UK Internet Groups Express Concerns Regarding Nominet Takedown Powers

The Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA), the Open Rights Group and London Internet Exchange (Linx) have expressed concerns and are resisting a proposal by Nominet to take down websites involved in illegal activities without the need for a court order.ISPA, the Open Rights Group and LINX have informed Nominet that we are unable to agree with the draft Issue Group statement on domain name suspensions.Nominet has to date been suspending domain names at the mere request of law enforcement in a variety of cases, the three groups said in a statement. The full details of these suspensions have not been released: rather, some summary information has been provided orally giving an indication of the volumes and the nature of the offences. The groups are asking Nominet to publish this information.It is thought that hundreds of domain names thought to be selling counterfeit merchandise to be taken down at the request of police.Law enforcement have argued that Nominet must take responsibility for acting once they are informed of suspensions, in some cases threatening them with potential liabilities under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The statement from the three groups notes that they have no doubt that so far most of the domain names have been worth taking down. But they believe some have been taken down incorrectly.In their statement, the groups say their understanding is that Nominet’s current practices fail to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention).It is an Article 6 right under the Convention to have an open fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Article 6 rights cannot be waived.The three groups further believe the underlying rights are only subject to justified or authorised interference in accordance with or prescribed by law -which is accessible and formulated with sufficient precision to enable citizens to regulate their conduct. This is not and cannot be met when Nominet itself exists in a statutory and legal vacuum -and now acts without court orders.The full statement from ISPA, the Open Rights Group and LINX is available from:
www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2011/ispa,-linx-and-org-insist-on-court-orders-for-domain-suspensions

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