New Laws Regarding Criminal Activity Websites in the UK

Landing on a suspended web page, due to criminal activity in the UK, will redirect you to a consumer advice and educational page about counterfeit medicine and goods.

Suspended Domains Are Not like Expired Ones

Through a collaboration with UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), Nominet, who is in charge of domain registration in the UK, announced that it would redirect users who land on a website which was suspended because of illegal activities to a legal information page about counterfeit products.

Unlike an expired domain, a suspended one will not be allowed to be renewed. At least, not for a while as it will serve for educational purposes on illegal use of intellectual property to internet users who previously bought products on that website or just found it online.

Domains which are not renewed by their owners are a totally different thing. They are actually considered a great buy for potential new business or bloggers since they already have a notoriety attached to them and backlinks, which is one of the things that Google search engines look for when they recommend the websites in their results.

This is the first time that a national registry service takes on the responsibility of advising people on an illegal activity. Globally, some law enforcement groups already do that, like the FBI for example, which sometimes seize control of a domain’s name to inform people of the illegal activities that were taking place before they shut it down.

A Large Collaboration

This is the result of a large consultation between industry specialists as well as the authorities. In total, 64 groups were involved in the discussion on how to make online consumer safety stronger. These included the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), some law enforcement agencies, consumer interest organisations, but also the financial sector and even civil-society groups.

But at the core, this is a close collaboration between Nominet and law enforcement in order to create a safe and trusted space in the world of the UK internet community. By providing internet users with guidance pages where there were criminal e-commerce before, Nominet hopes it will educate them and make them more aware of where they buy their products in the future. It has to be reminded that buying a counterfeit item is as illegal as selling one.

The Dangers of Buying Counterfeited Products

Buying goods on a website conducting criminal activity is also a risk for the buyers’ personal information. That is another facet of the work that the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is working on when informing clients of such sites on the dangers of counterfeited goods.

The spokesperson for Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency also adds that it can be quite dangerous to someone’s health to buy counterfeit medicine. And still, according to their statistics, 10% of UK citizens have bought some at one point or another online. It insists on the fact that health is too important to risk it by buying cheaper fake medicine.

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