Nominet is to institute a system of post-registration domain name screening for .uk domain names, within 48 hours of registration, the registry announced. The screening will be for domain names that appear to signal or encourage serious sexual offences.
Where registered domains that meet these criteria are discovered, they will be suspended or de-registered. The new screening only applies to the domain name itself and will not mean Nominet is drawn into policing web content and will be applied to existing and new registrations.
If a .uk domain name signals other criminal content and it is brought to Nominet’s attention, the .uk registry will refer these cases to the police for further action, in keeping with their current policy.
The changes come about following a recent policy review led by former Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Ken Macdonald QC. Following the report, which is now published on the Nominet website, the board agreed to make the change.
Nominet will also amend its terms and conditions to make it clear that registration of a domain name that appears to signal a serious sexual offence will constitute a breach of their terms of business and will also make it clear that use of a .uk domain name for criminal purposes is not permitted and will be suspended or de-registered.
“Nominet has always had an important role as a trusted guardian of the UK internet,” said Lesley Cowley, CEO, Nominet. “This update to our registration policy is something we feel is appropriate and practical. Even though we are only talking about a handful of domain names, we agreed that we do not want those domain names on the register – regardless of whether there was an associated website or content. So we are taking steps to remove domain names for which we can see no reasonable use.
“We thank Lord Macdonald for his thorough report. In keeping with our commitment to operating in the public interest, the Board has unanimously agreed to implement his recommendations.”
The report is available here and consultation feedback will be published later this week. Details on how these changes will be implemented will be published in the months ahead.