Archive for the ‘Nominet Internet Censor’ Category

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NominetNominet, the Registry responsible for running the .UK domain name space, has recently published a report on the number of domain names it has suspended further to requests from law enforcement agencies. The figures show that during the 12 month period from 1 November 2015 to 31 October 2016, over 8,000 domain names were suspended. This is more than twice the number of domain name suspensions during the preceding 12 month period in 2014/2015.A revised registration policy, which came into effect in May 2014, made it clear that the use of a domain name under .UK for criminal purposes is not permitted and that such domain names may be suspended. Police or law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are able to notify Nominet of any .UK domain names being used for criminal activity.

The suspension of 8,049 domain names from 1 November 2015 to 31 October 2016 was the result of notifications from eight different LEAs, ranging from the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit to the UK Trading Standards body. The majority of the requests came from the UK Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit which submitted 7,617 suspension requests.

In addition to this, the revised registration policy also prohibited the registration of domain names that appear to relate to a serious sexual offence. Such domain names are termed offensive names under the policy. Thus Nominet, in its sole discretion, will not allow a domain name to remain registered if it appears to indicate, comprise or promote a serious sexual offence and where there is no legitimate use of the domain name which could be reasonably contemplated . As a result of this, all new domain name registrations are run through an automated process and those that are identified as potentially problematic are highlighted. These domain names are then verified manually to ensure that they are in breach of Nominet’s offensive names policy.

It is interesting to note that while the automated process to identify offensive domain names highlighted 2,407 cases, this resulted in only one suspension.

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See article from publicaffairs.linx.net

Old BaileyThe High Court has ruled that decisions made by Nominet’s dispute resolution service (DRS) may not be appealed in the courts, in cases concerning accusations of abusive domain name registration.

The court held that the registration contract did not leave a role for the court, as abusive registration is a term that only has meaning within the context of the Nominet DRS and cannot itself be the cause of legal action before the courts.

The judgement overturns the ruling of the Patents County Court in a dispute between Michael Toth, who registered the domain name emirates.co.uk in 2002, and the Emirates airline, which later sought and gained possession of the domain name through Nominet’s dispute resolution service.

Toth successfully appealed to the Patents County Court for a declaration that the domain name was not registered abusively. However, the case was subsequently appealed in the High Court, which last week ruled that the such cases cannot be appealed in the courts.

The DRS and Procedure put in place a regime in which the question of abusive registration is one for, and only for, the Expert appointed under the DRS.

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See article from openrightsgroup.org

Open Rights Group logoNominet has been suspending domain names at the mere request of law enforcement agencies, without a fair trial. While most of these sites have been dodgy, some should not have been removed. This loophole in the justice system could be exploited and mistakes are inevitable, leading to deliberate or accidental censorship.

Despite ORG’s demands that transparency and evidence remain the foundation of any policy, law enforcement agencies have refused to budge. They say they lack the resources and powers to use the courts.

ORG, ISPA and LINX all announced that they were unable to support the initial Nominet Issue Group statement. It is incredibly important for justice to be transparent and open to all.

Nominet have asked the Issue group for a further meeting, where ORG will explain why using the courts is a vital safeguard.

Search engines asked to help with copyright censorship

In addition to the discussions about a new, faster website censorship plan, Ed Vaizey is now also hosting roundtables between copyright owners and search engines. The aim is to tell search engines to do more to stop infringement by blocking, promoting or demoting certain sites.

Just like previous discussions about website censorship, these proposals have no basis in evidence, come seemingly at the say so of rights-holders, with no involvement from civil society. We’re urgently looking to tell DCMS why private policing of the Internet is a bad idea.

We have been invited to the next round of discussions: tomorrow, with minister Ed Vaizey. This is a big win for you and ORG. Now we can try to open the process up to everyone.

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See article from theregister.co.uk

NominetNominet 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.

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 See article from publicaffairs.linx.net

NominetNominet has suspended 500 .uk domains as part of an international operation to close down websites selling counterfeit pharmaceutical products.

Almost 13,500 websites worldwide were suspended as part of Operation Pangea IV, an Interpol coordinated effort which resulted in the seizure of more than 2.4 million pills.

Nominet acted to suspend the .uk domains following a request from The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Police Central e-Crime Unit.

Eleanor Bradley, Nominet’s Director of Operations, said that the sites were in clear breach of Nominet’s terms and conditions, due to their owners having provided fraudulent WHOIS details.

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See article from theregister.co.uk

NominetUK Police could get new powers to suspend internet domain names without a court order if they’re being used for illegal activity, under rules proposed by .uk registry manager Nominet.

A Nominet volunteer policy team has recommended the creation of an expedited process for shutting down addresses when the police say the urgent suspension of the domain name is necessary to prevent serious and immediate consumer harm.

The proposed rules, if adopted, would apply to any address ending in .uk. Shutting down a domain name effectively shuts down the associated website and email.

In order for a domain to be grabbed under the policy, a law enforcement agency would have to file a declaration with Nominet that a seizure would be proportionate, necessary, and urgent. Police would not need to seek court approval, however, in order to have a site taken down.

Domains being used to commit any of an extremely long list of crimes covered by the Serious Crimes Act 2007, eg counterfeiting, fraud, prostitution, money laundering, blackmail and copyright infringement, would be eligible for seizure under the policy.

The policy recommendations envision an explicit exception for cases where freedom of expression is at stake. There would also be an appeals process and a periodic policy review.

The latest Nominet recommendations are still open for comment. See consultation details at nominet.org.uk

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See article from bbc.co.uk

Nominet logoPolice plans to shut down web domains are to be debated in public.

In November, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) tabled a plan to give such powers to Nominet, which oversees the .uk domain.

SOCA wants the power formalised as Nominet has no obligation to shut domains found to be used by criminals.

Those who want to take part are being asked to put their names forward by 23 February at the latest.

Nominet said earlier that it wanted to create a balanced group of stakeholders that would talk over the policy and its implications. A decision on who will be in the group will be taken by 2 March, said Nominet, and it is expected to have its first meeting later that same month.