The Irish ccTLD manager IE Domain Registration is currently undertaking a public consultation with the goal of liberalising its rather restrictive registration policies. The consultation closes 30 September 2017 for anyone wanting to have a say.

The current policies for .ie mean individuals or businesses have to prove they have a valid claim to their desired domain name and a real, tangible connection to the island of Ireland. It’s one of the reasons .ie has one of the lowest rates of use for a ccTLD per capita in Europe.

The IEDR 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.

By removing this administrative requirement registering a .ie address will be easier and faster, and will further open up the .ie domain namespace to citizens, clubs, communities and businesses.

“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,” said David Curtin, Chief Executive of IEDR. “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.