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Anything that Ends in .com Seizable by US Government

Last week, US authorities shut down a Canadian-run website that ends with the TLD (top-level domain) ".com", raising eyebrows. It appears that the US is staking claim to the ".com" TLD, letting the authorities seize any ".com" domain, even of websites that are not American. Internet infrastructure company EasyDNS, in its latest blog post, said "[the] ramifications of this are no less than chilling and every single organization branded or operating under .com, .net, .org, .biz etc. needs to ask themselves about their vulnerability to the whims of U.S. federal and state lawmakers."

This latest controversy highlights how "the U.S. continues to hold over key components of the global domain name system, and rips a Band-Aid off a historic sore point for other nations," Wired commented. It also strengthens the case for non-American businesses and internet companies to opt for local TLDs (eg: ".co.uk", ".de", ".in", etc.,). Naming yourself "Dotcom" isn't such a bright idea, either.

Source: Wired, Image Courtesy: VegasDomain.org

Congress Debates SOPA, Hypocritically Downloads Illegally Itself

Almost everyone who understands something about technology will have heard of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) (H.R.3261) currently being debated in the U.S. House. This is internet censorship legislation by any other name and anyone that doesn't have a vested interest in it like the big media cartels is against it. This is because it hands almost total control of the internet to powerful (read: money) special interest groups, allowing them to shut down websites at the mere whiff of an accusation of 'piracy', however small and however unfounded. This will easily ruin many legitimate businesses, all on the pretext of 'protecting copyright' from supposed 'financial losses' due to content 'theft'. It also does an awful lot of other things, all of them bad, which are fully detailed in the link above. Now, if anyone thinks that this is far-fetched, just look at how the current 'darling' of the internet, GoDaddy operates: they pulled the DNS records of weebly.com, because of one little complaint against the site and without even contacting the domain owner first to advise of the situation. Disgraceful. Give them SOPA and a webmaster doesn't stand a chance, regardless of their size.

The GoDaddy Boycott: It Worked

The GoDaddy boycott over their support of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) legislation, which took effect today, appears to have worked. The initial fallout over GoDaddy's support for it, resulted in a furious backpedal and then a bit of dirty tricks to stop customers leaving. However, this backpedal stopped short of actually criticising it. The boycott, called by a user on Reddit and aided by Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, appears to have focused GoDaddy's mind on what's right and what's wrong. They have finally given us that criticism of SOPA that they should have made in the first place, as CEO Warren Adelman, said in this statement:
We have observed a spike in domain name transfers, which are running above normal rates and which we attribute to GoDaddy's prior support for SOPA, which was reversed. GoDaddy opposes SOPA because the legislation has not fulfilled its basic requirement to build a consensus among stake-holders in the technology and Internet communities. Our company regrets the loss of any of our customers, who remain our highest priority, and we hope to repair those relationships and win back their business over time.
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