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Monday, 26 August, 2002, 09:25 GMT 10:25 UK
Privacy deal over net names
Filling in a form, BBC
Some worried about who could see personal details
The overseers of the .uk net domain are delaying changes to the list of who owns which site to head off worries over privacy.

Nominet, which looks after the .uk domain, was proposing to provide comprehensive contact details to anyone searching for the owner of a .uk domain.

But the proposal met fierce criticism from parents and other groups worried that their privacy would be at risk if the changes went ahead.

Now Nominet is proposing a compromise that it hopes will calm the fears of domain owners.

Alert and alarm

Currently a query on the "whois" database returns only basic information such as who the domain was registered for and who actually registered it. Contact information is likely to be limited to an e-mail address.


We're not going to go ahead and publish everything regardless

Lesley Cowley, Nominet
This is in contrast to the "whois" information returned when looking up a .com domain which usually gives several different ways to contact an owner.

Nominet's original proposal would have made the .uk database return almost as much information as a .com query.

This worried parents and some individual owners of .uk domains who feared it could put their privacy at risk and leave some groups open to harassment.

The proposal sparked off the Nominet-No campaign by Colin Clarke which wanted the idea scrapped.

Privacy controls

Nominet is now proposing a compromise that will return detailed information for companies, but will let individuals nominate a net service provider as their point of contact.

Lesley Cowley, Nominet Managing Director, said it had resisted pressure from people keen to keep the situation unchanged and those that wanted to see full disclosure for all .uk domains.

"We're not going to go ahead and publish everything regardless," she said.

The changes will mean that from October queries made on domains obviously belonging to a company, such as those ending .ltd.uk, will return a trading address.

Ms Cowley said British law means that companies are obliged to provide trading addresses and should do so on their website.

A different regime will operate for websites owned by individuals.

From December 2002 anyone registering a new .uk domain or renewing an old one will be allowed to tick a box to use their net service provider as a contact point.

See also:

14 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
15 Jan 02 | Science/Nature
11 Jan 02 | Science/Nature
15 Mar 02 | Science/Nature
20 Aug 02 | Technology
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