2021’s Domain Pulse is the latest conference to fall victim to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Originally scheduled to be held in Beethoven’s home town, the German city of Bonn, in February and hosted by DENIC, it will now be held in February 2022.
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.
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.
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 âgaze into the crystal ball togetherâ 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 citizenâs rights and what should ccTLD registries expect in the future.
This yearâs 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 â¬120 per night, plus thereâs 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 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 isnât 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.
nic.atâs 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.
âAfter .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.â
It is the clear goal of nic.at to gain more RcodeZero DNS customers within the TLD community â also on other continents.
The technical implementation for .pl is proof of nic.atâs ability to meet individual customer requirements. The .pl TLD consists of 159 subzones. Therefore â in contrast to other customers with fewer zones â 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 â 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
The European Unionâs General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into being on 25 May 2018. For gTLDs ICANN still hasnât developed a permanent policy on how to deal with it. For ccTLDs it was somewhat simpler. The lawyers at Austriaâs ccTLD manager, nic.at, have given their verdict in a Q&A published on the registryâs website last week.
Barbara SchloÃbauer says that ânobody could anticipate what would actually happen after the implementation of GDPRâ but changes implemented include Whois data for individuals that is now available âonly includes the domain name, the registrar responsible, and necessary technical information. In addition to this, an information request form has been developed, enabling eligible people to find out who the domain holder is. The main variable was the consumersâ reaction to that, as we didnât know how many Whois requests had been sent in the past concerning natural persons. In the end, it has all been much more easygoing than expected â the extent of requests is definitely manageable.â
SchloÃbauer said that implementation wasnât as difficult as it might have been given that nic.at already ISO 27.001/2013 certified and this certification âis based on the same systems.â Bernhard Erler commented âthe GDPR topic had been a priority for all departments. In the end, there was no department which wasnât involved in the whole process â even though the daily business had to proceed without any interruptions, the collaboration was excellent.â
On a positive note, Erler said âthe most notable thing was that the topic of data protection became the focus of attention within nic.at. GDPR has managed to greatly raise awareness in relation to the importance of taking care of data.â Further, Erler believes this care of data âis also the main positive effect of GDPR: the establishment of awareness of the interaction with data â data protection is now definitely an issue of public interest.â
To read the complete Q&A with nic.atâs lawyers Barbara SchloÃbauer and Bernhard Erler, see their âHappy Birthday, GDPRâ here, or for the German version here.
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 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].
It was adopted on 14 April 2016 and after a 2-year transition period it becomes enforceable on 25 May 2018. Yet despite this timeframe, ICANN only approved a Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation on 17 May, with a draft published on 11 May. But it only gives registries and registrars 7 days to finalise and implement changes to their systems, or 14 days if they started when the draft was published. That is if they waited for ICANN’s snail-like process to take place.
The GDPR has been developed by the European Commission to give individuals more control over their data that businesses hold, including domain name Registries and Registrars. It also applies to businesses outside of the EU that hold data on citizens and residents of the EU. It’s impact is far-reaching and penalties for breaches are severe – fines of up to €20 million or up to 4% of the annual worldwide turnover, whichever is greater.
ICANN’s approval of a Temporary Specification [pdf] is the result of 12 months of consultation with the community and “is an important step towards bringing ICANN and its contracted parties into compliance with GDPR,” said ICANN’s Chair Cherine Chalaby. “While there are elements remaining to be finalised, the adoption of this Temporary Specification sets us on the right path to maintaining WHOIS in the public interest, while complying with GDPR before its 25 May enforcement deadline.”
One can’t help but feel it’s an extraordinary failure by ICANN and the community given the time they’ve had to develop a solution. The Temporary Specification will be revisited by the ICANN Board in 90 days, if required, to reaffirm its adoption. And whether the Temporary Specification meets European Commission’s requirements remains to be seen. In early April the EC’s Article 29 Data Protection Working Party wrote to ICANN [pdf] noting they weren’t satisfied with what ICANN had then proposed.
So what will happen on 25 May? Registry Operators and Registrars will still be required to collect all WHOIS information for generic top level domains (gTLDs). However, WHOIS queries will only receive “Thin” data in return, which includes only technical data sufficient to identify the sponsoring Registrar, status of the registration, and creation and expiration dates for each registration, but not personal data. For third parties with legitimate interests in gaining access to the non-public data held by the Registry Operator or Registrar, there are still ways to access that data. Queries can be made through the sponsoring Registrar and they are obligated to respond in a reasonable time. If a response is not received, ICANN will have a complaint mechanism available. If it is thought individual parties are not complying with their obligations under these temporary specifications or their agreements with ICANN, ICANN’s Contractual Compliance Department can be contacted to file a complaint.
The changes are not unlike those being implemented by several European country code top level domain (ccTLD) registries. And while quite a few Registries and Registrars will have been waiting (or rather sweating) on ICANN’s announcement this week, some decided they couldn’t wait and have been developing solutions on what they believed ICANN’s response would have been.
Within Europe, some ccTLDs, such as the Austrian registry nic.at have implemented a “thin” model for individuals registering domain names, but legal entities or businesses will continue to have “thick” WHOIS data published. Others such as DENIC, the German ccTLD registry, will only record the contact details of the domain name registrant, two additional email addresses as contact points for abuse reports and general and technical requests as well as the usual technical domain data, which is similar to the ICANN model.
Registrars are frustrated. One, the German EPAG, which is part of the Tucows group, spoke of their frustrations to Domain Pulse at the Domain Pulse conference (unrelated) in Munich in February.
“We wish that ICANN had started work on this a year ago,” said Ashley La Bolle, Managing Director of EPAG Domainservices GmbH. “Of course, we will try to accommodate changes, but in absence of new consensus policies, we have to develop solutions that we believe will ensure our own compliance with the law.”
“The domain industry has been really late to the game on GDPR implementation,” La Bolle went on to say. She noted how frustrating it was that the entire industry was slow to develop solutions and that solutions were only beginning to be finalised back then. The changes require significant resources to be thrown at implementing changes. In an industry that operates on razor-thin margins, it’s not an ideal situation.
“The GDPR requires contracts to be revised, additional staff training, and customer education. Our approach has been to change our systems and processes to handle as much of the impact of the GDPR as possible so that our customers can continue to use our services as they always have.”
It has also been claimed that the changes will be a boon for cybercriminals. While Krebs on Security admit that while “cybercriminals don’t use their real information in WHOIS registrations … ANY information they provide — and especially information that they re-use across multiple domains and cybercrime campaigns — is invaluable to both grouping cybercriminal operations and in ultimately identifying who’s responsible for these activities.” And while some cybercriminals do take advantage of privacy protection services, “based on countless investigations I have conducted using WHOIS to uncover cybercrime businesses and operators, I’d wager that cybercrooks more often do not use these services.”
Krebs also notes that while “it is true that the European privacy regulations as they relate to WHOIS records do not apply to businesses registering domain names … the domain registrar industry — … operates on razor-thin profit margins and which has long sought to be free from any WHOIS requirements or accountability whatsoever. Krebs believes they “won’t exactly be tripping over themselves to add more complexity to their WHOIS efforts just to make a distinction between businesses and individuals.”
“As a result, registrars simply won’t make that distinction because there is no mandate that they must. They’ll just adopt the same WHOIS data collection and display polices across the board, regardless of whether the WHOIS details for a given domain suggest that the registrant is a business or an individual.”