Will verified domain names transform UK competitiveness as a location for online business?

The importance of the Nominet consultation  on their proposed new direct.uk service cannot be under-estimated. The EU Regulation on electronic IDs may be the first political/regulatory initiative to view a domain name as an electronic identity which requires some form of verification. It will not be the last.


The reaction of consumer groups to the discovery that a .co.uk registrant (let us call it  britishpartygoods.co.uk) might be a located in the backwoods of Bangladesh or China meant that it was only a matter of time before Nominet would come under pressure to create routines for verifying that organisations do indeed have a UK address before the receive a .uk domain name and that the name and address have not subsequently been hijacked.


The issues raised in this consultation are, however, complex and far reaching and it is important that this consultation receives responses from all those interested in the issues of identity, security, fraud, impersonation, privacy and also anonymity over the Internet.


Nominet has set up a number of different opportunities for stakeholders to get involved and ensure that any resulting service or changes meet the needs of businesses, boost trust in the .uk namespace, and contribute positively to Britain’s fast-growing internet economy.

1. Round Tables


To ensure they capture feedback from the different perspectives they will be holding three roundtable discussion sessions in London:


The session on Tuesday 6th November 2012, 10.30 – 13.00 is designed for domain name registrars (TAG Holders).


The session on Wednesday 7th November 2012, 10.30 – 13.00 is designed for small and large businesses, trade associations and trademark holders.


The session of Friday 9th November 2012, 10.30 – 13.00 is designed for civil society, consumer advocates, academics and public bodies.


To sign up for one of these roundtable meetings please visit here.


They expect these meetings to be popular so would encourage you to register your interest as soon as possible. They will endeavour to accommodate as many people as they can. If there is sufficient demand they will provide extra sessions as necessary. Please note that they may need to restrict attendance to one representative per organisation at each session. Please register your interest by the 25th October 2012.


There will be four further meetings that will be open to all:


Wednesday 14th November 2012 in Cardiff

Wednesday 28th November 2012 in Glasgow

Tuesday 4th December 2012 in Manchester

Tuesday 11th December 2012 in Belfast


To register your interest in attending one of these meetings please visit here .


Please register your interests in attending by the 2nd November 2012 and they will confirm further details in due course.


2. Open House


To answer specific questions you may have about the proposals, they will be holding an ‘Open House’ on 8 November 2012 in London. Nominet staff will be on hand to discuss specific aspects of the proposed direct.uk service, including malware scanning, registrant contact detail verification, plans for sunrise period and dispute resolution. If you would like to attend please register your details here .


Alternatively, if you do not wish to attend one of the meeting sessions outlined above please note that there are a number of ways available to submit your feedback to the consultation on the proposed service, background information and links to the consultation can be found here .


The .uk Policy Process Secretariat look forward to hearing from you at [email protected] or on 01865 332 246. 


As reqders will guess I have strong, and mixed, views on the way ahead – I believe in both strong verification and authentication routines and equally strong privacy and anonymity processes where verification and authentication are neither necessary nore desirable. I would like .uk to have both – simultaneously. I also believe this desire to be as realistic and practical as any of the other claims as to what is possible or not possible in the on-line world. The more interesting question is how much I am willing to pay in order to get what I want. And in what currency. And how do my priorities compare with those  of others.


I regard the response to this consultation as critical to to the future of the Internet. Will it be ignored by all save the enthusiasts and those with vested interests. If so, we will have to live with the conseqeunces. 





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