UK.gov tells domain industry to get its house in order
Oh no! Here comes the government...
A day after Nominet decided to sue one of its own directors, a senior civil servant warned that the domain industry must be better behaved to avoid government intervention.
Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform official David Hendon was speaking on Wednesday at the not-for-profit's annual registrars' meeting, where recent infighting over the future of the .uk registry took top billing. He said Nominet and the domain industry need to take more heed of the government agenda on phishing, spam and "bad content".
Hendon said: "These are all internet problems and [internet users] think someone should do something about it. Although many internet users think the government should keep out of the internet, I suggest to you that most ordinary people who just use the internet like they use the banking system or the trains think that the government should make sure it all works properly for them and that bad things get stopped from happening."
In response to a worried letter from Hendon, Nominet will imminently appoint an independent reviewer to examine whether its corporate structure is able to represent government and wider concerns, as well as those of its members. A boardroom split has emerged in recent weeks; two elected non-executive directors have called for the CEO Lesley Cowley and Chairman Bob Gilbert to resign, saying the views of members on issues such as pricing are not properly considered and alleging mismanagement of discipline and executive pay.
Hendon said: "It is hard to find another example like the DNS where such a vital aspect of the critical national infrastructure is left in the hands of a private company which is unlicensed and unregulated. I have to say that my searchlight has swept round to Nominet because I am not certain that my previous confidence in the way the board runs the company will continue to be well founded in the future."
It is assumed by many in the domain industry, including Nominet's dissident non-executive directors Angus Hanton (who resigned last week) and Jim Davies, that the government wants to install its people on the board. Hendon denied any such desire. "This is certainly not what I am thinking. My sincere hope is that Bob Gilbert will tell me that any problems can be resolved by the company for the company," he said.
Following a meeting of the board, Nominet said on Tuesday it would take legal action against Jim Davies, alleging that he had failed in his duties as a director by not resolving conflicts of interest arising from his day job as a solicitor for domain industry companies. It said it was "taking steps to commence legal proceedings against Jim Davies" on advice from lawyers that his alleged conflicts of interests were a breach of the Companies Act.
Davies told The Register: "I was only given one working day to respond to a threat of litigation. I responded by saying I needed a reasonable amount of time to get advice.
"I also said that the proper way to deal with the alleged conflicts was to put it to the membership to decide, in a motion under s180 of the Companies Act. That is the prescribed and proper way to deal with this issue." He said he had not received a reply.
Cowley and Gilbert have rejected the calls for their resignations, and also rejected a further call from Andrew Bennett, an elected member of Nominet's Policy Advisory Board, to hold an Emergency General Meeting.
In a telephone interview after his speech, Hendon said he expects Nominet to present the findings of its structural review to him once it is completed at Christmas and that he hopes Nominet's members will accept its recommendations. "This is about the development of self regulation and being more responsible," he said.
"The problem with the internet is that it evolves so quickly it's impossible for the government to effectively regulate. This is not a fashionable position within government. Many [ministers] are not knowledgeable about how the internet works." ®
Even if i'm german...
"It is hard to find another example like the DNS where such a vital aspect of the critical national infrastructure is left in the hands of a private company which is unlicensed and unregulated.""
That's what sums up how much government sceemes to understand when they hear "internet".
Do they realy think that the internet is their own, national structure? A vital one?
I realy support the view that all they try to do is to install governmental controll in the most critical point of the internet, the domain name serveices.
So let me just think about what might come next...
Maybe restrictions of non-governmental chats, blogs, sites?
Or just restricting some russian pages or servers?
We have a regulatory system in Companies House. If people have limited companies then they are entitled to a ltd.uk domain name which are regulated. The names of the directors are available online.
It's the perception of the Internet by the general public that's the problem. When I first got onto Compuserve everything I saw came from Compuserve. We not entirely, it was it's members that posted things and Compuserve ran it. When I discovered that I could get on the Internet via Compuserve I was amazed that Compuserve could provide all this. It dawned on me that the Internet connected thousands (in those days) of servers provided by different people for their own reasons.
The Internet is unlike anything else we experience in the world. Not so much in it's technology since the phone system, Newspapers, TV and Radio and postal service serve perfectly well for carrying information. No, it's the Freedom the Internet has provided which is the bit that people can't fathom.
Surely this much freedom can't be for real? Surely I can't do my own website or write a message on a blog that can be seen by anyone and everyone? Well we can for a while but of course people will want it regulated just like the banks, the railways and the TV. Once that happens it will be just like them.
No Guts.... No Glory ...... The New Labour Years in a Soundbite [AIReverberating Byte]
"They don't, however, possess the technical ability at top level, so will almost certainly try to dictate policy from a point of ignorance. What you will probably get is a HMG Nominet that would produce something akin to Chinese style control or, at the very least, yet another attempt to shaft the British public for the latest scam... er... public project." .... By Chika Posted Saturday 22nd November 2008 15:29 GMT
QuITe so, Chika. Another attempt at shafting by a governement with no talent for IT. They will be easy prey and tasty carrion to they whom they would cross.
"It has never been good at covering up the idea that it doesn't like a medium that can be openly critical of it with no censorship or the like." ..... The Great Debate messageboard on the BBC was removed for that very same reason. Its Free Speech Components/Proponents and their Incisive Inconvenient Open Questions were Far Too Powerful for its Spinners to Win over with their Patent Nonsense.
It is an Elementary Primary Class Lesson which the Headless Chickens Wing of Westminster and Downing Street still have not Learnt. That marks them out as requiring Special Needs Schooling to deal with their Intellectual Dysfunction/Impairment/Deficit.
And now the BBC is their tired old tart/useless eunuch, which is probably also an accurate reflection on its Board/Trustees too.
And this Registered comment on such matters are valid for all message boards/comments threads ...... "Frankly the loss of the any BBC messageboard is no loss at all. Messageboards are only useful when posters can make free and frank contributions. The BBC censors allow neither." .... By Eponymous Cowherd Posted Monday 19th May 2008 14:29 GMT ... http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/19/today_programme_message_board/comments/