Nominet consultation on .UK

http://www.cobrasoft.beNominet, the body that administers the .UK country code, is holding an EGM later this month to decide on its future governance structure. As my old colleague Kieren McCarthy points out, the proposals include “a larger Board, lower voting thresholds, explicitly recognising that Nominet has a “public purpose”, giving the Board the right to set pricing, and a promise to review the organisation’s current membership setup to pull in more of the Internet community into its decisions.” These are all very good things.

Nominet has been through the wars in the past couple of years, with the biggest battles provoked by domainers (bulk commercial buyers of domain name registrations) trying to take over the Board of what is essentially a public interest organisation. (Like all fights, it’s a lot more complicated than that. Kieren wrote about the power struggle last year.) DTI, now known as BERR, was alarmed and threatened to take it over altogether. A big part of the problem is that there’s a very low bar for voting rights – basically anyone who does bulk registration of names – and so turnout is low, meaning capture by self-interested groups is distressingly easy. The changes being proposed at the EGM would address this. But they need to be voted in…

Please do head over to Nominet and inform yourself about these issues. Full disclosure: Through my work with ICANN (where I finished up last month), I got to know some of the Nominet team and think they’re doing a good job in difficult circumstances.

Re-posted from the Crooked Timber blog. To take part in the discussion, visit this post’s permalink on Crooked Timber.

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