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Countries Don't Own Their Internet Domains, ICANN Says 113

Posted by timothy
from the do-they-meta-own-them? dept.
angry tapir writes The Internet domain name for a country doesn't belong to that country — nor to anyone, according to ICANN. Plaintiffs who successfully sued Iran, Syria and North Korea as sponsors of terrorism want to seize the three countries' ccTLDs (country code top-level domains) as part of financial judgments against them. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees the Internet, says they can't do that because ccTLDs aren't even property.
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Countries Don't Own Their Internet Domains, ICANN Says

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  • by joe545 (871599) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @09:04AM (#47573571)

    The UK courts generate a lot of uproar in the US (and rightly so) about them overstepping their jurisdiction with regards to libel laws. There seems to be a complete lack of self-awareness when lawsuits such as these come up. The plaintiffs in this case are trying to collect their award of $109 million (from a default judgement in Rubin et al v. Islamic Republic of Iran et al,) in retribution to injuries caused by a Hamas bombing they claim was funded by Iran. Using the American courts in this way rides roughshod over other the independence of other countries.

    They also tried to sue the EU for giving aid to the "terrorist sponsoring" Palestinian Authority (they lost due to diplomatic immunity). Using the courts in this way seems to have very little to do with justice and more to do with politics.

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @12:00PM (#47574841)

    I will attempt to address your points objectively, for whatever it is worth.

    Firstly, bashing the EU for restricting free communication on the Internet is considering only selective evidence. The most common limitation on free speed today is intellectual property, and by far the biggest champion of restricting the free distribution of IP is the United States, including using all kinds of diplomatic and political tools to push the US agenda extra-jurisdictionally. The US also imposes other restrictions and censorship on-line that are not universal elsewhere in the world, for example in relation to gambling, and again has a track record of pushing its agenda extra-territorially through sometimes dubious mechanisms. I think right now a few people in the US are just feeling aggrieved because inevitably the rest of the world has started pushing back and expecting the US to comply with the rules from other places in the same way, instead of enjoying nothing but one-way traffic as it often has until quite recently.

    Secondly, even if anywhere in the world did truly protect absolutely free speech, not all of us think that would be an improvement. For example, in much of Europe concepts like privacy and protecting personal data carry far more weight than they generally do in the US. In fact, it is illegal to export personal data from Europe to the US without special measures being used, because by default the US doesn't meet even our minimal legal standards for respecting individuals' privacy and personal data. But issues like free speech, privacy, anonymity or pseudonymity, and democracy are fundamentally interdependent and sometimes conflict, even before you consider more specific related issues like national security, policing, or copyright.

    Finally, just as an aside, the recent "right to be forgotten" debate was triggered by a specific court case, and the rationale behind the decision is actually quite sensible. Again, there is now a fundamental tension between, on the one hand, benefitting from the free and open communication afforded by the Internet and from the ability to search for and access information on many subjects more easily than ever before, and on the other hand, preserving legal principles around justice, the protection of the innocent, and the rehabilitation of the guilty that have evolved over a long period in every civilised country of the world. The result in this particular case may seem at odds with technological reality, but that doesn't mean the principle or the logic are flawed, just that it isn't a good final solution yet. Your characterisation is also inaccurate, by the way, but I'll invite you to read some of the ample material that has been published about why the common misunderstanding you've described is wrong rather than getting sidetracked any further here.

    There are no easy answers to any of these issues, but one thing is all but certain: throwing out everything our societies have learned over centuries about defending private lives and allowing people to move on from mistakes, just because a few Internet companies who have made staggering amounts of money might lose some of it if their business models were modestly inconvenienced, is not the only possible or potentially desirable way forward.

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