Nominet is consulting and developing its procedures for taking down internet .uk domains when presented with claims of them being used illegally.
Under the latest changes, Nominet will be able to deny a site suspension request unless police provide a court order or the site is accused of putting the public at serious risk.
Early draft recommendations came in for criticism because police would be able to instruct Nominet to take down unlimited numbers of domains without a court order. Following previous coverage, many El Reg readers were outraged that the proposals didn’t seem to do enough to protect ordinary .uk owners from over-zealous cops.
The new draft recommendations state that should a suspension notice be objected to by a domain’s registrant, Nominet would be able to consult an independent expert, likely an outside lawyer, before deciding whether to ask police for a court order.
A new revision also draws a distinction between serious cases of botnets, phishing and fake pharmaceuticals sales, which pose an imminent risk to internet users, and cases of counterfeiting, which are perhaps not as risky.
Nominet would draw a distinction between the two scenarios. If it received a suspension request relating to a low risk crime, such as alleged counterfeiting, it would have to inform the registrant, giving them an opportunity to object and/or rectify the problem, before it suspended the domain name.
The policy has stated in all drafts that it would not be applicable to private complainants, such as intellectual property interests, and that hasn’t changed. We’re excluding all civil disputes, Blowers said. If the MPAA [for example] wanted to bring down 25,000 domains associated with online piracy, that would fall outside of this process.
The policy has also been tweaked with respect to free speech issues. To take down an overtly racist or egregiously pornographic site, Nominet would not suspend the domain name without a court order.
The recommendations are still in draft form but it is intended that the final version will be implemented early in 2012.