Register.SI, the Registry responsible for running the Slovenian .SI country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), has recently reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring “stable, safe and reliable operations” under the .SI domain space and under the General Terms and Conditions for Domain Name Registration Under .SI (GTC) and reaffirmed that .SI domain name holders are prevented from registering a .SI domain name which is “contrary to the law, public order and morals”. Nevertheless, the Registry has pointed out that monitoring or assessing the legality of online content is not its responsibility.
Register.SI emphasised in a recent blog post that there is a difference between a domain name and the published content on the website under a .SI domain name. Specifically, that the content has no connection with the “admissibility or legality of the domain name itself“. Simply put, the domain name is only the address where the content is hosted. As such, it is possible for a domain name to fully comply with the GTC, while the actual content of the website (for example, a fake web shop) is illegal. The opposite can also be true, i.e. the domain name may conflict with the law (for example, a domain name comprising of a racist term or phrase), but resolve to a website hosting innocuous content.
However, Register.SI cannot remove inappropriate or illegal content online. Such content can only be removed by the “content provider or hosting provider” and only the appropriate competent judicial authorities can determine whether the content is illegal. If Register.SI is notified of any “irregularities” with regards to inaccurate domain name holder data, it can, with the cooperation of the relevant domain name registrar, request that the holder data be “corrected or complemented or that the data be proved to be correct“. Unsurprisingly, fraudsters do not usually respond to such requests and in such instances the domain name will be deactivated in line with the GTC. However, this does not mean that the domain name is deleted, rather it means deleting the domain name servers for that domain name, which in turn simply means that the domain name no longer works and does not resolve to the live website.
The GTC requires domain name holders to keep their data up to date and accurate at all times. Nevertheless, Register.SI inevitably finds individuals who have registered a .SI domain name for malicious or fraudulent reasons and, as such, have registered it using false information in order to conceal their true identity. In order to combat this problem, Register.SI has introduced a number of procedures in order to verify the data of domain name holders. These include, “manual verification of randomly selected domain name holders, machine-based verification by keywords, responses to reports of potential misuse, etc.”
Register.SI, like other domain name Registries, experiences the registration of malicious domains and the creation of fake or malicious online websites. Such occurrences often come in waves, and again, like other domain name Registries, the Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to malicious and fraudulent .SI domain name registrations and related web sites. According to Register.SI more than 100 .SI domain names were deactivated in May 2020 because they were registered for the purpose of setting up fake or malicious online “web shops”.