Nominet today published its update on .UK domains suspended for criminal activity over the 12 months to October 2016. Nominet suspends domains following notification from the police or other law enforcement agencies that the domain is being used for criminal activity.
The criminality report shows that the number of .UK domains suspended between 1 November 2015 and 31 October 2016 has more than doubled year on year to 8,049, which represents around 0.08% of the more than 10 million .UK domains currently registered.
The main reason for this is probably because this is a fairly new change with .uk domains. The new .UK registration policy that allows Nominet, the .uk registry, to suspend any .uk domain name that carries out criminal activity came into effect on May 4, 2014. The police or other law enforcement agencies are just getting to know the new feature.
Russell Haworth, Nominet’s CEO says: “We want to make .UK a difficult space for criminals to operate in and the number of suspensions shows how the wider law enforcement community and the domain name industry are able to use an established process to take action, together.”
The number of suspensions is an increase on the 3,889 suspensions over the preceding 12 month period. Nominet received more requests from all reporting agencies including, for the first time, requests from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU). The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) which processes and co-ordinates requests relating to IP infringements from nationwide sources is the main reporting agency with over 7,500 requests, followed by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Trading Standards.
The number of requests that didn’t result in suspensions was less than one percent (77). Reasons for domains not resulting in suspension include the domain name already being suspended by the Registrar or being transferred to the IP rights holder as a result of a court order in the meantime.
Registrants have 30 days to appeal this assessment. The number of suspensions that were reversed was 13. A suspension is reversed if the offending behaviour has stopped and the enforcing agency has since confirmed that the suspension can be lifted.
Russell Haworth continues: “With the vigilance of law enforcement agencies we are able to respond swiftly to suspension requests. This period saw a change in legislation making some formerly legal highs illegal. This explains the number of suspensions that were reversed, due to websites not responding quickly enough to changes in the law and being reinstated once links to offending products had been removed.”
The report also provides an update on domains suspended and blocked under Nominet’s offensive names policy, introduced in May 2014. 2,407 domains were flagged for potential breach of the offensive names policy and one suspension was made.