Nominet shows willingness to discuss a procedure

Police seek powers to shut down web sites

The Serious and Organised Crime Agency has requested that Nominet, the UK’s Internet domain registrar, create a procedure which will allow law enforcement agencies to shut down sites involved in illegal activities.

Nominet listed the request as an ‘Issue’ to be discussed (pdf), pointing out that Nominet does not have any obligation that a domain name should “not be used in connection with any activity that would constitute an offence under UK criminal law,” which is a way of saying that no one foresaw the need for Nominent to have the ability to act at the request of police.

“This is in contrast to many registrars and a number of registries including .org and .biz,” Nominet pointed out in the brief.

Nominet appears to suggest that it is open to the idea of changing the registrar’s Terms and Conditions:

“We believe that formal policy advice is needed to underpin proposals for a change to Nominet’s Terms and Conditions to give a contractual basis to suspend domains where Nominet has reasonable grounds to believe they are being used to commit a crime (e.g. a request from an identified UK Law Enforcement Agency).”

Nominet provided a list of agencies with which the non-profit org would ‘usefully be involved’ in discussing the issue which included the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, Police Central e-Crime unit, the Office of Fair Trading Cybercrime Unit, Revenue & Customs, Health and Safety Executive, Trading Standards and representatives of business and ISPs.

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