The people in charge of the UK’s internet address book are proposing a new shorter naming protocol for British websites which they say will offer better security online.
Nominet is a not for profit company which as the .uk domain name registry regulates all web addresses ending in .uk. Until now all .uk addresses were third level domains, with the familiar abbreviations like .co.uk, .ac.uk, or .org.uk.
Now Nominet is consulting on dropping that third level part of web addresses in favour of a simple .uk.
It may seem a rather academic discussion, after all what’s in a name. But Nominet says that the new addresses will allow them to introduce more security measures and ensure that websites who register them will have a real off line UK presence.
Nominet says it will scan all .uk websites for malware and viruses and give them a domain name system security extensions (a digital signature) that will assure browsers that they are looking at a genuine site.
Site owners who are notified of malicious software in their web space and who do nothing about it could have their registrations suspended.
National boundaries will be enforced with good old snail mail playing a part in the registration process to ensure that .uk registered sites have – at least – a valid UK address. That’s important because Nominet’s research found that 80% of us try to use .uk sites for transactions when at the moment they could be run from offices in Timbuktu or Tehran.
Current owners of .uk address won’t be forced to drop their .co or .org immediately. But if the change goes ahead Nominet is likely to want the whole .uk web to migrate to the shorter naming system in time.
At the moment the wholesale cost of a Nominet address is £5 for two years. That’s likely to increase to – if reports are to be believed – as much as £20 a year.
Nominet is consulting on the changes until January 7, 2013 and you can have your say at their website.
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