Over 28,000 .uk domain names were suspended in the last year over reports of criminal activity. Nominet, which is responsible for keeping the .uk internet infrastructure secure, can suspend domains following notification from the police or other law enforcement agencies that the domain is being used for criminal activity.
Domains that are suspended cannot be used as part of website or email addresses.
The number of domains suspended between 1 November 2018 and 31 October 2019 was actually slightly lower than in the previous year -- 28,937 compared to 32,813. This represents around 0.22% of the 13 million-plus .uk domains currently registered and was the first time suspensions had fallen since 2014, Nominet said.
Nominet said it had received requests to suspend domains from five different agencies: the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), which co-ordinates requests relating to IP infringements, made 28,606 requests followed by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (178), Trading Standards (90), the Financial Conduct Authority (48) and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (31).
Requests for suspension can be made under a range of legislation including:
- Fraud Act 2006
- Trade Marks Act 1994
- Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
- Human Medicines Regulations 2012
- Medical Device Regulations 2002
- Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
- The Electronic Commerce Regulations 2002
- The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013
- Financial Services and Markets Act 2000
The number of requests that didn't result in a suspension was 16 -- down from 114 in the previous year. Only five suspensions were reversed; this usually happens if the offending behaviour has stopped and the enforcing agency has since confirmed that the suspension can be lifted.
Nominet's anti-phishing initiative that suspends suspicious domains at the point of registration saw another 2,668 domains suspended. Domain names blocked at this stage by Nominet include ones misusing the names of big banks, tax authorities and big tech companies. Of those suspended, only 274 passed Nominet's additional due diligence.
Detective Constable Weizmann Jacobs of the City of London Police's Intellectual Property Crime Unit said: "By collaborative working, we can help protect consumers from the dangers of counterfeit goods and safeguard their personal information when shopping online. When consumers purchase from illicit sites, they are unknowingly handing over their personal and payment details to criminals who often use these to commit further crime."