Nominet is starting a three-month consultation on issuing domain names directly under the .uk TLD. According to Eleanor Bradley, Nominet’s Director of Operations, this development will allow new companies to purchase domain names (presumably because the .co.uk is in the hands of cyber squatters), and also be more secure by checking that the registrant has a UK address and providing daily monitoring for malicious software on the domain (presumably they mean associated web site here).
Nominet is justifying this because they say their new domain space will help to guard the UK against cyber crime, which costs the UK £27B per year.
Nominet is supposed to ensure that UK registrants are okay in any case – although it’s currently based on public complains when an anomaly is found. Their claim about ensuring that such web sites will be monitored and malware free is just about the craziest promise Nominet could be making. Whoever dreamt this up clearly has no idea about the risks and mechanisms that are used to pervert web sites for malware delivery – there is no way Nominet can check.
What I’ve heard so far is just another scheme for Nominet and cyber squatters (or domainers as they prefer to be called) to make more money. Nominet should be concentrating on the interests of Internet users in the UK, not “vibrant domain name spaces”, which basically means people trading in domain names as a commodity.