Tag Archives: Austria

A Court Ruling in Austria Could Censor the Internet Worldwide

A little more than a year ago, I wrote with concern about the risk that a single EU court within single EU member state would become the censor for the world. That fear has now become reality. In a ruling Thursday, the Austrian Supreme Court ordered, pursuant to local defamation rules, that Facebook remove a post insulting a former Green Party leader, keep equivalent posts off its site, and do so on a global scale.

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Nic.at’s ipcom Signs Up DNS Belgium To Their RcodeZero DNS Anycast Network

Nic.at’s sister company ipcom has signed up another partner to their RcodeZero DNS anycast network, taking the total number of top-level domains using the service to at least 22. Last week the Austrian ccTLD registry announced DNS Belgium had signed an agreement that will see their 1.6 million .be, .vlaanderen and .brussels domain names hosted on the Austrian company’s RcodeZero DNS anycast network.

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.FI, .IE and .SI Sign Up To Nic.at’s RcodeZero DNS Anycast Technology

nic.at announced their sister company, ipcom, has signed up 3 more ccTLDs to their anycast network technology RcodeZero DNS taking the total of TLDs relying on the technology to at least 19. While the Slovenian Registry (ARNES) has been using RcodeZero for many years for their .si, they recently extended their contract. But both the Finnish (TRAFICOM) and Irish (IE Domain Registry) registries have recently signed up and implemented RcodeZero as their secondary DNS provider to strengthen their DNS infrastructure for the first time.

Citing the network’s reliability and performance, TRAFICOM uses the secondary anycast service for their half million domain names in the Finnish country code top-level domain (ccTLD).

“Traficom selects its DNS partners based on very high quality and security standards, and ipcom fulfills them. During these challenging times this is very important”, explains Juhani Juselius, Chief Specialist.

The Irish ccTLD .ie also recently signed up for the secondary anycast network RcodeZero DNS to ensure permanent availability at maximum speed for their 300,000 domains.

In addition to the new ccTLD customers, .si (ARNES) – a long term customer for many years – has also renewed their contract with ipcom.

“With the Anycast service provided by RcodeZero DNS we can increase stability and redundancy for our .si TLD DNS,” said Benjamin Zwitting, Chief Technical Officer at ARNES, explaining why they decided to continue their partnership with RcodeZero DNS.

Naturally nic.at was delighted their sister company was able to gain two new clients and add another.

“Gaining more and more European TLDs proves that we are an important anycast provider within the community,” said a very happy Richard Wein, CEO of nic.at and ipcom. “Our flexibility towards customer needs, our personal support provided by long term employees and our location in the heart of Europe, positions us as attractive provider for competitive anycast solutions. We are proud to deliver high levels of reliability, performance and maximum protection for a registry’s DNS infrastructure.”

Any why use a service such as ipcom’s RcodeZero DNS anycast technology? In their announcement, nic.at says there are benefits that can be achieved by using at least one additional secondary anycast provider. With over 30 years of experience as the .at registry, ipcom has expert knowledge that feeds directly into our anycast product development and can respond very quickly and flexibly. More than 19 registries (like .nl, .pt, .eu), with more than 15 million domains under management, rely on RcodeZero DNS. External name service monitoring proves that the RcodeZero DNS network with more than 20 nodes (for TLDs) is one of the most reliable anycast services and a trusted global provider – the perfect partner for everybody that is continuously striving for highest optimisation of its own DNS infrastructure to guarantee the highest security standards.

More information: www.rcodezero.at or by e-mail rcodezero@ipcom.at

Domain Pulse 2020 Conference Going to Innsbruck To Gaze Into A Crystal Ball [updated]

The annual free domain name conference of the German-speaking world, Domain Pulse, is heading to the North Tyrolean Alps city of Innsbruck in Austria in February 2020 with the organisers looking towards the future, asking attendees to “gaze into the crystal ball together” with them.

Day 1 is dedicated to the question of what future will bring in terms of technology, internet governance and the world of work – and where the forecasts come from! On the second day, we will highlight the issue of risk – how much are we prepared to take in our personal lives, careers and as a society? And at what price?

The presentations will focus on the future of internet governance, the talents of tomorrow, does the domain name system tell us anything about the future, artificial intelligence, looking forward with 5G and its challenges in particular relating to surveillance and citizen’s rights and what should ccTLD registries expect in the future.

This year’s Domain Pulse conference (which is not related to the DomainPulse.com domain name news site) will be held on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 February. In 2020 the conference is organised by the Austrian ccTLD manager nic.at, with the conference rotating to be hosted by DENIC in 2021 in Germany, then by SWITCH in Switzerland in 2022.

For presentations in German, there will be a simultaneous translation service into English, but not for presentations in English into German. However given that networking is as important as the conference topics, it can still be extremely worthwhile to attend.

To register, book hotels, check out the agenda and find out more information in general, go to: domainpulse.at/dp2020. There are plenty of trains passing through Innsbruck and a number of airlines fly to Innsbruck. Conference hotels start at €120 per night, plus there’s the always wonderful Thursday evening event.

UPDATE: This article was updated to reflect a misunderstanding regarding translations. There will be translations of presentations into English from German, but not for German presentations into English. The original version of this article said there would be no translations.

Finding That Elusive .AT Domain Just Got Easier With nic.at’s Domainfinder

Finding that elusive domain name can be difficult for even the most adept of us, so a few registries have developed services to make suggestions for when your first choice isn’t available. The latest of those is nic.at who has launched Domainfinder, developed in-house by their research and development team.

To showcase their Domainfinder, nic.at has put together a simple video to show off how it works.

The most well-known of services to assist in finding that elusive domain name has been developed by Verisign and is called NameStudio for their .com, .net and .tv top-level domains. As with Name Studio, Domainfinder makes suggestions of alternatives for both second and third (.co.at and .or.at) level .at domain names.

Another TLD coup for nic.at’s RcodeZero DNS

nic.at’s RcodeZero DNS service has just started supplying Anycast technology to the Polish domain extension .pl. This means that nic.at infrastructure provides supplementary hosting and security to the seventh biggest ccTLD in the EU with over 2.5 million domains. According DNSperf statistics, RcodeZero DNS is one of the fastest anycast providers worldwide.

CEO Richard Wein is delighted with the new RcodeZero DNS customer NASK, the Polish national research institute responsible for the Top Level Domain .pl.

“After .nl and .eu, we have succeeded in convincing another major country code TLD with a couple of million domains to use our services. In an industry where you know each other very well, this is a big compliment for me: The relevant players trust the technical competence of nic.at. This shows that even a small country can provide services to the big ones so long as you focus on quality, reliability and flexibility.”

It is the clear goal of nic.at to gain more RcodeZero DNS customers within the TLD community – also on other continents.

The technical implementation for .pl is proof of nic.at’s ability to meet individual customer requirements. The .pl TLD consists of 159 subzones. Therefore – in contrast to other customers with fewer zones – every process and check has to be performed 159 times before distributing the zone to the servers all over the globe.

The constant expansion and upgrading of the RcodeZero infrastructure is also recognised in the worldwide Ranking of DNSperf where the DNS performance of the top Anycast providers is measured. RcodeZero DNS actually ranks sixth – not far away from well-known names like Cloudflare and Wordpress.

This nic.at news release was sourced from: https://www.nic.at/en/news/nic-at/another-tld-coup-for-nicats-rcodezero-dns

‘ICANN’s Naïve and Unprofessional GDPR Approach’ A 2018 Lowlight Says nic.at’s CEO, But Celebrating Triple .AT Anniversaries A Highlight

“ICANN's naïve and unprofessional approach to” the EU's GDPR was one of 2018's lowlights says Richard Wein, CEO of Austria's ccTLD registry nic.at in today's Domain Pulse Q&A with leading industry figures, looking at the year in review and year ahead. GDPR planning dominated many European ccTLDs in the first half of 2018 to the detriment of other work, but while Wein has come concerns about the GDPR, he wonders if it is a “sledgehammer to crack a nut”. Overall he thinks it's a positive and now he's happy about how the team at nic.at responded to the European Union's consumer data protection regulation. A positive highlight was nic.at celebrating 3 anniversaries: “30 years of .at, 20 years of nic.at and Stopline and 10 years of CERT.at.” Looking ahead, Wein believes 'it's still far too difficult to register your own domain, set up e-mail or create a new website'. Largely, Wein believes, new gTLDs haven't lived up to expectations, with a few exceptions, and currently doesn't believe a second round of applications is needed. Domain Pulse:What were the highlights, lowlights and challenges of 2018 in the domain name industry for you? Richard Wein: I think that the first half of 2018 was particularly shaped by the effects of the GDPR. Many registries (especially European ccTLDs) seemed paralysed and put all other plans and projects on hold. This was also the case for nic.at. ICANN’s naïve and unprofessional approach to this topic was a real disappointment, and the necessary measures were taken far too late. A “normal” company would have been punished by the markets for this kind of performance. But I am proud to say that we manged to finish the project in time with a new privacy policy and new internal processes for .at which were ready on May 25 – with a solution which was at the same time pragmatic, legally correct and end-user friendly. The whole nic.at team had put lots of effort in this project and we can see now, 6 months later, that we took the right decisions and found a good way to deal with it. The market changes were also exciting, especially among the gTLD registries – the sale of Donuts was a good example of this. It was also interesting to note the rather sobering registration numbers worldwide. Real (natural) growth is happening only in low single digits, so the whole industry will have to adjust to much tougher times and every market participant, whether registry or registrar, must take appropriate measures. Our nic.at company highlight was of course the anniversaries we celebrated in 2018: 30 years of .at, 20 years of nic.at and Stopline and 10 years of CERT.at. We had a big party for our partners and were able to show all the activities and initiatives we are undertaking for Austria’s internet community. DP: GDPR – good, bad and / or indifferent to you and the contrary to industry and why? RW: Essentially, protection of data is very positive to see and any initiative in this area is to be welcomed. The only question is whether the GDRP was a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Unfortunately the original goal of putting the big data monsters such as Facebook, Google etc “on a leash” was not achieved, and yet enormous bureaucratic hurdles have been created for many companies and government agencies. It is clearly positive that awareness of data protection and sensitive (personal) data in all areas has significantly increased. After around 8 months of “live” GDRP the onslaught expected by many (including us), e.g. requests for information because there is now no public WHOIS, completely failed to materialise.
In my opinion, the world can survive very well without a public WHOIS. DP: What challenges and opportunities do you see for the year ahead? RW: I think the whole industry will have to make an effort to bring their products to the market in a way that is more understandable, simpler, and accessible without much (technical) know-how. In my opinion it is still far too difficult to register your own domain, then set up your own e-mail or create a new website. The subject of “digitisation” is currently on everyone's lips, but it has negative connotations; so a lot of work must be done to convert this to a more positive, beneficial impression. This involves domains and all associated products. DP: 2019 will mark 5 years since the first new gTLDs came online. How do you view them now? RW: All in all (apart from a few exceptions), positive hopes and expectations have not been realised. Many of the gTLD registries are still struggling to survive, and I have not seen any evidence of the frequently described “dotbrand” hype, so the new gTLDs will probably remain a “niche” for another year. The consolidation process will continue, both with the registries and the backend providers, but also with the registrars. A few gTLD's will be established on the market (and among users), many of the others will disappear again. At the moment I do not see any need for a second round (at least from the demand side), but clearly some want to utilise their (technical and sales) scaling effects to offer new gTLDs as quickly as possible, and put them on the market. DP: Are domain names as relevant now for consumers – business, government and individuals – as they have been in the past? RW: A clear YES to this. If you look at the number of users of “social media”, such as FB or Instagram, there is a clear negative trend. It's not about either / or, but businesses in particular will develop a balanced “online strategy” and this includes their own website with one (or more) domains. Of course, there is some saturation, but there is still enough global potential to increase awareness of domains and to secure growth over the long term. Previous Q&As in this series were with EURid, manager of the .eu top level domain (available here), with Katrin Ohlmer, CEO and founder of DOTZON GmbH (here), Afilias’ Roland LaPlante (here), DotBERLIN’s Dirk Krischenowski (here), DENIC (here) and Internet.bs' Marc McCutcheon (here). If you’d like to participate in this Domain Pulse series with industry figures, please contact David Goldstein at Domain Pulse by email to david[at]goldsteinreport.com.

Austria’s Internet Celebrating Combined 80th Birthday

Austria’s internet is celebrating a combined number of birthdays in 2018, all adding up to an 80th birthday celebration: 10 years of CERT.at, 20 years of Stopline, 20 years of nic.at and 30 years of .at!

In the latest nic//report, the regular report on .at domain name issues, they chart the 30 years of .at. There’s an interview with Dr Peter Rastl, long-time head of the Vienna University Computer Center, who had the initial responsibility for allocating .at domain names. Initially .at domain names were given away for free, one per organisation. But as the popularity of the internet, and domain names, grew, the burden on the university became too much. Fees were introduced, ISPA, representing internet service providers in Austria, together with the university, decided to professionalise domain name registration and nic.at was born in 1998.

In the same year nic.at was born, Stopline was also born. Stopline is an independent initiative set up by the ISPA to combat illegal content online, after images of child abuse were discovered on the server of an Austrian host provider. ISPA (then newly founded), nic.at, representatives of the police reporting centres, legal experts and other national stakeholders were involved in establishing Stopline. The challenge at the time was to raise awareness of illegal content online and publicise the existence of the new reporting centre without demonising the Internet as a whole.

Then 10 years later, and 10 years ago, CERT.at with the goal of making the internet in Austria more secure, as the primary contact point for IT-security in a national context.

When it comes to domain names, the number of domain names registered under Austria’s country code top level domain (ccTLD) within the country is closing in on the one million mark with 936,857 – 72.6 % of all .at domains out there as of 31 July. Every district within the country, even those tiny places with populations of below 70, has at least one .at domain name.

The remaining 27% of .at domain name registrants are in Germany (18%) while 1 in 11 (9%) domain names are registered in non-German speaking countries.

The province with the most .at domains per 1,000 inhabitants is Vienna with 148.8 per 1,000, followed by Salzburg (124.9) and Tirol (102.2), while the province of Burgenland brings up the rear with 73.5. But a look at capitals shows the capital of Burgenland, Eisenstadt, is out ahead with one in six people in the city owning an .at domain – putting it ahead of Vienna and Salzburg. Bregenz in Voralberg is the provincial capital with the least domain names (97 per 1,000 people).

To download the latest nic//report from nic.at, click here [pdf].

nic.at Introduces Changes To Whois Data Collected To Comply With GDPR

nicat AustriaA week before the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on 25 May, the Austrian ccTLD registry nic.at has introduced changes to its Whois policy as well as to the registration and management of .at domains.

The most important changes that came into effect for the Austrian country code top level domain (ccTLD) on 16 May are:

1) New Whois policy

Under the new Whois policy, registration data for individuals (natural persons) will not published any longer. Data on individuals will only includes the domain name, the registrar responsible and necessary technical information. Whois data for businesses (legal persons) that register domain names will continue to be published as before and individuals can request the publication of their data.

2) New Terms and Registration Guidelines

Following this policy, new terms and registration guidelines were necessary for .at-domains. The new versions are valid as of 16 May 2018.

3) Privacy policy

All information specifying how much of your data is recorded by nic.at, for which purpose, on which legal basis and how to claim your data protection rights can be found in our privacy policy.

4) Check of data accuracy by domain holder

Domain holders (registrants) can at any time request their current Whois data online by using the web form “motivated request”. They can also ask for their domain certificate (featuring only the domain holder’s name and address) to be sent to their email address via an online form.

5) Information on private domain holder’s data to third parties

Only people who provide proof of identity and are able to prove a legitimate interest in finding out who the domain holder is, will get information on private domain holders’ data. They can be law enforcement agencies, lawyers or people who contact nic.at following domain disputes and who can prove that their rights have been infringed. They have to start a webform request with defined obligations for supporting documents on this webform.

6) Abolishment of admin-c

As the admin-c never had any legal function in the administration of .at domains, it is abolished as of 16 May 2018.

nic.at To Hide Individual’s WHOIS Data, But Optional For Business, to Comply With GDPR

From mid-May individuals who have registered .at domain names will have their registrant details hidden by default, although they can have the data published if they wish, while businesses will continue to have their contact details published in WHOIS as is the case now. The change is a result of the looming introduction of the E.U.'s new privacy law.

The coming of the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is causing a bit of havoc among the domain name business. It comes into effect on 25 May. Gradually European ccTLD registries are rolling out how they’re going to comply. The GDPR is intended to give individuals in the European Union more control over their data held by business, with one data protection law for to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the 28 member states of the E.U. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the E.U.

In recent weeks Nominet and DENIC have announced their plans. Nominet have opened a consultation to 4 April on their proposal that will mean they will no longer display any registrant’s name or address while DENIC will only record the contact details of the domain registrant, 2 additional email addresses as contact points for abuse reports and general and technical requests as well as the usual technical domain data.

“The GDPR”, nic.at’s CEO Richard Wein told Domain Pulse following the Domain Pulse conference in Munich in February, “is the biggest change in policy and procedures in the domain name community in many years. While EPP was a big change, it happened over time and there were no rigid deadlines, but change was smooth and happened quickly.”

Currently the nic.at WHOIS database, the public register of all registered .at domains, currently contains details on the holders of and contact persons for .at domains, regardless of whether they are companies or private individuals. Under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), nic.at will only publish legal business data from mid-May 2018. Individuals can still have their data published if they wish.

For decades, it has been standard practice in domain administration to display domain holders’ data in a public database called WHOIS. The domain holder is informed of this when registering the domain. nic.at’s terms and conditions (T&C) form the legal basis for publication. This practice will change when the GDPR comes into effect.

“The GDPR defines special protection requirements for natural persons, so we will not publish their data any longer, although we still need to receive their details during the domain registration process,” explained head of nic.at’s legal department Barbara Schlossbauer. “The regulation is comes into force in mid-May 2018 and this will also lead to amendments in nic.at’s T&C and the registration guidelines for .at domains.”

In the future, the data shown for domains registered by individuals will only include the domain name, the registrar responsible and necessary technical information. If a company or organisation owns the domain, the holder’s name and address will still be published, although contact data like email address, telephone and fax number can be hidden upon request. The registrar submits information on whether a domain is held by a natural or legal person when registering the domain. If a private individual requests that their data be displayed, the registrar can also arrange this. “There will certainly be a lot of cases where people will definitely want to show that a real, trustworthy person is responsible for a particular website,” explains Schlossbauer.

Until now, domain holders’ data have been publicly accessible at nic.at. From mid-May, this will no longer be possible. “In future, natural persons’ domain data will only be accessible to people who identify themselves and have a legitimate legal reason for finding out who the domain holder is,” Schlossbauer points out. This includes law enforcement agencies, lawyers or people who contact nic.at following domain disputes and can prove that their rights have been infringed.

The adaptations in the WHOIS policy will not affect the public domain availability check, explains Schlossbauer: “When it comes to obtaining accurate information on whether a .at, .co.at or .or.at domain is still available, nic.at will remain the first point of contact for reliable availability checks.”

But the changes being adopted by each country code top level domain registry across Europe are a missed opportunity according to Wein.

“The opportunity for the ccTLD registries across Europe to work together and propose one solution was a missed opportunity,” said Wein.

“Every ccTLD appears to be doing something different, even if very slightly, and it’s a pity that the industry couldn’t develop one standard. It will mean registrars will have to implement 10, 20, maybe even 28, different solutions depending on how many ccTLDs for EU countries they sell. The situation is a nightmare.”

“Then there comes the problem with no WHOIS available to law enforcement, government bodies and brand protection. How can they get the registrant information? Registries are not allowed to give out information such as to the police without a good reason. Potential buyers of a domain name will have no way of contacting the registrant unless their details are provided on the website. While under the law of many countries, including Austria, the website owner is required to provide information about who owns the website, it is difficult to verify if this is correct, and will be next to impossible when the GDPR comes into effect.”

“When there’s a request for WHOIS information from law enforcement, for example,” Wein continues, “it will require someone at nic.at to manually check that the required authorisations such as a court order are in place and then to provide the information. Currently enquiries are machine-to-machine, but from 25 May it will be human-to-human and only available in business hours. It will mean a change of procedures and in many cases be much slower.”