Reading the policy proposal of Nominet (see the entry of 1 December on my blog), I get the feeling that something is overseen here. Putting all the jurisdictional hassle aside for a moment, cyber crime is international, cross-border. So what happens if a UK domain is used for criminal activity outside the UK only? There is no actual crime committed in the UK. Most likely UK police will not give priority to such a case if it’s reported to them from another country. There is enough on their plate.
So some questions.
1. Should a foreign police or other enforcement agency be able to contact Nominet with the same request?
2. If not, what policy is needed to make suspension or closing of the domain possible anyway?
My advice to Nominet would be to allow foreign enforcement agencies to react also and make them a part of the discussion/solution process.
It’s a good thing that this study is underway. Domain names are one link in the criminal chain. Making disruption of the criminal operation possible through suspending the service possible, makes their life one step harder. As such I support the proposal if it is used prudently and there is a procedure in place that allows for secure and fast checks in case of mistakes. If it is a criminal behind the domain, my experience is that they never come to reclaim. Nominet knows almost instantly whether she has done the right thing.
Of course this intended policy will need to spread out over the world to Nominets colleague cc-tlds. Just the UK will not work, but it’s a first step.
Wout de Natris
Leiderdorp, 1 December 2010