The UK government has revealed that it is "not aware" of any recognition that Nominet can make judgements on Domain names in the UK, claims CyberBritain.com.
Founder of CyberBritain Benjamin Cohen used the Freedom of Information Act (2000) to check what Nominet's legal status in making decisions in cases such as this one, and whether such decisions are legally binding.
Nominet not official says DTI
The government's information contrasts sharply with Nominet's claimed status: "Nominet is officially recognised as the .uk domain name registry by the Internet industry, users and the UK Government."
The Department of Trade and Industry reports that at no point has there ever been a statutory or official recognition by the government of Nominet's position as a the sole issuer of .uk domain names to the public.
CyberBritain had intended taking Nominet's March 10 decision, which awarded ownership of the iTUnes.co.uk domain to Apple, to the High Court for Judicial Review. However, this is no longer possible, as Nominet has no public authority in the case.
Oddly, the DTI, Cabinet Office and Companies House all have representation on the Nominet Policy Advisory Board (PAB) which determines Nominet policy.
Monopoly complaint considered
Cohen said: "Nominet has always claimed to us that it is on the one hand officially recognised by government but is not a public body, meaning that its decisions would not be subject to Judicial Review.
"In my mind, this is a paradox as an official or statutory recognition of an organisation to administer what is in effect a public service would generally be subject to Judicial Review. This certainly would be the case with decisions made by Ofcom who regulate telecommunications and television."
If Nominet has no official recognition (despite civil servants being on their Policy Board) then all domain names issued by them are placed in jeopardy, CyberBritain claims.
Responding to Cohen's questions, the DTI said: "Nominet is subject to regulation under a number of general UK statutes, including those regulating competition, consumer protection, trading standards and data protection."
The company is now looking at filing a complaint that Nominet is responsible for unfair trade practice and is a monopoly with the Office of Fair Trading and the European Commission."