Government Tightens Grip on .al Domains

In a decision from June 4, the Electronic and Postal Communications Authority (AKEP) has introduced several changes to Regulation no. 2 “Concerning the registration and management of the domain names under .al,,,,,, and” According to the changes in the regulation, which were flagged as unconstitutional by the NGO Albanian Institute of Science (AIS), private owners of .al domain will only be allowed to maintain a maximum of 5 subdomains, while companies will only be allowed 15.

According to AIS, which manages a large number of subdomains under all containing freely accessible data tracking the functioning of the government, the limitation introduced by AKEP in the regulation is unconstitutional, as such a limitation can only be made through a new law.

Although AIS filed their concerns with the changes in the regulation during the public consultation period in February 2018, they were not taken into account. According to AIS, “The regulation creates a context for censorship by obligating users of .al domain to limit the number of domains they operate.

AKEP has in the past been used by the government as a censorship organ. Most recently, AKEP illegally blocked access to the website, which had published several satirical takes on the Rama government.