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UPD ISPs Oppose Nominet Proposal to Remove UK Domains without a Court Order

Posted: 24th Nov, 2011 By: MarkJ
www domain namesnominet ukThe civil society Open Rights Group (ORG) reports that it has been joined by the UK Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) and London Internet Exchange (LINX) in calling for Nominet, which handles the .uk registry of internet domain names, not to adopt a new proposal that could result in websites being taken down (suspended) from the internet without a court order.

The proposal, which we covered in some depth last week (here), has many positive aspects and would only be targeted towards allegedly illegal websites; including those "directly involved in the criminal distribution of counterfeit goods". But understandably not everybody is happy with the idea of bypassing the right to a fair trial.

ORG's Jim Killock said:

"ISPA, LINX and ORG have each separately decided that domain suspensions need to take place after receipt of a court order, and informed Nominet of this today.

ORG’s 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.

Further the underlying rights are only subject to justified or authorized 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."

A Nominet Issue Group is currently reviewing the policy on dealing with .uk domain names used in connection with criminal activity. Today's statement from ORG comes several days after an 18th November 2011 deadline for new feedback.

UPDATE 25th November 2011

Nominet has had to delay its new measures.

A Nominet Spokesperson said:

We had hoped to submit a proposed policy to the Board in December, but following some recent public feedback, it is clear that there are issues that require further discussion.

Our approach from the outset has been to seek consensus where possible. Therefore, we are working to reconvene the issue group in January to attempt to see whether differences can be resolved, prior to submitting any recommendation to the Board.

We remain committed to ensuring all stakeholders have their views represented, so we can continue to run .uk for the benefit of all.
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