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Privacy The Internet United Kingdom

Nominet Compromising UK WHOIS Privacy, Wants To See Gov't-Issued ID 71

Posted by timothy
from the cat-detector-vans-are-on-the-way dept.
ktetch-pirate (1850548) writes Earlier this week, Nominet launched the .uk domain to great fanfare, but hidden in that activity has been Nominet's new policy of exposing personal domain owners' home addresses. Justification is based on a site being judged "commercial," which can mean anything from a few Google ads or an Amazon widget, to an email subscription box or linking to too many commercial sites, according to Nominet reps. In the meantime though, they want your driving license or passport to ensure "accuracy" because they "want to make things safe."
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Nominet Compromising UK WHOIS Privacy, Wants To See Gov't-Issued ID

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  • I wonder how much this has to do with an attempt to comply with statutes against anonymous Internet businesses [sitetruth.com]. Do these statutes have a reasonably rich body of case law yet?
    • by Animats (122034) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @12:52PM (#47237099) Homepage

      Right. The European Union has completely different privacy rules for individuals and businesses. For individuals, there's the European Privacy Directive, which gives Europeans much stronger privacy rights than in the US. For businesses, it's completely different. Online businesses face the European Electronic Commerce Directive, and have to disclose who's behind the business.

      That's deliberate EU policy. The whole point of the single European market is to make it easy to buy and sell across national boundaries within the EU. So there are lots of EU rules which benefit consumers and prevent businesses from operating in the country with the weakest regulation.

      The .us domain registrar doesn't allow anonymous registration, either. Actually, neither does ICANN. The registrant listed in Whois owns the domain. If that's some "private registration" front, they own the domain. This became a big deal when RegisterFly tanked and people with "private registration" discovered they really didn't own domains they thought were theirs. That took months to straighten out.

  • mine address is in whois for every domain I own; sure there are a couple major shoddy registrars that will put in their address instead of yours for your domains but they completely suck for other reasons.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They always looked to have avoided the commercialisation of other country/international DNS services, but having known someone who crawled their way into the hierarchy with little knowledge of the system but an excellent politician, I learned that really they're just the same as any Verizon but with less honesty about how they operate.

    This aside, the Nominet position has always been to require honest data but to allow people operating non-commercially to hide their information from whois. On the latter, fra

    • by ktetch-pirate (1850548) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @01:39PM (#47237259)
      The main problem is the constant 'goal shifting'. First it was because there was a widget link to Amazon for my book [slashdot.org]
      I disabled it Then it was "I had google adverts". I disabled them. Then I had 'lots of links to trading sites" and "email subscription module" And then I filed a complaint for being absurd, and so the next morning they published my home address. UK Gov calls a business anything that makes a profit. It also accepts that hobbies can bring in some money, but when it becomes profitable, then it's not a business and is a hobby. Nominet calls a site commercial based on the "I'll know it when I see it" standard, with an extremist mindset.To quote the 'senior Nominet Customer advisor' who was chosen to deal with this case,

      I would like to agree with a point you raised 'pretty much ANY website is a 'trading website''. This is the case and it's rare that a .uk domain name is able to opt-out of having their address details displayed.

      It's the same as indecency. What's acceptable to one, may be offensive to another. Should we go to the extremist view, 'skin showing is indecent' to appease the extremists, or should things reflect societal norms? Like 'all skin is indecent', anything involving anything commercial, even at one remove, makes this site commercial' is an extremist view. Does linking to your twitter profile, or a facebook page make you 'commercial'? Just read a good book, and wanted to share that on your site, with a link to where you can buy it means you're a business? Nominet says so. is that normal in the current state of society?

      • by whoever57 (658626)
        Perhaps it depends on the person at Nominet who assesses the site, or perhaps the goalposts have moved. I once reported a site to Nominet for blocked Whois information because the site was promoting a product, although actual puchases were made through another (linked) site. Nothing happened. The site remained as "The registrant is a non-trading individual", even though it clearly was not.
        • I was first told that stuff by their 'front line' staff (who turned out to have only worked for Nominet since March, all her pervious work was working in clothing stores, or as a hairdresser, except for a brief period as a software salesperson (her public linkedin profile is at the bottom of the 3rd link)

          That quote is by their 'second level' support, who took over the issue at the direction of the acting customer service head, following my complaint.

          It was reiterated by the acting head of customer ser
  • by bl968 (190792) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @01:21PM (#47237181) Journal

    Every single domain should have accurate and verifiable information for the owner, administrative, and technical contacts. The use of services which anonymize or mask domain owners should be prohibited.Whois was intended to enable you to identify the ownership of a domain and who to contact about it.

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      Every single domain should have accurate and verifiable information for the owner, administrative, and technical contacts. The use of services which anonymize or mask domain owners should be prohibited

      That's a nice polemic statement, completely unsupported by any evidence supporting why making the information public is a good idea.

      • Because domain generation is one of the most basic techniques used by malware authors and phishers to organize their attacks, as exemplified in the stone age by fast flux networks, Rock Phish, and Conficker, and in modern cases by Kelihos and most of the crap on Zeus networks. Because when a floor has to figure out what's going on with an address, the first thing they do is look up information on whois, which is already a poorly organized hot mess and the problem is further exacerbated by inaccurate info,
        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by sjames (1099)

          And, of course, none of those sort of people would ever fib, right?

          OTOH, anyone who says anything online has a good reason not to tell every kook and killer in the world where they live.

          Go ahead, post your complete and accurate contact info right here. Do include phone number.

        • whaa work is so hard

          And yeah, who eneds privacy because it makes some 'investigator's job hard. I'm pretty sure we can knock crime on the head if we throw privacy out of the window and abolish pesky things like 'search warrants'.
          In fact, let's do just what you say in meatspace - lets lock down cities, and then send squads of cops door-to-door in every town. We'll clean up the 'crime' that's there, and there won't have to do any petty investigating. orangina's all around!

          The issue is not fake domain info. The issue is leg

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          Yet that domain name is just an entry in a database, pretty meaningless in reality and totally controlled by where an end user DNS points. You can see the day coming, with the end of Net Neutrality where major multi-national ISPs decide that all the domain name money is theirs and route all traffic to their DNS servers and unless you pay them, your domain name no longer exist, it will be in their EULA, that the end user most use the ISPs domain name servers, or pay extra as a result of the extra cost of us

  • TFA is kind of long, so I will concede that on this one occasion, I may have merely skimmed it's content. However, as a gesture of good-will, I shall read the *next* TFA in it's entirety, *twice*.

    Anyway, from my brief skimmage, I could find no mention of passports or driving licences. Does anyone know what the summary is referring to?
    • read the last link, Anyway, Nominet is demanding ID to 'validate' names, even though under UK law, pseudonyms not designed to deceive are legal for use, else they sieze the domains. They do this despite accepting the pseudnym and the legal right to use one in the UK, and the identity of the person in the case (me)
      Basically, if you have a UK domain, and they can't 'verify' you in the big brother databases, you got to send them ID now.
  • ....for me not being able to go to a web site and use a vehicle number plate to look up the address of the jerk who cut me up in traffic today.

    Similar reasons surely need to apply to domain registrations.

  • ... everyone who is against this, is also against publishing the names and addresses of political donors, right?

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