Message from the Commissioner
The .nz online community needs to be aware that there are individuals who will use the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out to trick and manipulate people into revealing their personal information and financial details.
We are working with other online harm prevention agencies such as CERTNZ, Netsafe, and the Department of Internal Affairs to disrupt fake people operating in the .nz domain name space.
As we did during the first COVID-19 lockdown we are actively monitoring the .nz domain name space and receiving reports of problems from the public and agencies. We are calling on the public to alert us to any COVID-19 related domains for data validation.
We are watching with interest the passage of the Online Film Video and Classification Act which will empower the Censor with takedown requests for content. The Bill has been referred to a select committee.
Last month the team was proud to announce winning the 2021 Employer of Choice Award Not for Profit or Public Sector category and an Excellence Award in the less than 200 staff category at the Human Resources Directors Awards. The awards reveal New Zealand’s top-ranking employers in terms of the overall experience for employees. The recognition has been celebrated by everyone at the Commission and we are looking forward to continuing to thrive and be known as a great workplace.
Update for consumers
.nz policy review update
The review of the .nz policies, which set the rules for the registration and management of .nz domains, is continuing. In September 2020, the Advisory Panel’s recommendations were received and InternetNZ has issued re-written rules this month.
Consultation on those draft rules is now being undertaken with submissions due by 2 April 2021.
Update for industry
Registrar Advisory Group update
The nomination period closed on Feb 9. As only three nominations were received, no election was held. We are now happy to announce three direct appointments as follows.
Prudence Malinki, Senior Manager Global Industry Relations at MarkMonitor.
Shaun Fisher, Operations Manager at Vetta Online Ltd.
Johan Olivier, Technical Operations Manager at Freeparking Group.
We would like to congratulate them all and we look forward to the first RAG meeting and to everyone’s great contribution.
Remember, you can still attend a RAG meeting even if you are not a RAG member as long as you are a .nz authorized registrar.
The Commission is closely following two significant proposed law reforms.
The first is a proposed New Zealand statute which will provide for the urgent classification of certain objectionable material by the Chief Censor and will also create a system for the ‘take down’ of objectionable material following notice from an Inspector of Classifications. (The full title of the Bill is quite a mouthful; the Films, Videos, and Publications Classifications (Urgent Classification of Publications and Prevention of Online Harm) Amendment Bill which had its first reading in Parliament on 11 February 2021.)
The take down notices will be issued to the ‘online content host’. If the host does not comply, the notices can be enforced against the host in the District Court and a maximum penalty of a $200,000 fine can be imposed. The Bill also enables the establishment of regulations to implement web filtering of objectionable material if required in the future.
The second proposed law reform is the European Commission’s proposed Digital Services Act. Its objective is to protect Internet Users living in the EU from being exposed to illegal content. A wide range of initiatives are proposed. There is a sliding scale of obligations based on the different entities’ perceived role, size, and impact in the online ‘ecosystem’. It is proposed that ‘Intermediary services’ (which include domain name registrars) will have different (less) obligations than large online platforms.
For more reading see The Digital Services Act: ensuring a safe and accountable online environment | European Commission (europa.eu)
Data verification and validation
Over the last two months, the Commission has suspended a total of 102 domains, where registrants did not validate their registrant information when contacted. This is an increase of 55% for the same period last year.
We verify .nz registrant information to ensure these do not breach .nz policies.
Recently we have had several banking domain name scams reported to us which we have urgently suspended. Please contact your bank if you receive a suspicious email from them. (If contact details have been provided on the suspicious email do not use them or reply)
How to keep your .nz domain name safe
With the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, we are seeing a spike in .nz domain name registrations as more businesses make a move online. So it is important, now more than ever, to understand what you can do to protect your .nz domain name.
Security the Biggest Challenge in Domain Management as 2020 Recorded Rise in Domain-Related Cyber Attacks, Says New Clarivate Report
Clarivate released a new report that explores the role of domains in IP management as well as the most significant domain challenges in 2020 and beyond. ‘2021 Global Business Survey: The growing role of domains in IP’ surveyed IT, legal, and marketing decision-makers worldwide and revealed a third of organizations suffered a cyber attack on their domains last year. Domain security is cited as the biggest challenge in domain management by over half (56%) of all respondents.