The geopolitics of domain names

As a firm believer in the stupidity of the nation state concept I had long argued against the use of country specific domain names, supporting genereric top-level domains (.com, .org, .net etc.) instead. After all, wasn’t this the great promise of the internet, something that existed above the ridiculous borders created on this tired old planet?

But the other day I found myself investigating country specific domain names for a new site. Which is the best, the safest –  the country with the best record on, and best legislation for, protecting my rights of freedom and privacy?

Annie Machon, best known for blowing the whistle on MI5 gave these reasons for moving her domain to Switzerland and .ch:

“First of all, I wanted to get out of the USA domain-name hege­mony. Recently the US has been increas­ingly flex­ing its legal muscles inter­na­tion­ally.  It is now claim­ing global domin­ion over all the old domains ori­gin­ally set up in its ter­rit­ory: .com, .org, .net, .info, you name it.

And it does not mat­ter if you are are a cit­izen of another coun­try, liv­ing in another coun­try, your web­site is hos­ted on another country’s serv­ers, and you have noth­ing what­so­ever to do with the good ol’ US of A: if you use one of these domain names, the US gov­ern­ment can pull the plug on your site, with no warn­ing and no redress.  This has already star­ted to hap­pen.

So I am now safely ensconced in Switzer­land — not­ably the only coun­try not to take down the Wikileaks web­site in 2010, des­pite massive global push-back from the US et al.  Switzer­land still seems to be tak­ing basic human rights seriously.”

So sadly I’m weighing up whether Holland (where the ChokePoint Project and the Rudi Bloemgarten Foundation are based) is a better option than Switzerland and resigning myself to the fact that shortly I’ll have a new site located in some nation state somewhere.

Stay tuned to see where I go…

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