Nominet and police web take-down should seek judicial oversight

Changes to the website takedown rules should be considered very carefully and there needs to be a full judicial oversight, the Open Rights Group has said.

The comments from the organisation come as Nominet, the .uk domain name registrar, opens a consultation following a request by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)  to be able to take down websites, which they believe to be used for criminal activities at a moment’s notice.

However, in order to do this changes to the terms and conditions under which UK domain names operate are required.

Although Nominet is opening up the debate to its to stakeholders and group members, the Open Rights Group has said serious consideration needs to be made.

Jim Killock at the group tells TechEye: “There needs to be a full juridical oversight, not just an agreement and arrangement between the police and Nominet.”

He said the exact system should be based on what the situation is, but in any case there has to be notification given to the website being taken down.

The ORG also has concerns about rights, saying: “There also needs to be a system in which the person who has lost their right by having their site taken down to be able to take action, whether this be legal, to get those rights back.”

The Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA), which manages and supports ISPs in the UK, is welcoming open discussion.

A spokesperson for the organisation tells TechEye: “This is an issue for Nominet, however ISPA welcomes the fact that a balanced group of stakeholders are taking part in discussions.

“The internet industry will be involved in discussions on this issue going forward.”

The closing date for applications to join the group is 23 February and Nominet expects to hold the first meeting in March.

Anyone who wishes to comment on the proposals should get in touch with Nominet by 2 March.

Nominet will then use these comments and those from stakeholders to decide whether to form an issue group on the subject.