In common with a number of other ccTLDs, Nominet has policies governing “criminal activity” involving domain names.
The Nominet policy in this areas was formalised back in 2014 and allows them to suspend domains based on reports from a variety of sources:
The revised terms and conditions published by Nominet expressly prohibit any .uk domains being used to carry out criminal activity. It means that Nominet can quickly suspend a domain name when alerted to its use for criminal activity by the police or other law enforcement agencies, such as National Crime Agency, Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) or the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Today they published data in relation to reports and suspensions covering the period between 1 November 2014 and 31 October 2015:
- 3889 .UK domains were suspended during the 12 month period
- 16 requests for suspension were denied
- 5 suspensions were reversed
- 2 suspensions were upheld on appeal
- 948 were suspended in the 6 months from when policy was formalised ie. from May to November 2014
- Nominet’s “offensive names policy” has resulted in 1 suspension
Bear in mind that the current *.uk zone has over 10.6 million names, so the percentage these names cover is tiny.
Having said that, if the registry were to suspend a domain by accident or based on a “bad” report, the impact for a small business would be disastrous, so it is interesting to see that several of the domain suspensions were challenged and the suspensions reversed. Exactly why the suspensions were requested in the first place and subsequently reversed isn’t revealed, which is unfortunate, as it would be interesting to know how the same domain can be deemed “bad” one day, but “acceptable” another.
Here’s a graphic from Nominet to help visualise the data: