Public consultation on the liberalisation of .ie domain registration and naming policy will end this week at midnight on 30 September, the IE Domain Registry (IEDR), the company responsible for managing and maintaining Ireland’s country domain name, .ie, has confirmed.

The company is encouraging any individual, business or organisation to have their say on the proposed change before the deadline.

Currently, to register a .ie domain name, an individual or business must prove that they have a valid claim to the desired name and a real and substantive connection to the island of Ireland.

IEDR’s proposal is to retain the requirement for registrants to prove their connection to Ireland, but drop the need to prove a valid claim to the name. If the policy change is approved, any individual or business with a provable connection to Ireland will be able to register a .ie domain name on a first-come, first-served basis.

Commenting, David Curtin, Chief Executive of IEDR, said: “By removing this administrative requirement, registering a .ie address will be easier and faster, especially for new start-ups, and will further open up the .ie domain namespace to citizens, residents, clubs, communities and businesses.”

If passed, Mr Curtin said that while it would be more straightforward to register a .ie domain, the .ie namespace would remain protected and ‘identifiably Irish’.

“Unlike a .com address, where the registration is immediate and unchecked, every .ie registrant will still need to prove their link to Ireland before their application is approved, so for individuals, this would involve photo identification, like an Irish passport. This process drastically reduces the chances of fraudsters and phishers using a .ie address for criminal purposes. It’s simply too much effort and expense for them, and too easy to get caught out.

“Protecting .ie domain holders has always been IEDR’s first and foremost priority, and that has not changed. Together with industry channel partners, law enforcement and regulatory agencies, we already have in place many protections to safeguard the .ie namespace against hacking and malware hosting, and we are constantly updating our own technology and best practice to ensure that the .ie namespace remains secure.

“In instances where consumers believe that a .ie domain has been unfairly or improperly registered by a third party, or where it impinges on a brand or IP right, perhaps for the sole purpose of ‘brand cyber-squatting’, IEDR operates an independent dispute resolution service.”

The domain liberalisation policy change has already been approved-in-principle by IEDR’s Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) and other key .ie domain stakeholders, and by the IEDR Board of Directors. Subject to final consensus following this public consultation, it is envisaged that the policy change will come into force in early 2018.

Members of the public interested in submitting their opinions on IEDR’s proposal should visit http://www.iedr.ie/public-consultation by 30 September.

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