The Whois service that maintains a database on owners of Internet domain names may be dismantled, if the “sunset” proposal before the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is approved.

An excerpt from Associated Press:

Like a “411” for the Internet, Whois contains information such as names and phone numbers on the owners of millions of “.com” and other Internet addresses. Bohannon and his staff at the Software and Information Industry Association rely on the free databases daily in their efforts to combat theft and fraud.

The service is a vital source for tracking down owners of domain names, but it also is used by spammers, and many people contend that in its present form, Whois is a threat to privacy (P2Pnet).

As the NY Times aptly states, it’s a question of accountability vs. anonymity on the Web. What side do you think is more relevant?