While it should be commended that ICANN and the various working groups are taking on WHOIS data accuracy, we are concerned with the disregard given to the gold mine that it represents for spammers.
Without a doubt, there is not much care today given to the private data in WHOIS. Randomly sample some domains from any registry and you would be bound to find bad data. However, this is nothing new. ICANN has made advisories before on this topic (here’s one from May 10, 2002).
We have a service that we offer called Secret Registration to protect our domain holders from WHOIS harvesters that collect email, fax or postal address to send all sorts of spam.
What’s the purpose of contacting the average domain holder? In our line of work, we only see it for trademark disputes and legal requests for information in the connection of a crime, usually phishing. Since there is a process in place to obtain that information, why not ask the registrar or registry for the information?