Balanced approach crucial in governing internet, says Nominet

UK domain name registry Nominet has welcomed the government's plans to fund an e-crime unit, but called for stronger governance of the internet to protect businesses and citizens from online crime.

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UK domain name registry Nominet has welcomed the government's plans to fund an e-crime unit, but called for stronger governance of the internet to protect businesses and citizens from online crime.

Nominet, which registers .uk domain names, welcomed the announcement by home office minister Vernon Coaker that the government intends to fund an e-crime operation as part of the National Fraud Reporting Centre.

But the government alone cannot fully protect businesses and citizens on the internet, said Emily Taylor, legal and policy director at the not-for-profit company. “Legislation can’t keep up with the pace of change. Self regulatory responses are much more adaptive.”

Taylor said it was important that businesses, politicians, the internet industry and the charity sector continued to work together on the development of the internet.

The calls echo statements made at the parliamentary launch in March of the UK’s own Internet Governance Forum.

Taylor said Nominet helped act as a “co-ordinator” to bring together the various groups on a national level at the forum, so that their voices could be heard at the international IGF meetings.

It is vital to balance the need for governance with the need for free speech and the ability of the internet to open up opportunities for disabled or vulnerable people, Taylor said.

“Discussions about the internet can very quickly get into doom and gloom, but we’ve always believed a lot is being done to tackle security threats,” Taylor said. “But the internet does bring freedoms, and there are some great cultural and community projects.”

“It’s really good news. There was a clear need for the unit but until now it’s been without funding,” she said. “It’s an indicator the government is taking [online crime] seriously.”

Nominet is arguing for DNS SEC, which permits authentication and data integrity checking of domain name systems data. It would help prevent spoofing attacks that redirect unsuspecting users to a malicious site, the company has said.

Separately, Nominet runs the registry for ENUM, a method of connecting telephone networks to the internet, a project overseen by the Department for Trade and Industry.

It also has a dispute resolution service to help different parties resolve arguments over domain names, and avoid the costs of going to court.

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