Thursday, April 26, 2012

Amendment to the .nz Registrar Agreement

In a society governed by the rule of law we all have to obey court orders, but under normal circumstances we can not be arbitrarily detained or have our property seized without a court order.

There have been reports that some US based .com registrars will suspend domain names following a "request" from law enforcement officers without any form of judicial review. For example Techdirt recently reported:
"All they have to do is to ask GoDaddy to take a site down."
Although New Zealand has a single police jurisdiction and is far more given to following the rule of law, there is obviously still a risk that individual police officers will attempt to take shortcuts ignoring the checks and balances of the law and pressure individual New Zealand registrars to suspend .nz domain names.

The DNC is proposing to change the agreement it has with registrars to clarify what they should do if they are requested to suspend a domain name without a court order "that Registrars are not expected to respond to take down demands from law enforcement in the absence of a clear court order seeking that action.  If Registrars receive such a demand, they ‘should’ forward it to the Domain Name Commission for action with DNCL working with the appropriate agencies to resolve the matter.  DNCL will accept the legal liability and support Registrars put in a difficult position."

The proposed policy  change is available here. Submissions on it remain open until Monday, 29 May 2012.

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