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North American And European Police Combine To Seize 4,500 Domains Linked To Counterfeit Goods
Over 4,500 domain names hosting websites selling counterfeit products to consumers online have been seized by law enforcement authorities in a joint global operation. Operation In Our Sites VII tackled copyright-infringing websites and third-party marketplace listings selling luxury goods, sportswear, spare parts, electronics, pharmaceuticals, toiletries and other fake products.There were roughly 15,000 illegal websites seized and 48,000 erroneous ecommerce links removed over the past year as part of the operation.Law enforcement authorities from 27 countries, anti-counterfeiting associations and brand owner representatives participated in this huge action, which was coordinated and facilitated by Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition, the US National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center and Interpol.”This year’s operation IOS VII has seen a significant increase in the number of seized domain names compared to last year. This excellent result shows how effective cooperation between law enforcement authorities and private sector partners is vital to ultimately make the internet a safer place for consumers. Through its Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC³), Europol will continue to work closely with its partners to strengthen the fight against intellectual property crime online and offline,” says Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol.”The tremendous collaborative efforts between law enforcement and industry prove the internet is not a safe haven for counterfeiters preying on consumers,” said the ICE-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center Director Bruce Foucart. “Our investigators are committed to bringing online pirates to justice by seizing websites, working with global police authorities and strengthening relationships with industry partners.”Fighting the trade of counterfeit products online is a challenging and difficult task for law enforcement. To strengthen the fight against counterfeiting and piracy online and offline, Europol and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) joined forces to launch the Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC) in July 2016. With its increased operational capabilities, the IPC has successfully supported many high-priority investigations related to online intellectual property infringements such as Operation Student and Operation Fake.
ICANN Finds Almost Half Global Consumers Aware of New gTLDs
Almost half (46%) of the world’s consumers are aware of at least one of the new gTLDs according to a survey conducted on behalf of ICANN of 6,144 consumers aged over 18 representing Asia, Europe, Africa, North America and South America, and administered in 18 languages and drawn from 24 countries.Of those 46 percent, 65 percent said they have also visited a new gTLD. And even though they’re only the eight and seventeenth most popular new gTLDS when it comes to total registrations, .email and .link led in awareness and visitation of new gTLDs.The survey findings came from phase one of ICANN’s Global Consumer Research Study conducted by Nielsen to measure aspects of consumer awareness, perceived consumer choice, experience and trust related to the current gTLD landscape and the domain name system. The research, conducted between 2 and 19 February, 2015, was designed to create a meaningful baseline of data on consumer attitudes and will be followed by a second survey approximately one year later. This will also be a key input to a team set to be reviewing competition, consumer trust and consumer choice in the domain name system later this year.”This is the first time we’ve surveyed consumers directly about domain names and Internet use, and it provides an important benchmark as the new domains roll out,” Akram Atallah, president of ICANN’s Global Domains Division. “As the community looks toward future rounds, the survey findings will help inform the best approach.”The survey also examined consumer attitudes toward a subset of legacy TLDs introduced before 2012 – .COM, .NET, .ORG, .INFO, .BIZ, .MOBI, .PRO, .TEL, .ASIA and .COOP. Among these legacy gTLDs, three extensions (.COM, .NET and .ORG) lead awareness, with nearly 8 in 10 (79 percent) respondents reporting knowledge of these domains, on average. These TLDs also had relatively high visitation, with an average of 71 percent of respondents reporting they have visited one of those domains.Notably, Nielsen found that 72 percent of respondents reported high levels of trust with entities that offer domain names. These high trust levels were linked to a perception that the industry will take precautions, give consumers what they think they’re getting, and screen companies or individuals who register for certain domain names.Of those surveyed, an average of 90 percent claimed to trust the top three legacy TLDs (.COM, .NET, and .ORG), with the highest numbers found in North America, South America and Africa. Consistent with other study findings, the results show trust among new gTLDs is lower than legacy TLDs, but growing: nearly one person in two (49 percent) on average reports that they trusted the sample of new gTLDs provided in the survey.Abusive Internet behaviour, including spam, malware, phishing, and cybersquatting remain an issue for Internet users. At least three quarters of the respondents (74 percent) are familiar with malware, phishing or stolen credentials. Cybersquatting is the only bad behaviour that the majority are unfamiliar with — just over 1 in 3 (37 percent) report awareness.Regardless of their experience, most Internet users take some personal actions to improve their online security — most commonly installing anti-virus software and modifying their online behaviour. There is a continuing need for education as consumers seek out resources to increase their sense of safety and to help resolve issues encountered online.Additional study highlights include:
- when asked to describe new gTLDs, the most common words included: useful, informative, helpful, practical, interesting and innovative.
- while people are increasingly using different devices to surf the web, 64 percent of respondents report using a search engine as their preferred way to find a website. This is only slightly lower than Internet users report they did two to three years ago.
- registering a domain is not hard, but could be easier – fifty-three percent report that registering a domain is either “very easy” or “somewhat easy” and roughly half want the process of registering a website to be less complicated (50 percent), cheaper (55 percent) and quicker (49 percent).
ICANN is also working with Nielsen to conduct a global survey of domain name registrants and their perceived sense of trust and choice in the domain name space. Results from that study will be available later in 2015.