InternetNZ, through the Office of the Domain Name Commissioner, is currently reviewing the Registering, Managing and Cancelling Domain Names policy.
An initial call for comments on the policy review resulted in four submissions being received. These can be seen at /rmc-review.
As a result of some of the comments received, a further call for comments is being made, with a particular focus on obtaining people's views on whether there should be any change to the current registration requirements.
Suggestions put forward in the submissions received as a result of the first consultation round include:
- That the five day grace period is also used as a public notification period. This procedure will address, for example, concerns raised on malicious registrations for phishing or other illegal or malicious purposes. Regulatory authorities can thus monitor proposed registrations and respond appropriately. For example, the use of the word "bank" is restricted under the Reserve Bank Act and inappropriate use may constitute an offence.
- The objective of the RMC policy should be to put in place processes to prevent fraudulent applications for domain names and also provide for cooperation with industry participants including state bodies where potential fraudulent applications are suspected. A further objective of the policy should be to ensure that the domain names have integrity. For example, registration of domain names that are likely to mislead Internet users such as derivatives of corporate names, for example "Wespac" and "Natonal" should be prevented.
- Introducing a requirement that the DNC is required to check applications for domain names against defined criteria, for example similar to those used by the Companies Office.
- Enabling the immediate and effective cancellation of a domain name in the event of a fraud.
- Insert a clause that states that a domain name must not consist of a word that is not permitted by law or the applicant itself is not permitted to use in accordance with any law operating in New Zealand. For example, Section 64 of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand 1989 Act which places limits on the use of restricted words such as "bank", banker and "banking" in a name or title. If an application seeks to use such restricted words then the relevant registrar will be required to carry out checks that the applicant is permitted to use these words in their domain name.
- That a list of restricted words should be drawn up by the DNC as a guide for registrars carrying out their functions.
- Payment should be received from an applicant before the domain name is provided unless there are "exceptional circumstances". Exceptional circumstances might include where the applicant can demonstrate that due to a pressing commercial requirement that use of the domain name is required immediately.
These suggestions represent significant changes to the current policies on .nz domain name registrations.
Currently, there are no restrictions on who can register in the "open" second level domains, for example .co.nz. Neither is there any restriction on what they can register. If a name is available then it can be registered on a "first come, first served" basis.
No specific checks are done when a name is registered, though names can subsequently be cancelled if found to be operating against the .nz policies and procedures. For example, names can be cancelled if used for illegal purposes but proof must be given to the DNC that use is illegal, the DNC will not make that judgement
The proposals listed above, if implemented, would result in a move away from the current situation to a much more "hands on" approach by the DNC and by registrars and the introduction of judgement calls as to what is or isn't suitable in the .nz domain name space, possibly increasing the risk of litigation. Neither registrars, nor the DNC, currently get involved in matters concerning who the registrant of a domain name is, or what the domain name is being used for. (Note: There is a Dispute Resolution Service (DRS - /drs) administered by the DNC that parties can use to resolve disputes over who the registrant of a domain name should be.)
If steps are taken to introduce registration restrictions, and also provide the ability to cancel a domain name to prevent it being used for fraudulent purposes, then that raises questions as to what other situations the DNC and/or registrars should get involved with. For example, in addition to financial scams, would there also be an expectation to define rules that covered pornography, intellectual property infringements, defamation etc?
We welcome comment on the policy issues raised. It would be very helpful if submissions which are supportive of some or all of the suggested changes were also to cover how any of these changes could be managed at an operational level, particularly ways to reduce the impact on registrars.
Submissions can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax to (04) 495 2115, or by mail to P O Box 11881, Wellington.
As submissions are received they will be published on the DNC website at /rmc-2ndconsult.
Submissions should be received by midday on Wednesday 14 February 2007.
Ministry of Economic Development - .pdf
Reserve Bank of New Zealand - .pdf
Rick Shera - .pdf
State Services Commission - .pdf
New Zealand Bankers' Association - .pdf
Clive Elliot - .pdf
IPSANZ - .pdf