Brexit will impact many things. One that has not been getting much attention however is domain names and more specifically .eu domains.
Under the current regulations you need to be a resident of the European Union to register a .eu domain name. As I covered in a blog post last year there is the potential for hundreds of thousand of .eu domain names being pulled overnight.
Over the past year EURid have been working with the European Commission (for whom they operate the ccTLD under contract) and have been updating their Brexit notice.
So what are the possible paths for .eu registrants based in the UK?
If you want to be 100% sure that your .eu domain name will continue to function without any interruption then you need to update the registration contacts to use an address in a European Union member state ie. one that is not at risk of exiting the Union.
At the moment there are essentially three possible outcomes of Brexit:
- UK leaves EU with no deal at the end of March 2019
- UK leaves EU with some form of deal but after March 2019
- UK doesn’t leave
The possible non-Brexit situation or maintenance of the status quo would obviously mean no impact on .eu registrations and registrants.
But what of the other scenarios?
Previously it seemed like the Commission’s position was to take a very hard line and to basically pull the names on “D Day”. Now it looks like there’s going to be a transition period, although it’s ridiculously short.
So if there’s a “no deal” Brexit then no new registrations from the UK will be allowed and registrants (and their registrars) will be put on notice a few days in advance of the issue. They’ll have about 2 months to resolve the issue before the domain(s) are pulled.
If, however, the UK exit is based on a “deal” of some kind then there’s essentially a “stay of execution” and a slightly longer transition period.
What isn’t touched on are some of the more interesting cases, such as registrants based in Northern Ireland or the upcoming changes to the .eu policies that will extend registration rights to EU citizens regardless of their location. And what about domains that are registered for 10 years? Nevermind the risks of phishing and other types of malicious behaviour when potentially thousands of previously active names are deleted from the zone after their suspension.
EURid is now offering its registrars the ability to download a list of affected domains / registrants from their extranet.
Overall the situation for registrants of .eu with addresses in the UK is not positive, though against the backdrop of the overall mess that is Brexit it’s understandable why the situation hasn’t received much attention outside internet industry circles.
For more details on how EURid currently plan to handle .eu domains registered to UK registrants their Brexit page contains quite a lot of detail.