Nominet scales back security features as new .uk domain consultation launched

Internet registration group responds to proposal criticisms

Nominet has renewed its efforts to introduce the .uk domain following a wave of criticism in a public consultation.

The non-profit company which governs the UK internet infrastructure has opened a new consultation on the introduction of a .uk second level domain, offering website owners the opportunity to replace their existing third level domains, such as, and

Nominet believes that the introduction of 1,000 new top level domains in 2014 will drive demand among businesses and customers which it says are keen to use the shorter .uk suffix.

However, an initial consultation launched last year resulted in over a thousand respondents providing feedback as proposals were rejected, and plans were subsequently halted.

Some of the problems cited included concerns over the price of migration, while others believed that introduction of additional security features for those migrating to .uk, such as Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC), would create a disparity in the level of support being given to those not inclined to pay for a second level domain.

In addition there were demands that registrants with existing third level domain names should be given first refusal for securing the same site name when moving from to .uk domain.

These issues have since been addressed, Nominet says, and proposal changes will be included in the new consultation which runs until 23 September 2013.

One of the main changes to the proposals is to enable a 'right of refusal' for site owners wanting to move to the second level domain and keep their site name, in the event of competing claims. Existing site owners will now be able to move to the same domain name at the second level for the first six months from the launch of the .uk domain.

Nominet said that it will seek to increase data checks on new all new registrations, ensuring that an authentic physical business address is used by those registering new sites. However, companies operating outside of the UK will not need to provide proof of a presence in the UK, though will have to provide some form of registered address.

However plans to beef up security in order to deal with 'man in the middle' or spoofing attacks on domains, such as, will be abandoned. While Nominet will continue to promote the use of DNSSEC to enhance security among website owners, it will not be made mandatory. Other features such as malware scanning will also be optional.

The removal of security features has also helped address concerns over cost, and the proposed wholesale cost for a registration has fallen to £5.50 per year as a result.

"We original proposed that we would bundle features such as mandatory DNSSEC, and we also said we would bundle some sort of malware advisory service, as well as a trust mark," said Nominet chief technology officer, Simon McCalla. "We listened to a lot of feedback where people said that they liked those features, but they were worried that it might segregate .uk from, and somehow devalue the space. They would prefer if security features were optional and available to all.

"So apart from the validation and verification, we have pulled out specific security features from the new consultation, and have said we will not be bundling additional security features. What we will do is continue to encourage the take up of DNSSEC, which will help prevent 'man in the middle attacks', or spoofing attacks of domains."

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