I hope you are safe and well in your bubble and have the right work life balance given the present circumstances.
During COVID-19 lockdown, access to the Internet became a lifeline for all of us - a source of credible information, a way to learn, an opportunity to keep working, a connection with whanau.
The role of the DNCL in maintaining a secure, stable, and unified domain name system (DNS) for New Zealand has always been important, but at this time, when reliance on the Internet has skyrocketed, our collective role has become all the more vital.
Lockdown has been one of the busiest periods of the year - we have had to monitor the .nz domain namespace to ensure compliance with .nz policies.
We will not tolerate any .nz market participant exploiting the pandemic by perpetuating scams and bringing the .nz domain namespace into disrepute. It’s not ok to be selling phony cures, treatments, and vaccines and be uncontactable at a time when people are vulnerable.
We will not let people undermine online public safety or take advantage of .nz registrants. We are closely monitoring any breaches of the .nz contracts and policy requirements and acting swiftly.
It is our responsibility to ensure everyone is playing by the rules and in doing so we will ensure the .nz domain namespace remains trusted, safe and secure. If you see a suspicious COVID-19 related .nz domain name, report it to email@example.com, and we will check it out immediately.
I am looking forward to us making a real difference in compliance and keeping .nz fair for everyone.
Our compliance approach
Most .nz authorised registrars comply voluntarily with their contractual and policy requirements. For example, .nz registrars meet their requirements for registering a domain name, provide good customer service, tackle fake registration domain name abuse and uphold security and privacy responsibilities.
Every .nz authorised registrar wants to comply but some may need help to do so. As part of increasing awareness and understanding of registrars’ obligations under contract and policy, we are highlighting some key compliance focus areas for the year.
Being transparent about our compliance expectations, how we apply compliance best practice, and following up compliance risks that raise red flags is important to the Domain Name Commission.
It is also important that we give market participants certainty about what is expected of them to comply. Going forward each year we will be publishing our proactive and targeted compliance work plan for the year.
Our compliance framework has been built on two pieces of work we did in the middle of last year with Deloitte and David Pickens and discussed with registrars. It emphasises an information-led and risk mitigation strategy. We’ve updated our website to reflect our compliance approach.
We have just four focus areas because the situation with COVID-19 in New Zealand is constantly changing and evolving and therefore we plan to take a pragmatic and systemic approach in relation to our proactive compliance work plan.
Our newest employee “Any” keeps improving and helping members of the public with their .nz enquiries. We would like to thank everyone for showing “Any” some slack, while they continue to learn the ropes. Last month “Any” handled 128 enquiries and 26 live chats.
COVID-19 related domain name registrations
The team at the Domain Name Commission has continued to validate registration information throughout April associated with domain names that have been newly registered with terms relating to COVID-19.
To date, 248 domain names have been validated, with 88 domain names being suspended for registrants not validating their registration details.
We have not had to use the exceptional emergency power process to suspend a COVID-19 domain name which is a testament to how well our data validation process is working to suspend relevant domain names.
We continue to monitor these registrations for the time being. The list of validated names can be found on our website.
COVID-19 domain name monitoring and validation will have further impacts on our work and once we know what those impacts are and our response to them, we will provide you with an update.
Over the last month the Domain Name Commission has come across a number of .nz domain name registrations being registered to Mr, Mrs, na and other titles. This seems to be related to process issues with a number of registrars and their resellers.
These registrations do not meet .nz policy requirements so the Commission is following this up with the registrars and is aiming to reduce this error rate over the coming month.
We encourage all registrars to review any online .nz forms in use, especially salutation fields to ensure that registrants’ personal details are being captured correctly. This salutation data should not be used to pre-populate the registrant name field in the WHOIS record.
Shop safe New Zealand
The .nz domain name space supports hundreds of thousands of small businesses, online shop fronts, and millions of New Zealand’s shopping practices.
As we emerge from COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown it pays for us all to be aware of our online shopping habits to guard against scammers being ready to take advantage of Kiwis' love of shopping.
Our successful #ShopSafeNZ campaign that aimed to educate Christmas shoppers of typical scammers practices continues to have applicable online safety messages. See how many gotchas you can spot on the site.
The Government’s COVID-19 website has also been updated in the middle of April to have a new dedicated scams and misinformation hub which is worth checking out for the latest COVID-19 and scam advice.