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British registry Nominet is working with the City of London Police to implement a new policy for tackling criminal activity on .uk domain names.
Nominet now “expressly” prohibits .uk domains from being used to carry out crimes, meaning it can quickly suspend rogue addresses when contacted by law enforcement agencies.
The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), which tackles crimes such as online counterfeiting and piracy, is one of five agencies liaising with Nominet.
Nominet’s new policy comes into effect on May 4.
Lesley Cowley, Nominet chief executive, said: “As the .uk registry, we are determined to play our part in a wider community, which needs to work together to protect internet users from criminality online. Trust in the UK namespace is vital, so we are doing everything a trustworthy registry should.
"It’s established practice at Nominet to cooperate with law enforcement agencies – we believe that the UK namespace has an enviable record of trust and safety,” she said.
But Nominet will not “police” the .uk namespace or judge whether the content associated with a domain name is criminal, Cowley said.
Under the new policy, law enforcement agencies can notify Nominet that a domain is being used for criminal activity. The registry will then check that no administrative errors have caused the address to be incorrectly flagged. If not, the domain will be suspended.
Any complaints will be handled by the law enforcement agencies, which can reverse a suspension if they believe the criminal activity has stopped, that the suspension was incorrectly applied, or if they don’t respond to a complaint within 10 days.
PIPCU has been up and running since September last year, and has already made several arrests over the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods. Most recently, the agency compiled a list of allegedly copyright-infringing websites that it wants companies to avoid advertising on.
The remaining bodies working with Nominet are: the National Crime Agency; the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency; the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau; and the Internet Watch Foundation.
This article was first published on World IP Review on April 4.
Nominet, Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, .uk domains, online crime