Press cover on the result of the .UK consultation conceals more than it reveals

The BBC news story about the shelving of the proposals  put forward by Nominet for consultation is accurate as far as it goes but misleads rather than informs those outside the trade mark community (including registrants) which provided 90% of the responses and had, in some cases, very different views to the business and consumer groups which, between them, accounted for only 5%. Even Caroline Baldwin’s piece for Computer Weekly misses the meat of the story. But that is not surprising because it is hidden away on pages 39 and 40 of the Summary of Reponses.

All of the business and consumer groups and those registrants whose businesses are based in the UK believe that .UK (whether long or short) should mean the operation is based in the UK and/or governed by UK law. About half the registrars and those registrants whose businesses are based outside the UK believe .UK should also be available to those, wherever based, who wish to sell to the UK.

Almost all respondents believed that security and verification should be improved and agreed with at least some of the proposals, nearly half with all of them, but most had severe reservations with, although they differed as to which. Only 10% wanted no change.

That is my summary of the 90 page Nominet summary which goes into great detail on technical issues of  interest to registrars, registrants and Internet enthusiasts. Nominet has some “interesting” feedback for when it tries to rework the proposals in line with the feedback. I look forward to seeing what they come up with.

The news story should therfore be that the introverted community which runs the Internet addressing systems is seriously out of step with the rest of society. It therefore risks being friendless and vulnerable when law enforcement gets the backing of politicians to take effective action, whether nationally or internationally, via ICANN or via the ITU, regardless of their protestations. I hope that sufficient of them recognise the danger and will work together with those in business and consumer groups who are serious about rebuilding confidence in the on-line world to help ensure the actions are not actually counter-productive when they come.