European Union leaders are pursuing a new law to make it illegal for Amazon and Apple to give their own products preferential treatment over those of rivals that are sold on their online stores.
Nominet has opened a consultation looking at how to implement a more transparent process for informing registrars and the wider public when expired .uk domain names will be made available for re-registration. They are also considering different methods for releasing highly desired expired domains which are contested (i.e. there are multiple parties seeking to register the domain name).
The UK needs tougher rules to curb the dominance of Google and Facebook, including powers to break them up, the Competition and Markets Authority has said.
Britain and other European countries are continuing to push for a global digital tax on technology companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, despite the US pulling out of the negotiations this week.
Almost 33,000 .uk domain names were suspended in the 12 months to the end of October 2018 following notification from the police or other law enforcement agencies that the domain name was being used for criminal activity. Continue reading Nominet Suspends 33,000 .UK Domains Following Law Enforcement Notifications
Nominet, best known for managing .uk, is donating Â£1 for every new .uk domain name registered to BBC Children in Need until Monday 19th November. With a minimum commitment of Â£200k from new domain registrations, funds raised will go towards projects that use digital or new technology to support disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.
Money raised through new domain registrations, including those ending in .co.uk, .uk, me.uk and org.uk, will go on to support projects using digital to produce strong outcomes for children and young people. For example, clubs which provide technology sessions for children and young people affected by poverty and social exclusion, with the aim of helping them develop and gain new digital skills, whilst learning about new software technology, coding, robotics and digital arts.
âWeâre focused on delivering public benefit initiatives that support a vibrant digital future, so it makes perfect sense for us to partner with BBC Children in Need to fund projects that engage and develop the skills of children and young people who might otherwise be excluded from the opportunity that new advancements in tech, digital skills and online inclusion can provide,â said Russell Haworth, CEO, Nominet. âWe need to stamp out the growing digital divide, so the more young people who are able to make the most of being online and derive benefits from tech, the better. We hope our donation from domain registrations will go some way to help enable this.â
âItâs great that the funding raised by Nominet will support projects which utilise technology to support disadvantaged children and young people,â said Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive at BBC Children in Need. âWe are excited about the benefits this funding will bring and are delighted to have Nominet on board as new partner for 2018.â
BBC Children in Need is currently supporting over 2,700 projects in communities across the UK that are helping children and young people facing a range of disadvantages such as living in poverty, being disabled or ill, or experiencing distress, neglect or trauma. Further information on BBC Children in Need can be found at bbc.co.uk/Pudsey.
With the proceeds of its successful registry business and cyber security services, Nominet has donated over Â£45m to tech for good initiatives helping over 10 million people. Its aim is to achieve lasting social impact focusing on enabling positive change on a range of emerging issues born out of our digital age such as online safety and digital inclusion, to existing social challenges where technology can play a pivotal role, and is committed to improving the lives of one million people a year. Find out more about Nominet public benefit initiatives here â https://www.nominet.uk/about/public-benefit/
Under this initiative Nominet will donate Â£1 to Children in Need for each new, paid for domain registration for the country code top level domain (ccTLD) ending in .co.uk, .uk, .org.uk, .me.uk, .ltd.uk, .plc.uk and .net.uk.
Registering domain names in a country code top level domain often has benefits to that country’s local internet community. In the case of Canada’s ccTLD, Byron Holland, President and CEO of CIRA who manages .ca, recently explained how in a post on the company blog. Continue reading CIRA Explains Why Registering ccTLD Domains Benefits the Local Internet Community
A total of 712 complaints relating to 783 domains, representing just 0.0065% of the domain names on the .uk register, were made in 2017 according to Nominetâs annual summary of domain name disputes brought before its Dispute Resolution Service (DRS).
Over half of the complaints (55%) in 2017 in the .uk country code top level domain (ccTLD) resulted in a domain transfer. By comparison, there were 703 complaints in 2016, 53% of which resulted in a domain transfer.
The year also saw an increase to 15% in the number of disputes resolved with the domain name being voluntarily transferred to the Complainant by the Respondent upon receipt of the complaint. In 2016, 10% of complaints were resolved in this way.
âThanks to the efficient DRS processes in place and the many Experts who generously offer their time and expertise, we can see in the numbers that the DRS is continuing to prove a useful tool for .UK customers,â said Russell Haworth, Nominetâs Chief Executive. âA steady increase in the number of .uk second level domain names being disputed year on year â almost doubling since 2015 â also reflects how the shorter domain is increasing in popularity and importance for individuals and businesses.â
Brands such as Jaguar Land Rover, Clydesdale Bank Plc, Virgin Enterprises Limited, Moncler S.p.A., âDr. Martensâ International Trading GmbH and the Sony Corporation used the DRS in 2017.
Other users of the service included St Neots Town Council, the fashion designer Philipp Plein, The Commissioners For HM Revenue And Customs, The Secretary Of State For Health and Puddy Cats Cattery in Maplethorpe.
âThe increase in disputes relating to .uk second level domains is an interesting point. The Right of Registration that some .co.uk Registrants hold over the corresponding .uk domain name comes to an end on 10 June 2019,â said Nick Wenban-Smith, General Counsel at Nominet. âIn the next two years this could lead to a further increase in the number of .uk domain names being subject to disputes as more and more potentially desirable names are made available to be registered on a first-come first-served basis. To avoid such a dispute, itâs important for .co.uk owners to review their options and act sooner rather than later.â
In their announcement, Nominet highlighted the following cases resolved through what they describe as their award-winning Dispute Resolution Service (DRS):
The Complainant, Gumtree.com Limited, isÂ a wholly owned subsidiary of eBay Inc. It operates an online classified advertisement website, and has registered the trade mark âGUMTREEâ.Â The Respondent argued that GUNTREE has been derived from the artistic concept of a tree made of guns or an artistic gun made from wood.Â GUNTREE advertises weapons to a specific market and therefore, does not offer the same services as the Complainant.Â The independent Expert agreed with the Complainantâs claim that there is an overlap between the two sites which is likely to confuse Internet users.Â Domain transferred.
The Complainant was Victoriaâs Secret, an American designer and manufacturer of womenâs lingerie and beauty products. The Respondent was a beauty therapist, operating a salon in Mayfair, London.Â The Respondent claimed not to have known about the Victoriaâs Secret brand at the time when the Domain Name was registered. In the view of the Expert, âthis is not a credible claim, particularly taking into account that the Respondent operates in field of beauty servicesâ.Â Domain Transferred.
The complaint was brought by Clydesdale Bank PLC (Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank), after they found that the domain name had been registered by someone who was asking for almost Â£100,000 in return for transferring the registration. The Expert agreed with the Complainant: that on the balance of probabilities the Respondent noted the Complainantâs trade mark application and purposefully registered the domain name in order to then sell it specifically to the Complainant at a later date.Â Domain Transferred.
The Complainant was Dignity Funerals Ltd, and the Respondent was an individual who had previously entered into a coexistence agreement with the Complainantâs predecessors in title, providing financial and insurance services through his companies.Â The Expert stated âit does not appear the Respondent is doing anything that is confusing Internet usersâ, and that âdignity.co.uk shall remain with the Respondentâ.Â The Complainant appealed against this decision, but a panel of three members of the DRS Expertsâ Review Group dismissed the appeal, whilst upholding a finding of âReverse Domain Name Hijackingâ â using the DRS in bad faith.
Nominet also highlighted the following additional statistics:
- In 2017 there were three appeals. Two appeals upheld original No Action findings. In the third Appeal case, the Appeal Panel agreed to combined two cases together for a review and two domain names were returned to the original Registrant.
- The most common industries were Automotive (9) Electronics and Fashion (8 respectively), Retail (7) and Banking & Finance (6)
- The year saw cases bought by complainants from 29 different countries, led by the UK (553) followed by the US (42), Germany (27) and France (20). Respondents came from 34 different countries. Again, the UK leads with 598 respondents, with the US second (17) and China third with 15
- The overall average length of time DRS cases take from being filed to being closed was 57 days
- Mediated cases took an average of 56 days to resolve in 2017 compared with 47 days in 2016. Cases being resolved by a Summary Expert decision took the same time that they did in 2016 (62 days), whilst Full Decision cases took on average 4 days less.
- The majority of cases (87.5%) involved .co.uk domains, 6% were .org.uk or .uk domains and 0.5% were .me.uk
- Court costs avoided in 2017 were almost Â£7 million â assuming court and legal fee savings of Â£15k per complaint that progresses into formal dispute resolution
The GDPR is coming and a number of ccTLD registries are giving registrars heart palpitations. Itâs a month till the European Unionâs General Data Protection Regulation comes into play and the Icelandic, Norwegian, Slovakian and United Kingdom ccTLD operators are only just announcing how theyâll deal with it.
For Icelandâs .is they will stop publishing names, addresses and telephone numbers of personal contacts by default from the ISNIC WHOIS database. For individuals who wish to continue to publish their information, they must log in, go to “My Settings” and select “Name and Address Published”.
ISNIC will however, at least for the time being, continue to publish email addresses, country and techincal information of all NIC-handles associated with .is domains. Those customers (individuals) who have recorded a personally identifiable email address, and do not want it published, will need to change their .is WHOIS email address to something impersonal. However the Icelandic country code top level domain isnât happy with the new regulation. They note the GDPR âwill neither lead to better privacy nor a safer network environment.â
For the sake of the internet community, e.g. Individual users, Service Providers, Hosting Companies, and many other stake holders, ISNIC will continue to publish email addresses and the country name of all contact types until further notice.
For NORID, the registry for Norwayâs .no, they have made a few changes to their policies that come into effect on 5 May. NORID state they will âonly collect data that we need, and that the domain holder shall be informed about which data is being processed by Norid. Starting on 5 May, we will collect less data about the holder than what we currently do.â Following consultation with the with the Norwegian Data Protection Authority, NORID will launch a new version of WHOIS on 22 May.
And Nominet, the .uk registry, has announced their changes. Following a consultation period that outlined their proposed changes that were published for comment between 1 March and 4 April, Nominet have announced that:
- Registrant data will be redacted from the WHOIS from 22 May 2018, unless explicit consent has been given.
- Law enforcement agencies will nonetheless be able to access all registry data via an enhanced Searchable WHOIS service available free of charge.
- Other interested parties requiring unpublished information will be able to request access to this data via our data disclosure policy, operating to a 1 working day turnaround.
- The registration policy for all .UK domains will be standardised â replacing the separate arrangements currently in operation for second and third-level domains.
- The .UK Registrar Agreement will be updated, renamed the .UK Registry-Registrar Agreement, and will include a new data processing annex.
- The existing Privacy Services framework will cease to apply.
âWe have taken a conservative approach to publishing data, to ensure that we do not fall foul of the new legislation,â said Nominet COO Ellie Bradley. âWhile, as a result, we will be publishing less data on the WHOIS â we have comprehensive procedures already in place that ensure that we will continue to respond swiftly to requests for information to pursue legitimate interests.â
The proposals also outlined an approach to replacing the existing privacy services framework with recognition of a Proxy Service offered by registrars. In response to the feedback, Nominet has decoupled this proposal from the bulk of the GDPR-related changes and will consult further on this topic in June 2018.
On 1 March Nominet finally announced how theyâre proposing to deal with the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation, with a consultation to run until 4 April and then Nominet will have to finalise their plans with the regulation to come into place on 25 May. The situation is a nightmare for registrars who have to plan and implement changes for all top level domains impacted by the GDPR.
As EPAGâs Managing Director Ashley La Bolle told Domain Pulse (the blog) following the Domain Pulse conference in Munich in late February:
âThe domain industry has been really late to the game on GDPR implementation. Itâs already March and we are just beginning to see real progress regarding contractual and technical changes for the GDPR. We expect to receive a lot of last-minute changes from registries in the next couple months. Although weâre not thrilled about having to make last-minute changes to system settings, we still prefer registries to make those changes before May so we can ensure compliance.â
In case you donât know what is the GDPR, itâs data protection regulation intended harmonise data protection laws across the EU and replace existing national data protection rules. The introduction of clear, uniform data protection laws is intended to build legal certainty for businesses and enhance consumer trust in online services. The new regulation applies to businesses within the EU, or any business in the world that collects data on European citizens, such as when someone is registering a domain name. With any data that is collected, it is imperative that those collecting the data have clear and freely given consent from the individual. Huge fines apply for any organisation contravening the GDPR of up to â¬20 million or 4% of the companyâs global annual turnover of the previous financial year.
For the changes Nominet is proposing for .uk, as with most ccTLD registries, they have allowed the domain name registrant information, also known as Whois, to be publicly available for their domain names. However in the new proposal all registrant information will be hidden. But Nominetâs concerns donât just deal with .uk. They also manage .wales and .cymru, and Nominet, like all other generic top level domain registries have to wait until ICANN finalise how they will resolve the issue.
We have opened a comment period from today until 4 April on our .UK proposals to comply with GDPR legislation.
In summary, Nominet proposals are as follows:
- From 25 May 2018, the .UK WHOIS will no longer display the registrantâs name or address, unless they have given permission to do so â all other data shown in the current .UK WHOIS will remain the same.
- For registrants who wish for their data to be published in the WHOIS, we will provide appropriate mechanisms to allow them to give their explicit consent.
- We will continue to work in the same way as now with UK law enforcement agencies seeking further information on specific domain names via our existing data release policy and via an enhanced version of our Searchable WHOIS service, available free of charge.Â Those users will have automatic access to the names and addresses we hold.
- Any third party seeking disclosure for legitimate interests can continue to request this information via our Data Release policy, free of charge.
- The standard Searchable WHOIS will continue to be available, but will no longer include name and contact details to ensure GDPR compliance.Â Those outside law enforcement requiring further data to enforce their rights will be able to request this through our existing Data Release policy.
- The proposed new .UK Registry-Registrar Agreement (RRA) includes a new Data Processing Annex.Â This sets out terms for how we would work with our registrars when processing registrantsâ personal data during the registering, renewing, transferring or managing of .UK domain names to ensure GDPR compliance.
- The Privacy Services Framework will be replaced with recognition of a Proxy Service, within a new .UK RRA to allow registrars to offer proxy services to registrants who do not wish to have their details passed to Nominet.
- Additionally, we propose changing the rules for the data we collect for domain names that end in second-level .uk domain registrations, such as example.uk. We will no longer require a UK âaddress for serviceâ bringing this into line with third-level .UK domains such as example.co.uk, example.org.uk and so on.
A webinar for Nominet members to hear more about our proposals will take place on Wednesday, 7 March from 2.00-3.00pm GMT.
These changes cover the .UK namespace. Pending outcome of ICANN discussions, and feedback from this comment period, Nominet will set out our proposed approach for GDPR compliance for .cymru and .wales domains.