into effect on 1 January 2021, it offers greater protection of personal data and helps to more effectively combat cybercrime.

Text: Urs Eppenberger, published on 18.11.2020

The Ordinance on Internet Domains (OID) is the legal basis for the distribution and management of domain names ending in .ch and .swiss. It therefore also regulates SWITCH’s responsibilities as a registry of .ch domain names. Today, the Federal Council approved the revision of the ordinance, which will go into effect on 1 January 2021. Here are the most important changes.

No more personal data in Whois service

The publicly accessible Whois service can be used to query information about domain names. The revised OID no longer requires that personal data be published there. From 1 January 2021, the name and address of the domain holder and the technical contact for a domain name will thus no longer be made public for data protection reasons, regardless of whether the holder is a private individual or a corporate entity.

Information on personal data

In justified cases, SWITCH will provide information on personal data. This will become necessary because, in future, the name and address of the holder of a domain name will no longer be published in the Whois service. Requests for information can be submitted online from 1 January 2021.

Accessing the zone file

The zone file includes a list of all .ch domain names with information about the relevant name server that can be actively used on the internet for websites and emails. The zone file is updated hourly and provides useful information to researchers studying internet phenomena or the development of the internet in general. However, the data is also valuable for law enforcement authorities in order to fight cybercrime faster and more effectively. SWITCH will provide access to the zone file from 1 January 2021. You can find more information here.


OID – Modification from 18 November 2020 (only available in German or in French)

OFCOM information on OID revision

About the author
Urs   Eppenberger

Urs Eppenberger

After graduating in Electrical Engineering at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Urs Eppenberger joined SWITCH in 1987. He has worked in a variety of fields is currently Head of Devision, Registry & Collaboration.

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