topDNS Best Practice Series Part 2: Standards and Frameworks for Evidencing Abuse Online

The topDNS Best Practice Webinar on “Standards and Frameworks for Evidencing Abuse Online” was held as part two of the series on 13 July 2023. This webinar was hosted by:

Lars Steffen, Director International at the eco Association, warmly welcomed the participants and introduced Jeffrey Bedser, CEO of Clean DNS, as the speaker for the webinar. Lars Steffen also took the opportunity to remind participants of the upcoming part three of the series, scheduled for August, and encouraged them to register and attend.

During the webinar, Bedser outlined the critical importance of addressing online abuse and provided a detailed exploration of standards of evidence. He emphasised the need for standardised frameworks that define the level of evidence required to take appropriate action against abusive domains. Explaining the concepts of evidence and proof, Bedser advocated the use of standardised formats, such as the Abuse Reporting Format (ARF), to streamline the reporting process and facilitate the validation of increasing levels of evidence through collaboration within the system. Several examples of evidence of abuse for different types of crime, such as scams, fraud, and human trafficking, were presented to illustrate the far-reaching impact of online abuse. Jeff concluded his presentation by emphasising the urgent need for standardised evidence practices to enable rapid correlation and mitigation of abusive domains.

During the subsequent discussion, Bedser addressed various topics raised by the audience. They shed light on NetBeacon, an abuse reporting tool designed to assist users in submitting well-evidenced abuse reports. Incentives to report abuse were explored, as were the challenges of correlating reports and losses across jurisdictions. The importance of timely reporting and the value of well- evidenced reports in expediting takedowns were noted. In addition, the nuanced boundaries between abuse, harm and trademark infringement were addressed, highlighting the need to reduce barriers to reporting, including the provision of anonymous reporting options.

Overall, the topDNS Best Practice Webinar provided valuable insights into the standards and frameworks for evidencing abuse online. Jeffrey Bedser’s comprehensive presentation highlighted the importance of evidence in effectively fighting DNS abuse and the need for standardised approaches. The ensuing discussion highlighted notable initiatives such as NetBeacon and the value of collaborative efforts to fight online abuse more effectively.

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