With the passing of the Digital Economy Bill last night, the UK government has created powers to oversee Nominet, the .uk registry manager, as well as any new gTLD that is “UK-related”.
The Bill would allow the government to replace a registry if, in its opinion, the registry’s activities tarnish the reputation or availability of UK internet services.
It also allows the minister to apply to a court to alter the constitution of a registry such as Nominet.
The legislation was created in response to concerns that the registry could be captured by domainers, following a turbulent few years within Nominet’s leadership.
Nominet has since modified its constitution to make this unlikely, and is now of the position that the government will have no need to exercise its new powers.
The Bill does not name Nominet specifically, but rather any domain registry that is “UK-related”.
An internet domain is “UK-related” if, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, the last element of its name is likely to cause users of the internet, or a class of such users, to believe that the domain and its sub-domains are connected with the United Kingdom or a part of the United Kingdom.”