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[liberationtech] Secure Your Domain - Where Is Safe to Register a Domain Name? -

Bill Woodcock woody at
Thu May 10 09:30:58 PDT 2012

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On May 10, 2012, at 9:04 AM, liberationtech at wrote:
> A more thorough answer would involve the cross-section of MLATs,
> Military assistance treaties, and global copyright agreements.

Yes, exactly…  Basically, diplomacy involves a lot of trading unrelated interests off against each other…  Domain takedowns exchanged for food aid, or loan guarantees, or a partial relaxation of trade tariffs, or whatever.  So the more active the diplomacy between two countries, and the greater the imbalance of power between them, the less you want to hang your hat on the stability of domain names in the weaker one.

> For example, if you wanted to start a cool new file sharing site, base
> it in Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Libya, Syria, Belarus, Zimbabwe, or Burma.

Actually, I'd strongly disagree with that, for two reasons.  First, rule of law corresponds strongly with stability of the DNS…  In  a country with weak rule of law, high corruption, high volatility, you're likely to have an arbitrary takedown based on completely other issues:

Moreover, registering domains in such countries is often a matter of walking into the communications ministry, cash in hand, and showing your citizenship papers or domestic incorporation papers.

The second reason is in countries with volatile politics, like all of those you cited, things can change very quickly.  I just spent the last four days in Tripoli, and things are very different there now than they were a year ago, and they'll be still more different a year from now.  They're both becoming more religious, more political, and more aligned with and dependent upon their relationship with the U.S. government.  Make no mistake, it's an infinitely better place to live now than it was a year ago, and in general terms of "Internet freedoms" it's much better now and on a very good trajectory.  I just wouldn't count on it being friendly to interests to which the USG is hostile; that time is past.

And the same thing could happen in any of the other countries you cite, very quickly, if the political winds swing another direction.

In Switzerland, that's unlikely to happen.  On the contrary, they've been strengthening their laws protecting domains against _private sector_ takedowns.


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