Wednesday, January 30, 2008

NiRA relaxes guidelines on Diaspora registrants

President, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), Mr. Ndukwe Kalu, has said that the group would relax the aspect of the policy guidelines that stipulated that domain registrants must be resident in the country.

Disclosing this in an exclusive chat with Champion Infotel in Lagos, Mr. Kalu said this decision was taken by the group to avail Nigerians in Diaspora the opportunity to adequately tap into the nation’s Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD).

According to him, Nigerians in Diaspora have domains running into millions and by insisting that they must reside in the country to be able to incorporate .ng in their domain names is practically asking them to stay away.

He pointed out that NiRA has concluded strategies to contain Nigerians in Diaspora as far as ownership of domain names are concerned.

Mr. Kalu underscored the fact that domain names are not owned by individuals but are licensed for use.

In a related development, NiRA has released the first batch of policies to guide its operations, thereby inviting comments on the proposed 13-policy documents to usher in its mandate.

Champion Infotel recalls that NiRA and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), an agency for the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST), fortnight ago signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the official handover of the management of the nation’s Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD).

Mr. Kalu explained that the group is seeking comments on the 13-policy documents to facilitate the formal commencement of activities after the MoU signing was completed.

He added that the first sets of policies are domain related which are 11 in number, including, policy development process, domain name policy, special domain name policy, fees policy, privacy policy and dispute resolution policy.

Others, he said, are policies on general registration rules, Registrant Agreement, registrar agreement, registrar accreditation process and glossary as contained in the policy documents.

Additionally, he said that there exist two policy documents explicitly structured to ensure good corporate governance in management of NiRA.

Meanwhile, Google, a global free-to-serve Internet Service Provider (ISP), has disagreed with the European Union (EU) view over the status of ownership concerning Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.

Whereas EU official was reported as raising the prospect that IP addresses could be counted as personal data, the Internet firm, Google is thinking the opposite, maintaining that it’s not a personal data.

Speaking at a hearing examining Google’s planned acquisition of DoubleClick, Peter Schaar, the German data protection commissioner and chairman of the Europe-wide privacy group, the Article 29 Committee, said that if a person could be identified by an IP address, then that address is private, reports Paul Meller of International Data Group (IDG) news service.

Also the report has it that the rule has been in existence in most countries in the EU for more than 10 years.

However, it is hard to set a clear-cut rule because some ISPs gave out fresh IP addresses to subscribers each time they go online and people also buy time online at Internet cafes.

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