Search Menu
Language Menu
Mobile Menu

Public Comments on the "Consultation Paper on the Review on Administration and Assignment of Internet Domain Names and Internet Protocol Addresses in Hong Kong"


IRD's Comments on
Consultation Paper on the Review on
Administration and Assignment of Internet Domain Names and
Internet Protocol Addresses in Hong Kong

General Comments

The Role of the Registrar

1. To enable the registrar to perform its functions effectively, it must have the power to sanction uncooperative applicants and registrants, including, as a last resort, the power not to renew or even to cancel the registration of a domain name. Some of these powers may not be derived from the proposed agreement between the Government and the registrar.

Fostering Confidence in E-Commerce

2. In the virtual world of electronic commerce, the consumer is not coming face to face with the merchant. Except where the business is very well know, the customer does not have much information on who he is actually dealing with. To give consumers confidence in the system, we are of the view that the registrar of domain names should have an important role to play in ascertaining that the business and/or personal information provided by the applicants are correct, that any changes to these information are timely reported and recorded and that the latest information are available for easy retrieval by members of the public who may wish to do the verification.

Balanced Guiding Principles for Registration

3. The Task Force seems to subscribe to the argument that to facilitate the development of the Internet and electronic commerce in Hong Kong, greater flexibility should be allowed in our domain name registration system (paragraph 13 of the Paper). It has identified as one of the guiding principles for domain name registration that the application procedures should be simple to allow efficient processing (paragraph 34 of the Paper). In this connection, we are of the view that while flexibility and efficiency are important, adequate regulatory control that gives creditability to the system and improves consumer confidence is also equally vital. The right balance should be worked out so that the promotion of flexibility and efficiency would not lead to too much sacrifice in regulatory control. At the end of the day, no matter how simple and easy it is for businesses or individuals to register domain names, electronic commerce cannot really take off unless the community at large is confident that the playing field is being properly regulated and that there is a way for them to seek recourse in case something untoward should happen.

Specific Proposals

Registrar to be a Statutory Body

4. To address the concern in paragraph 1 above, we propose that, in the long run, it is more desirable for the registrar to be set up as a statutory body with full legal backing of its work. This is the only way to ensure that the domain registration functions can be carried out efficiently and effectively.

Disclosure of Essential Information

5. We would propose that consideration should be given to require all .hk companies to display vital business information such as their business names, business addresses and business registration numbers, etc. prominently on their web pages for ease of identification. In this regard, we note the Task Force's view that initially only companies and organizations registered or incorporated in Hong Kong should be allowed to register domain names ending with .hk. As these Hong Kong companies/organizations would be required to display their business registration certificates when trading in the real world, why should they be allowed not to display the same particulars on their web pages when trading on the Internet?

6. As an alternative to the proposal in paragraph 5 above, we propose the domain name registrar to include in the public domain search database the same vital business information as mentioned above for .hk companies, viz. the business names, business addresses and business registration numbers, etc. This will boost the confidence of the e-customers.

Tightening of Registration Procedures

7. To address the concern in paragraph 3 above, we propose the domain name registrar to tighten the registration procedures. In particular, it should always insist on the submission of a copy of the valid business registration certificate before the registration of a .hk company can be effected. As for individuals that are proposed to be registered under a new second-level domain category, the registrar should also ensure that they are not carrying on businesses, e.g. by asking the applicant to make a declaration to such effect when applying for registration.

8. The above proposal is not meant to complicate the registration procedures nor to impose a restrictive registration policy [paragraph 43 of the Paper]. Instead, the procedures will be more or less the same as those presently in force except that they will be more strictly enforced.

- END -