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George Reid, Deputy Presiding Officer
"Scotland could have its own world address on the internet"
 real 28k

Monday, 1 May, 2000, 09:22 GMT 10:22 UK
Scotland entering new domain
Web graphic
Demand for new web addresses is growing rapidly
Talks are under way over plans to create what is described as a distinctly Scottish internet address.

Nominet, the authority which registers UK web names is in discussion with the Scottish Executive and Scottish Enterprise over the creation of the domain '.sco.uk'.

The disclosure came after a meeting in Edinburgh between the Ayrshire-born head of Nominet, Willie Black, and the Deputy Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, George Reid.


George Reid
George Reid: Involved in discussions

Suffixes such as '.co.uk', which are known as top level domains, are well established.

But, with the demand for new internet addresses growing rapidly, Nominet is looking at the establishment of so-called second level domains such '.sco.uk'.

Mr Black said the "ball was rolling" on the creation of two second level domains - '.sco.uk' for Scotland and '.cym.uk' (Cymru) for Wales.

While the inclusion of '.uk' is opposed by nationalists, the creation of top level domains is restricted by international code to two letters and '.sc' is already in use in The Seychelles.

Country code

However, '.aa', which could signify Alba - the Gaelic name for Scotland - is free.

Mr Black said: "There have been discussions within Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Executive and the Internet Society for Scotland, and I have offered to help facilitate the debate.

"The next stage is to get all those with a stake in the internet in Scotland - the internet service providers, the legal profession, commerce, and users - together and work out what the issues would be if we do get a country code or a second level under '.uk'.

"They need to decide what the rules should be, how much they are going to charge, and who should be allowed to register under the Scottish code.


Hands on computer
Concern over issue of "cybersquatting"

"Would it just be Scottish citizens and companies, or would ex-pat Scots like me be allowed? This is a decision for the Scots."

Mr Black said it seemed illogical that Scotland did not have its own domain name, when Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and even South Georgia, with a population of 50, had distinctive addresses such.

Mr Reid, Scottish National Party MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, also raised the issue of "cybersquatting", where commercial companies buy up the names of Scottish communities and then seek paid advertising from local hotels, restaurants and trades people.

Suffolk-based Webhound has registered such names as Balfron and Bannockburn, initially offering them back to villagers for 500.

Mr Black said he could understand people's indignation at the practice.

'Get-rich-quick'

Mr Reid said what was needed was a new suffix such as '.cty', which would be expressly reserved for community councils and local authorities.

"With a Scottish domain recognised worldwide, we could start afresh," he added.

"The get-rich-quick cybersquatters would find there was no demand for their services."

Mr Reid said he hoped that, ultimately, the '.sco.uk' suffix would change if Scotland became independent.

"In the long run I would like to see a three-letter code '.sco' which would give Scotland its own global address.

"If we've got to go down an interim, devolutionary settlement with 'sco.uk', then so be it."

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See also:

11 Nov 99 | Education
School net names wrangle
15 Nov 99 | e-cyclopedia
Cybersquatting: Get off my URL
26 Jan 00 | Scotland
Firm accused of net name piracy
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