Tuesday, 31 May 2016 01:57

New EU Proposal May Mean Powers Of A Foreign EU Country To Suspend Your Domain Name

This one seemed to slip out unnoticed last week or two, except for a few techies who flagged it up as being massively important. Scratch that, it's bloody horrifying. The EU is making a power grab for the control of the internet, by suspending, or blocking traffic to and from some domain names.

It's not often techies get a bit panicked, this one seems to have them all united in speaking out. The tope and bottom of it seems to be this. If this proposal passes, tithout a UK court getting involved, UK sites can be brought offline by judges in another country. It won't matter that the host is in the United States, they could get BT or Virgin to block traffic to it from the UK. 

http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2016/EN/1-2016-283-EN-F1-1.PDF

Whilst on first site it appears that the powers that the EU now want are only being targeted at counterfeiters, rogues etc. The proposal could in effect take a swing at those sites that ignore Court orders, for example Super Injunctions.

Page 18 - (Para 12)

In the digital environment in particular, the competent authorities should be able to stop infringements quickly and effectively, notably where the trader selling goods or services conceals its identity or relocates within the Union or to a third country to avoid enforcement. In cases where there is a risk of serious and irreparable harm to consumers, the competent authorities should to be able to adopt interim measures to prevent such harm or reduce it, including, where necessary, the suspension of a website, domain or a similar digital site, service or account. Furthermore, the competent authorities should have the power to take down or have a third party service provider take down a website, domain or a similar digital site, service or account, 

Now the document does say "notably", but sure as hell doesn't say "exclusively". We are no lawyers over here but that looks as though it gives them a lot of areas to cover.

Page 26 (Para 2-b)

require the supply by any natural or legal person, including banks, internet service providers, domain registries and registrars and hosting service providers of any relevant information, data or document in any format or form and irrespective of the medium on which or the place where they are stored, for the purpose of among others identifying and following financial and data flows, or of ascertaining the identity of persons involved in financial and data flows, bank account information and ownership of websites; 

This seems to be saying that a third party Country can now demands your service provider turns over personal details

Page 26 (Para 2- L)

close down a website, domain or similar digital site, service or account or a part of it, including by requesting a third party or other public authority to implement such measures;

I have to be honest here, I haven't had chance to go through it all myself in much detail yet, it's late. What I have seen is very worrying indeed. They seem to be trying to get the power for the Courts in one Country to close down or block websites that are legally operating in another Country. For example, the High Court could ask a French hosting company to close down any website mentioning a super injunction case. A French Court could do the same to a UK website.

Scary times that are creeping up on us.