I wanted to break the veil of secrecy, so I put in a request under Ireland’s Freedom of Information Act to see files relating to the IE Domain Registry. Despite a lot of objections from UCD and the Registry, I’ve just received this ruling from the Information Commissioner confirming that I am entitled to see these files.
I’ve been working with IEwatch in calling for reform of the registry for quite some time now. I am anxious to see the registry run in a fair and above-board manner. The Department of Communications has a list as long as your arm of people who have expressed concern about the IE Domain Registry, including the Minister for Enterprise and Employment, Mary Harney. The registry is well aware of our concerns and have done absolutely nothing to address them.
IE Domain Registry Ltd. (IEDR), the company which runs the .ie domain day-to-day, and UCD refuse to provide anything but the most cursory information about its operations. This despite the fact that they acknowledge that the IE domain is a public asset.
I’ve been trying to get the files I am legally entitled to for over six months now. UCD and IEDR have obstructed me every step of the way in my Freedom of Information request. They have continuously trotted out feeble excuses as to why they won’t release this information. This has resulted in considerable expense for me and the Irish taxpayer because of the time required to file all the necessary appeals to get access. I would have preferred to negotiate directly with UCD, but I finally had to appeal to the Information Commissioner to have him investigate and decide on the matter.
Finally, on Wednesday, the Information Commissioner issued his ruling. It came down in my favour, and calls for the release of what appears to be a substantial body of documentation.
I hope that UCD and IE Domain Registry Ltd. will now allow the information to be released promptly. There is no benefit for them in taking court action to prevent the files being released – they would have to make that appeal on a point of law, and the character of the ruling would appear to make that difficult -.
Below is the decision letter I received from the Information Commissioner. It’s worth reading the reasons UCD and IEDR said justifying refusing access, including ‘prejudicial pre-trial publicity’, ‘prejudicial media comment’, and that the information ‘may revive the media campaign previously directed against the company’. The Information commissioner did not accept these as sufficient grounds for refusal.