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Nominet cracks down on nefarious domain names

Web addresses encouraging sexual offences and criminal activity to be screened out


Nominet, the organisation that oversees the running of the .uk internet infrastructure, is to change the terms and conditions governing the registering of UK-based domain names to eradicate those used for criminal purposes.

The changes, which come into effect on 4 May, specifically prohibit any .uk domain being used for criminal activity and forbid the registration of domains that promote or incite serious sexual offences.

Nominet has said it will work with law enforcement agencies, such as the National Crime Agency and Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) to identify and suspend any domains that break these rules.

However, suspension will not be automatic. Domains identified by law enforcement as potentially promoting criminal activity will be checked individually by Nominet, in order to ensure there are no administrative errors, the company said.

Subsequently, it will work with domain name registrars to have the addresses suspended.

Lesley Cowley, CEO of Nominet, 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.

"It's established practice at Nominet to cooperate with law enforcement agencies - we believe the UK namespace has an enviable record of trust and safety," she said.

"However we're taking the opportunity ... to make it clear that criminal use of a domain name is an explicit breach of our terms of registration, and to make it clear how we will respond."

Owners of suspended domains will have 30 days to appeal.

Following the rule change, the company will produce a report on the number of domains suspended as a result after six months, with future reports being released on a quarterly basis.

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