The Implied Consent of Nominet’s Second Level Domain Registration Proposals

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The above News searches at 9.40am today on Nominet produced NO relevant articles on their new second level domain registration proposals!

Three (short 2 hours max) stakeholder roundtable discussions are to be held one of which is in South Africa.1

It looks very much to us as if this second consultation on the major changes being proposed to the UK domain space is likely to be even “lower profile” than the first.

  • No mention, that we can see of any move to contact directly the 10.5 million domain owners (registrants) or to engage the public interest through media advertising.
  • No new Nominet videos specifically outlining the second level domain proposals

We almost sense the belief that the first consultation flushed out all major opinions and views of all stakeholders and the wider public. These have been taken account of so there is now a revised shorter consultation from which a lesser response is both aimed at, and anticipated.

In our view nothing could be further from the reality!

  • THESE CHANGES EFFECT VIRTUALLY ALL 10.5 MILLION DOMAIN OWNERS AND MOST UK INTERNET USERS.
  • THE PROPOSALS DIFFER RADICALLY FROM THE PREVIOUS CONSULTATION.
  • DIRECT STAKEHOLDERS MUST BE INFORMED OF THE INTENTION TO CHANGE THE COMMERCIAL STATUS OF THEIR EXISTING REGISTERED DOMAINS.
  • THE GENERAL PUBLIC’S OPINION SHOULD BE SOUGHT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST

We think the implied consent scenario whereby if your views aren’t sought prior to changes being implemented then you are deemed to have accepted them is wholly untenable.

Uninformed silence is not deemed consent.

In this second consultation part of Nominet’s Press Release states:

 “ … Nominet would notify existing registrants by email, and would run an awareness campaign to ensure that existing registrants have every opportunity to ….”

Unfortunately this only relates to the position “If a decision to go ahead is taken …”

Nominet have said that they regard it as “disproportionate2” to inform all their existing registrants but in these proposals they say:

“A ‘right of first refusal’ would give registrants of existing .uk domain names at the third level (e.g. .co.uk, .me.uk, .org.uk etc) the opportunity to secure the corresponding registration at the second level. In the event of two competing claims, the oldest current, continuous registration(1) would be given priority. The proposal is to run the right of first refusal for a 6 month period from launch.”

In our view this proposal effects the commercial status of virtually all existing domain owners (registrants) and therefore they must be directly informed of these proposals by Nominet and encouraged to comment theron

Not to do so would in our opinion be negligent!

Nominet Press Release  (1) Direct.uk Summary of Feedback (2)

 “1As part of our consultation on Second level domain registration, we are hosting three roundtable discussions to provide an opportunity for our stakeholders to put forward their comments.

    Wednesday 10th July (12:00 – 14:00) – Roundtable session in Central London

    Monday 15th July (16:30 – 18:00) – Roundtable session at ICANN, Durban

    Monday 22nd July (16:00 – 18:00) – Roundtable session 4pm, Royal College of Physicians”

2Others however, specifically criticised Nominet for not directly emailing each of the registrants of domains in .co.uk and other second level .uk domains to draw their attention to the consultation. After taking legal advice, Nominet considered that it would be disproportionate to use the registrant contact data that had been provided to send unsolicited emails to registrants that were not specifically related to the provision of their existing registered domain(s). Given the specific protections and prohibitions contained in the Data Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, many of the registrants who might have received such an email could have objected that this was an inappropriate use of their contact data and contrary to their data protection rights.”

NB Clicking the know Nominet ad will take you to an article from which you can access all the Nominet Consultation Documents

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