Over 3,000 sites suspended by Nominet and the Police
We've stumbled across plenty of illegal websites in our time, especially where criminals are posing as online retailers in order to skim credit card details. How easy is it to close down these operations once they're reported to the authorities? Very easy, it seems. Perhaps a little too easy, according to some.
UK domain registar Nominet has revealed that it has taken down over 3,000 sites - at the request of the Police. What's concerning some parties is that this is happening without any procedure or requirement for proof, only the say so of the authorities. Worse still, there's a suggestion that if Nominet don't comply with requests to suspend websites, the organisation will be considered liable.
While it's all too obvious when a site is up to no good, there are plenty of shades of gray, and innocent parties are getting caught up; out of 12 complaints made about instances of websites been taken down, nine were upheld. Moreover, seizing domain without the need to provide evidence hands the Police an unprecedented amount of power.
While the authorities are defending their tactics by claiming to go through all available channels before contacting Nominet (such as hosting services and owners directly), it's still unclear why the Police should be able to see sites taken down without the need for a court order.
As the Open Rights Group says: "Legal processes have immense advantages, such as being open, transparent, and making sure the accused can be represented, knows what they are being accused of and being able to defend themselves."