The *.za namespace is going to be impacted by upcoming changes to policies and regulations.
The .za ccTLD is run by ZADNA who in turn outsource the day to day operations to a registry operator, who is currently ZACR. However a few months ago the contract for running the registry was put out to tender. For now ZACR is still performing the functions, but it’s not 100% clear if they are retaining the contract or not. On a recent call with ZADNA about the upcoming changes to regulations and policies registrars were asked (rather forcefully) not to refer to ZACR by name when talking about the registry operator.
The draft regulations (pdf) make some fairly drastic changes to how domains in the *.za country code are managed by the registry operator, registrars and registrants.
A few highlights:
- all registrars will need to be licensed under the new regime
- the actual criteria for licensing has not been published
- the fees for the new licensing regime have not been published. This could reduce competition if the fees are considered too high by smaller registrars or companies for whom providing registrar services is not their core business.
- registrants will need to provide identity documentation to the registrar. It sounds like details of the ID docs are to be stored in the registry, but how that will work technically is not explained. They’re also claiming that collecting and processing all this personal data is “fine” with regard to GDPR and other privacy legislation.
- ALL *.za domain names are impacted – both existing and new registrations.
- ZADNA wants access to registrars’ systems. Yes. You read that correctly.
- ZADNA can revoke registrar licensing (accreditation) at short notice. 10 business days is far too short and I suspect would be considered unreasonable by many.
If you register .co.za (or other .za) domain names either for yourself or for your clients please take the time to read over the document. It’s not that long, but there’s a few significant changes in there that will make things a lot more complicated than before.
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