Nominet, the registrar that handles .uk domains, is moving ahead with proposed rules (PDF) that could allow law enforcement agencies to request a domain be shut down without a court order.
The registrar launched the process in response to a request from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). Currently Nominet’s rules don’t allow for domains to be shut down for criminal reasons, though in the past it has blocked domains at the request of law enforcement agencies on the pretext that they provided false contact details.
Suspension of a domain will not require a court order but should be limited to circumstances where necessary “to prevent serious and immediate consumer harm”, according to Nominet.
The draft proposal would establish a process under which law enforcement agencies would request a domain be blocked in cases where “suspension is proportionate, necessary, and urgent”.
The policy would cover cases in which a site is involved in crimes covered under the Serious Crimes Act 2007, including fraud, prostitution, money laundering, blackmail and copyright infringement.