Tighter registration procedures introduced for '.sg' domain names


The Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC) has introduced a pilot scheme, called VerifiedID@SG, to improve the data integrity of the WHOIS records for ‘.sg’ domain names and to combat cases of identity theft and fake identities being used when registering ‘.sg’ domain names.

The SGNIC domain name registration policy requires that the administrative contact for a domain name registration under ‘.sg’ be based in Singapore. However, it appears that many domain name registrants were using false details when registering domain names.

From the beginning of May 2013, all new domain name registrations under ‘.sg’ are required to undergo verification of the domain name registrant's details.

The purpose of VerifiedID@SG is to identify the domain name registrant through the administrative contact. If the domain name administrative contact is a named individual, they will be required to log into the VerifiedID@SG portal within 21 days of the domain name being registered using their SingPass ID (Singapore Personal Access). SingPass is a commonly held password used by Singapore citizens and permanent Singapore residents, to interact with various government online services.

Once the administrative contact has accessed VerifiedID@SG, it must confirm that the identity and contact information of the domain name registrant is genuine. If the verification process is not completed within the 21-day period, the domain name will be suspended by SGNIC. According to SGNIC, the verification process should take a matter of minutes. By following this process, the administrative contact of the domain name is tacitly confirming that it has carried out sufficient checks on the veracity of the registrants details. In effect, SGNIC have shifted the responsibility of ensuring genuine registrant details are being used onto the administrative contact for domain name registrations. Should the administrative contact be unable to demonstrate that it has carried out sufficient checks on registrants, then the administrative contact will be called upon by the relevant authorities to assist in investigations into domain names that are being used for illegal or fraudulent purposes.

SGNIC have confirmed that, at this point of time, it has no intention of applying VerifiedID@SG retrospectively to existing domain name registrations. However, SGNIC has stated that it will consider on a case-by-case basis whether the identity of a registrant of a domain name registered prior to May 2013 will need to be verified.

It will be interesting to see whether the pilot scheme will eventually be fully implemented by SGNIC and what impact it will have on the volume of ‘.sg’ domain names being registered.

David Taylor, Tony Vitali and Daniel Madden, Hogan Lovells LLP, Paris

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