Monday, 17 October 2011

Nominet and suspending domains

Nominet have said a lot on policy for suspending domains for illegal activity. Essentially, I believe, it all stems from the idea that at present there is an informal arrangement where the police ask for a domain to be pulled and nominet say no, and the police say "you would not be trying to profit from a crime would you?" and the domain is pulled.

OK that is probably a big over simplification, and clearly bullshit as Nominet charge per two years so unless the domain is up for renewal that day they do not profit any more or less by leaving a domain registered at least until renewal.

But the new policies have all sorts of twists and turns and the latest ideas are here.

To me it is simple though.

1. They should normally only take action on a court order - we have a legal process in this country and there is something called due process which means a court should decide, not some private company and not even the police. If there is no court order then nobody, including the police, has any right to interfere in normal legal contractual operations of a company like Nominet or their customers, IMHO.

2. If there is some policy that allows for an expedited process because (Think of the Children) there is some urgent need to take action sooner then fine - I am not 100% convinced, and even if there is a need, then the need if for a means to wake up a judge and get an order sooner, but assuming there is a need then ....

3. An expedited process should have a clear and short time scale - e.g. 24 hours - whatever it actually takes to get a court order, in which time a court order has to be got else (a) the block is reversed, and (b) whoever asked for it has to pay all costs and consequential losses to such an extent that they should have insurance for it in place before they ask.

That is all pretty simple stuff, surely.

It almost does not matter how close the crime is to the domain, or if a sub domain, as long as a court can decide and someone has a chance to defend it. It almost does not matter who is asking for the expedited process (law enforcement or someone else). What it needs is that whoever asks to bypass legal due process is held accountable when due legal process does not agree with them later. Simple!

If not, then action could easily be taken in haste that causes millions of pounds of damage to a corporation, and if that happens someone should pay, and that someone is whoever asked to bypass due legal process. I'd go as far as to say there should be a standard minimum fee for wrongly suspending a domain like £1000 that does not have to be proved as a loss. Anyone bypassing due process risks that and needs insurance for that before they start.

If they are right in blocking domains the risk of costs will not be a problem. If they are concerned over costs they must be unsure of their own processes for ensuring they are right and so should not be allowed to block domains without a court order. They cannot say they are right to ask, and complain at the risk of costs - it is one of the other.

It is not a complicated measure to put in place, and still needs policy on who is allowed to ask, and so on. But it is a simple principle - you get it wrong - you pay!

That is my view anyway.

1 comment:

  1. There is a big problem with this policy you are suggesting.

    Too much simplicity and common sense!

    :)

    ReplyDelete