On July 31, 2017, I had written an article “Is Net4India closing down its operations?”
At that time I had some problems and subsequently my issues were to some extent resolved. However, in recent days, I am receiving many complaints from other persons affected by similar problems.
I had recently drawn the attention of Mr Samiran Gupta through another article “Name and Shame Rogue Domain Name Registrars” in the context of preventing Phishing frauds. But I did not get any response from him.
I have now taken up the issue of Net4India again with Mr Samiran Gupta and sent him the following e-mail.
Dear Mr Samiran
As a representative of ICANN, you are aware of the importance of the reliability of domain name registrars.
ICANN provides the accreditation to registrars and public place a reliance on these registrars and commit their brands to them in the form of Domain name registrations.
If any of these registrars get into financial problems and exit from business, there is a need for ICANN to step in and ensure that public are not affected.
One such situation seems to have arisen in India with Net4India, one of the leading service providers who provide domain name registration and hosting services is apparently facing problems.
Many users have complained about not being able to transfer their domain registrations to other registrars. I have also experienced the same difficulty.
It is necessary for ICANN to work with Meity and ensure that one of the other registrars in India can take over the current domain name registrations so that customers are able to transfer them and take control of their cyber assets.
Net4India refusing to allow domain transfers should be considered as an offence under ITA 2000 (Section 66) and MeiTy should take suitable action.
I request you to initiate action in this regard immediately.
I have marked a copy to the Secretary of MeitY because this is a responsibility of Internet Governance in India. MeitY cannot remain a mute spectator to such difficulties which they have failed to address through the amendments to Information Technology Act 2000 despite Naavi pointing out to them repeatedly in the past that Domain Name Disputes need to be addressed though ITA 2000.
We know that in critical services it is important to ensure that “License to Carry on business” should be accompanied by an “Obligation to ensure that customers are not left in the lurch when the license is withdrawn or the licensee exits the business”.
For example, if an organization is a Certifying Authority for digital certificate issue, in India, while there are licensing norms which may mandate a minimum capital clause, Pre-licensing audit and approval etc, there is a condition that if the licensee withddraws from the business suitable notice has to be given so that the certificate holders are able to port their services to another licensee.
Unfortunately, ICANN did not anticipate the problem of a Registrar walking away leaving the customers in the lurch. Now it is the responsibility of ICANN to sort out this issue. Otherwise, there could be legal action against the representative of ICANN in India.
I am not however advocating any such action against the officials of ICANN since they may be acting in good faith and Net4India may be having genuine business problems.
But it is the responsibility of Mr Samiran Gupta to make necessary enquiries about Net4India, hold a dialogue with MeitY and find a solution to this problem.
The MeitY has to come up with a notification under Section 79 of ITA 2000 for the time being that
“An Intermediary who is a Registrar of Domain Names, is responsible for being held guilty for denial of service and diminishing the value of information residing inside the computer” under Section 66 of ITA 2000/8 and if he exits the business guilty of Section 65 of ITA 2000 for having deleted the “Computer Source Code” when it is required to be kept for the time being., failing which Civil and Criminal action would be launched against the Intermediary”
At the same time, ICANN under the UDRP and NIXI under INDRP should enforce “Porting” of domain names at the request of the registrants, just as they do in case of resolution of domain name disputes.
I request Mr Ravishankar Prasad, the honourable minister of IT to take up this matter on an urgent basis.
Those of you who are in Delhi and have complained about Net4India may kindly call on the Secretary MeitY and the Minister of IT and bring it to their immediate notice irrespective of the COVID related excuses any body may have.
If ICANN or MeitY is responsible, I expect a public response about this issue to Naavi.org.
I request those of you who recognize the problem to spread this message through the media/social media so that it hits the authorities loud and clear.