Monday, February 14, 2011

UK - Registry opens debate on cutting off access to domain names suspected involved in criminal activities

[expert reviews] Nominet, the .uk domain name registry, has said that it will have a public debate over whether it should be responsible for cutting off access to websites suspected of involvement in criminal activity.

The move comes after the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) requested in November that Nominet was given the formal power to shut down websites. Currently, the registry is under no obligation to do so, although it will listen to requests from law enforcement agencies and act accordingly.

Current practice has Nominet expecting the domain registrar taking action first and action at the registry level only being required for urgent incidents or if the registrar failed to comply. SOCA wants to see Nominet respond faster to requests and act directly.

In addition, Nominent wants to investigate its terms and conditions to see if they need updating to take into account criminal websites.

"Nominet does not have any clear obligation in its registrant Terms and Conditions that a domain name should not be used in connection with any activity that would constitute an offence under UK criminal law. This is in contrast to many registrars and a number of registries including .org and .biz," said Nominet in its Policy issue brief.

The .uk registry is now calling for interested stakeholders to put themselves forward for a public debate on the issue. Interested parties are being called on to register by 23rd February.

A final working group is expected to be announced by 2nd March, with the first meeting due to take place later that month after members have been sent a summary covering the issues to be discussed.

Nominet creates public debate over criminal website take-down

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