Tag Archives: Spain

Spanish Police Find 46,000 Domains Used For COVID-19-Related Criminal Activities

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Spanish National Police have monitored 415,973 domain names related to COVID-19 with the aim of finding possible indications of illegal activity. During this process, agents have found 120,353 domain names suspected of being used for illegal activities, or with the potential to do so in a very short time.

The National Police (Policía Nacional) then undertook a more thorough analysis both of the domains themselves, as well as the web pages and servers to which each of them pointed. This resulted in finding 45,773 domains that were being used for criminal activities. The news release from the National Police doesn’t indicate whether they are only focussed on domain names under Spain’s ccTLD or a wider search.

The Central Cybercrime Unit of the National Police (Unidad Central de Ciberdelincuencia de la Policía Nacional) has requested, obtained and verified the blocking of all of the domains and, at the moment, continues its monitoring work in case the block of any of these websites is lifted, even though this possibility is considered unlikely.

On the remaining 74,580 domains with indications they may be activated in the future to commit cybercrime-related activities, the monitoring process is continuing to in case they are activated, and if so proceed to their blocking if it’s warranted.

The National Police note that the initial number of 415,973 monitored domains will continue to increase with the monitoring work of the National Police continuing.

The Central Computer Security Brigade of the Central Cybercrime Unit of the National Police (La Brigada Central de Seguridad Informática de la Unidad Central de Ciberdelincuencia de la Policía Nacional) has among its functions entrusted with active cyber-patrol of the dark and open web. During the current pandemic, this activity has intensified and a concrete approach to content relating to the health crisis situation caused by COVID-19 has been intensified.

.BARCELONA Maintains Total Registrations Of Over 5,500

Barcelona became the first Spanish city to launch its own top-level domain when it launched .barcelona in March 2016 and almost four years later, as of the end of 2019, has 5,684 domains under management.

While total registration numbers are more or less the same as 12 months before, there were 1,071 new domains and 4,504 renewals. This means the renewal rate is 83.15%, in line with other leading city domains such as .nyc, .london and .berlin.

The .barcelona domain is open to everyone. All organisations, businesses, individuals and administrations with some sort of link or activity within Barcelona’s area of influence can register .barcelona domains. The money made through the sale of .barcelona domains is also reinvested in projects with a social impact, such as the .barcelona training programme in the neighbourhoods to reduce the digital divide.

Internet Stakeholders from Around the World Will Meet in Barcelona for ICANN’s 63rd Public Meeting

ICANN will hold its 63rd Public Meeting (ICANN63) in the Barcelona International Convention Centre from 20 to 25 October. ICANN63 is hosted by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Business, through the Secretary of State for Digital Advancement, and Red.es, a public corporate entity responsible for managing the Internet Domain Name Registry for the country code “.es”, and for developing programs to stimulate the digital economy.

Speakers at the Opening Ceremony on 22 October include: Spanish Minister of Economy and Business Nadia Calviño; Secretary of State for Digital Advancement Francisco Polo; ICANN Board Chair Cherine Chalaby; and ICANN President and CEO Göran Marby.

We encourage members of the press to join in-person or remotely via a live web stream. Additionally, you can get in touch with ICANN‘s Communications team for interviews and/or briefing on ICANN63 highlights. More information on remote participation and media contacts are provided below.

The meeting will bring together stakeholders from all over the world. Governments, businesses, the civil society, non-governmental organizations, research institutions, technical communities, and others are active participants in the event. The sessions will enable discussions and the development of policies on a broad range of Internet-related topics, particularly the Domain Name System and IP addressing, and inform the audience on latest issues of concern to stakeholders.

Among the highlights of ICANN63, a High Level Governmental Meeting (HLGM) will take place on 22 October. Ministers, government’s representatives, and delegations from around the world will attend the meeting. The day-long HLGM will include interactive sessions for ministers and high-level officials to discuss the Internet ecosystem and governance, ICANN‘s work, wider digital issues of global interest, and the role of governments in these areas. For those interested in joining the HLGM sessions, more information on how to connect to the live webcast is provided below.

Additionally, there will be sessions related to the evolution of ICANN policies such as WHOIS, in light of new data protection rules emerging around the world such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These sessions provide an opportunity for members of the press to learn more about the work that is being done to adapt existing ICANN contractual requirements and community-developed policies in relation to data protection laws, including a potential model to enable access to non-public user registration data for legitimate purposes.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
https://www.icann.org/resources/press-material/advisory-2018-10-09-en

ICANN Releases Mobile App and Schedule for ICANN63

ICANN’s 63rd public meeting is happening in Barcelona later this month and this week ICANN published the schedule and released an app for Android and Apple devices.

The app, available from the relevant app store, allows attendees and other to view the full schedule, session details, venue information and more. The meeting is being held in Barcelona, Spain, from 20 to 25 October.

More information is also available at the meeting website here.

E-Shops Selling Counterfeit Goods Often Use Re-Registered Brand Domains, European Study Finds

Companies letting their domain names expire are often finding e-shops are re-registering their domain names and using them to market trademark infringing, or counterfeit, goods. But there’s no correlation between the use of the domain name prior to the e-shop and what the e-shop sells.

The study by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) [pdf], through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, was on online business models used to infringe intellectual property rights. The study found when domain names were available for re-registration the entities operating the e-shops would systematically re-register the domain names and shortly after set up e-shops marketing goods suspected of infringing upon the trademarks of others. It was a characteristic that the prior use of the domain names was completely unrelated to the goods being marketed on the suspected e-shops. There were examples of domain names previously used by politicians, foreign embassies, commercial businesses and many other domain name registrants.

The study was conducted in 2 phases. Phase one looked at .dk (Denmark) from October 2014 to October 2015. During this period 566 .dk domains were re-registered by suspected infringers of trademarks immediately after the domain names had been given up by their previous registrants and became available for re-registration. Phase 2 looked at Sweden, which as a Scandinavian country would be assumed comparable with Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom, which have very well-developed and large e-commerce sectors, and a country with a large e-commerce sector in southern Europe, Spain.

Phase 2 found the same phenomenon previously documented in Denmark also occurs in the Swedish, German, British and Spanish ccTLDs.

According to the study, the “total number of detected e-shops suspected of infringing the trade marks of others using a domain name under the ccTLD” ranged from 2.9% in .de (Germany) to 9.5% in .se (Sweden) while the “total number of detected e-shops suspected of infringing the trade marks of others using a domain name under the ccTLD where the domain name had been previously used by another registrant” ranged from 71.1 % of suspected e-shops in .uk (United Kingdom) to 81.0% in .es (Spain). The average was 5.41% across all ccTLDs in the study and 75.35% respectively.

Based on the research, the researchers believe it must be considered likely that the same also occurs in other European countries with well-developed e-commerce sectors.

An analysis of the 27,970 e-shops in the study identified a number of patterns including shoes were the product category most affected, accounting for two-thirds (67.5%) of the suspected e-shops and then clothes, accounting for 20.6%, while 94.6% of the detected suspected e-shops used the same specific e-commerce software.

Additionally, 40.78 % of the detected suspected e-shops in Sweden and the United Kingdom were registered through the same registrar, 21.3 % of all the e-shops used the same name server and a quarter (25.9%) of the suspected e-shops had the hosting provider located in Turkey, 19.3 % in the Netherlands and 18.3 % in the United States.

Even if the domain name was previously used for the marketing of goods, the study found the current e-shops were marketing a different type of product at the time of analysis. The study examined 40 case studies that indicated the sole reason for re-registration of the domain names is to benefit from the popularity of the website that was previously identified by the domain name. The benefits would include search engine indexing, published reviews of services and/or products and links from other websites that have not yet taken the current use into consideration. The case studies used also indicate a high degree of affiliation between the e-shops is likely. The research seems to indicate that what on the surface seems like thousands of unrelated e-shops are likely to be one or a few businesses marketing trade mark infringing goods to European consumers.

The 140 page study is available for download from:
https://euipo.europa.eu/tunnel-web/secure/webdav/guest/document_library/observatory/documents/reports/Research_on_Online_Business_Models_Infringing_IP_Rights.pdf

In Series of Raids on Catalan Offices, Spanish Police Raid .CAT, Arresting and Now Releasing Director Masoliver

The Spanish government is getting heavy with Catalonians due to the upcoming referendum on independence, aiming to stop the referendum. Police raided numerous government offices among others Wednesday in the Spanish state of Catalan, one of those being Fundació puntCAT, the registry for .cat. As part of the raids police arrested Fundació puntCAT’s Director of Innovation and Information Systems Pep Masoliver on charges of embezzlement, trespass and disobedience. Masoliver was released Friday morning. Although the conditions of his release aren't yet known.

In a statement on the arrest Wednesday, Fundació puntCAT state they:
“are a private and non for profit foundation devoted to ensuring that Catalan – a persecuted and maltreated language – has its space in the digital world. We assist all our users with the greatest professionalism and we are a reference entity in Catalonia and in the world.

“The show that we have experienced in our offices this morning has been shameful and degrading, unworthy of a civilized country. We feel helpless in the face of these immensely disproportionate facts.

“We demand the immediate release of our colleague and friend.

“We will continue to work for our foundational objectives as well as for the defense of freedom of expression on the Internet.”

The raid and arrest has also been criticised by a fellow Spanish gTLD, .eus, aimed at the Basque language and culture. In a letter to ICANN, published by InternetNews.me, the PuntuEUS Fundazioa CEO Josu Waliño writes:
“In recent days, we are experiencing an unprecedented situation with the raid of Spanish police in the offices of the PuntCAT Foundation, and the arrest of one of its workers.

“From the PuntuEUS Foundation, entity responsible for the .EUS domain management, we observe with great concern the measures being taken by the Spanish Government, since they represent a great violation of the freedom of the Internet and the domain system.

“As members of the Internet community, we wish to convey to ICANN our deep concern, and we request that on behalf of the Internet community publicly condemn these measures by upholding the values that govern ICANN and the Internet.”

Spain Attempts to Censor .CAT Domain Names

Spanish police raided the offices of the .cat registry Wednesday morning seizing all their computers, according to InternetNews.me, apparently in retaliation for some .cat domain names being used to host websites for the Catalan independence referendum scheduled for 1 October.

The raid follows another Tuesday by the Guardia Civil of the offices of Spain's biggest private delivery company, Unipost, in the Catalan city of Terrassa, reports the BBC. “Catalan police officers scuffled with pro-secession protesters trying to block the street outside.”

There were further raids Wednesday with The Independent reporting “Spanish national police have stormed ministries and buildings belonging to Catalonia's regional government to put a stop to the region's independence referendum.”

The Spanish government is attempting to stop the referendum from happening. On Saturday “Catalan separatists and supporters of the region's right to hold a referendum on independence from Spain have held a rally backing more than 700 mayors facing the threat of arrest,” according to another BBC report. “The mayors have been called in for questioning by prosecutors for agreeing to facilitate the vote locally.”

“They could be arrested if they do not attend and prosecuted for using public funds if they help stage the ballot. Madrid has promised to block the vote, saying it is unconstitutional.” And last Friday the Spanish government gave the regional government in Catalonia 48 hours to abandon “illegal” referendum plans or lose budgetary powers.

In a statement last Friday prior to the raids but apparently following the court decision, The Fundació puntCAT (puntCAT Foundation) said:
“Internet is one of the greatest expressions of universal freedom and pluralism. Due to the exigences of Spanish courts which demand actions that restrict this foundational mission, we have been forced to take actions we do not share and that we consider not worthy of the space of freedom provided by new technologies. We will inform International organizations we are part of as an important member (ICANN) of any restrictions on the free concurrence of the Network and its services.

“We will continue to support the freedom, participation and processes that favor the development of our national identity and our institutions that represent the entire Catalan population, our language and our culture.”

There are over 100,000 .cat domain names registered. Internetnews.me questions how the registry will continue to operate if their offices have been shut down and computer equipment seized.

“The seizure won’t impact live domain names or general day to day operations by registrars, as the registry backend is run by CORE and leverages global DNS infrastructure. However it is deeply worrying that the Spanish government’s actions would spill over onto an entire namespace.”

For more on the raid see the InternetNews.me report here.

Ensure Whois Data For .ES Domains Accurate or Risk Losing It

RED.ES logoThe .es registry, Red.es, has become aware of a number of domain names in their registry with inaccurate Whois data following an audit of registrations.

Currently Red.es is contacting registrants and administrative contacts informing them they have 30 days to update their contact information. During this period they are also phoning registrars and administrative contacts informing them of the notice sent and the requirement to update their registration data.

At the end of the 30-day period, if errors have not been updated, Red.es will initiate a Special Cancellation Procedure, details of which are available in Spanish here. An English version is available here, but from my experience it’s better to use an online translation service (Bing or Google).

Brand gTLDs Beating to a Different Drum: INTA Meeting

International Trademark Association logoThe pressures on brands to get their new gTLDs to market are different to those with registrations that rely on paid for registrations. For brands, the pressure is to get what they want… right.

At the International Trademark Association (INTA) Annual Meeting in Barcelona, Spain, that’s running from 20 to 24 May, there was a discussion on how to evaluate the success of brand generic top level domains. It’s a huge even for trademark professionals with the number registered this year topping 10,644 at 17:00 pm on Sunday, 21 May.

World Trademark Review has given a detailed coverage of the meeting, including the seminar on brand gTLDs. CSC Digital Brand Services’ Gretchen Olive argued, according to the WTR report, “that they should be viewed through a different prism. Crucially, she notes that ‘.brands’ are just not in a rush to launch. Nor are they subject to the same pressures to do so, in a bid to recoup their investment through registration sales: ‘Success is not measured by registrations or profit, but instead the unique strategic business goals of each individual brand.’”

“The operators of branded online spaces, then, are marching to the beat of a different drum. One such is Accenture, with Kristen Poggensee, paralegal associate manager, joining Olive in the ‘.brands’ and you’ session. Poggensee is part of a cross-company team – drawing on legal, marketing and IT – that is driving the digital strategy behind ‘.accenture’, and she explained: ‘Right now we are not looking to just switch from ‘.com’ to ‘.accenture’. Instead we are taking a phased approach and testing the water. This is an evolving strategy.’ Central to this are continued efforts to ‘build awareness – not only within the company but also the community’, engage in industry and competitor analysis, and ensure that senior management remains involved in the project as this evolution continues: ‘You have to keep interest levels high.’ The takeaway? There may not be a big bang moment in terms of ‘.brand’ deployment but don’t regard that as indicating failure. Brand registries are instead working at their own pace, exploring and testing different options, and rolling out only when it is strategically advantageous to do so.”

ICANN Tries Again For San Juan In 2018 And Adds Barcelona

ICANN is having another attempt at holding a public meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, after it aborted its previous attempt scheduled for last November due to concerns regarding the Zika virus.ICANN’s Board approved San Juan as the location in North America to host its 61st public meeting to be held 10-15 March 2018. The Board also approved Barcelona, Spain as the European city to host ICANN63 to be held 20-26 October 2018.ICANN holds three public meetings each calendar year in different regions of the globe. The yet to be announced location of ICANN62 is scheduled for the Latin America and Caribbean region from 18-21 June.