Serious and Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) want to update Nominet’s registrant Terms and Conditions so that it can automatically suspend a site accused of violating UK criminal law.
With the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) having recently wrapped up the fourth phase of it ongoing “Operation in Our Sites” site seizure campaign it’s curious to learn that proposals for a similar effort in the UK is under review.
Nominet, the .uk domain name registry in the United Kingdom, has formed a policy discussion group to debate a request by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) to give Nominet the power to automatically suspend sites accused of illegal activity.
“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,” it says. “This is in contrast to many registrars and a number of registries including .org and .biz.”
The plan was first submitted by SOCA last November after it discovered that Nominet has no obligation to shutter sites accused of illegal activity, but after receiving an enormous response from “stakeholders expressing an interest in being involved in the discussion,” it decided to increase the level of public input on the matter.
“We are calling for those wanting to put themselves forward to take part directly to register by 23 February,” says Nominet. “We anticipate that the members of the group will be identified by 2 March and will meet for the first time later that month. An independent summary of the issue has been commissioned and will be circulated to stakeholders and issue group members in advance of the first meeting.”
SOCA and Nominet already teamed up to seize 1,800 sites just before this past Christmas holiday, but the process will surely be expedited if the two agree on an update to registrant Terms and Conditions in which a violation would result in automatic suspension.
I don't know about anybody else, but I find it very disturbing that organisations like this can take it upon themselves to take more draconian measures with next to no safeguards in place. It should also be noted that any report will only be privately circulated to stakeholders and issue groups. The public don't seem to matter.