UK registry to clarify domain name suspension rules

At the suggestion of law enforcers, Nominet is investigating writing a clearer suspension policy

The U.K.'s domain name registry is examining its policies around suspending domain names, a move occasionally undertaken in order to prevent criminal activity on the Internet.

Nominet, which oversees ".co.uk" and ".uk," plans to hold its first meeting in the next few weeks with stakeholders including police, government bodies and commercial trade groups, said director of operations Ellie Bradley.

The registry was asked by the U.K.'s Serious Organised Crime Agency to examine its policy. SOCA said that "Nominet does not have any clear obligation" in its terms and conditions that a domain name should not be used for illegal activity, in contrast with other registries, according to a SOCA document.

SOCA would like to Nominet to include firmer language in its contracts with registrars, which are companies contracted to sell ".co.uk" domain names.

Police authorities increasingly want Nominet and the registrars to respond quickly to requests to suspend domain names, something the registry already does in response to formal requests, the SOCA document said.

"This policy would formalize that process," Bradley said.

Nominet and its registrars have suspended domain names in the past: At the request of the Police Central e-Crime Unit, another U.K. agency that deals with cybercrime, Nominet pulled 1,200 domain names used predominantly for marketing counterfeit goods, Bradley said.

Usually, if a Web site is connected with illegal activity, the ISP is notified and the connection is cut off. But the person who owns a domain name can simply find a new ISP and get their site up and running again.

Blocking a domain name forces a cybercriminal to register a new one in order to continue operating. But it's not an entirely effective way to block criminal activity, since many cybercriminals register large numbers of domain names. If one domain is blacklisted, a new name is used until that one is also blocked, and the cycle continues.

But if the domain name in question attracts lots of organic search traffic, blocking it could make it harder for a fraudster to find one that is as effective in drawing traffic.

"We are well aware we are never going to be able to respond to all crime on the Internet but we can try to protect against it," Bradley said. "People will always find ways and means but that does not necessarily mean it's the right thing to simply ignore it."

Bradley said Nominet will hold a meeting in the next few weeks with stakeholders to discuss how its terms and conditions could be modified. But she stressed the process is in its "very early stages." Nominet is also inviting input from the public.

Tags NominetinternetInternet service providers

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?