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Going Offshore? Watch Out for Australia, Too.

Moving domain names out of the United States may not be safer.

Last week I wrote about a growing movement for transferring domain names away from United States registrars to other countries. I argued that:

-Even if you move your domains to a non-U.S. registrar, U.S. courts could still claim jurisdiction through Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) or ICANN
-Other countries also make silly decisions that could jeopardize your domains

I gave the suggestion of an Australian court making a rash decision, to which one commentor replied “Let’s be honest here. The US courts make stupid decisions all the time. Much more frequently than other first world courts do.”

Well, what about the non-judicial branch of countries? It turns out you should be fearful, as Australia’s federal government wants to implement a nationwide firewall to block what it deems to be “inappropriate” or “illegal” content. GigaOm points out that Australia is not the only country with similar plans.

What’s surprising here is that this isn’t some oppressive regime like that of China or North Korea. And it goes to show that other countries want to control the internet, too. (Note: If you are in China and can read this post, please e-mail me to let me know it’s not blocked.)

Moves like this make me even more wary of policies for new TLDs, including ICANN’s consideration of “Morality and Public Order Objection Considerations in New gTLDs”.

As one commentor pointed out in response to the “Morality” issue, we don’t censor what domains you can register on current TLDs (country code domains are a different matter). Why censor top level domains?

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Reader Interactions

Comments

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  1. Michael Berkens says

    Andrew

    I agree.

    In selecting a registrar you must consider the jurisdiction they are subject to.

    Not all jurisdiction are created equal.

    However that is not to say there aren’t hands off jurisdictions which won’t attempt to regulate the internet.

    That is why we choose a registrar located in the Bahamas.

  2. Anon says

    Keep in mind the average cost of a court case… if you want to challenge a Kentucky-esque seizure order, or challenge a udrp outcome… lots of places are cheaper than the US, even if they have unfamiliar or arcane rules.

  3. Lda says

    There was a time when this blog was a refreshing read, with regular ‘scoops’ about news snippets.

    I find your take recently seems to have shifted to deliberate controversy, and in this case your headline is offensive.

    Since when does the Australian government’s (probably ill-fated) attempt to block child pornography justify your warning ??

    Also what on earth does it have to do with courts stealing domains ?

    If you have a realistic connection, based in fact, rather than childish speculation, perhaps you could share it.

  4. Andrew says

    Lda – I realize you were the person suggesting Australia was a safe haven. If you read the article I link to, you’ll see this goes way beyond child pornography.

    I think Michael Berkens is right. If you feel the need to move your domains out of the U.S., move them to a place that has a reputation for not meddling in business. Bahamas, Cayman, etc. Any major country you go to will have the same result as the U.S. And frankly, if you go outside the U.S. then you have to deal with not only the other country’s regulations but ALSO the U.S. courts who will ultimately claim jurisdiction.

  5. Ricardo says

    Michael’s suggestion of using an offshore registrar is a valid point.

    However, countries like the Bahamas and others also depend on U.S. toursit business.
    So, if the U.S. govt wants assistance from one of the toursit destination countries, those countries tend to work closely with the U.S. govt.

    I believe the Caymans because of their banking industry are a little more cautious about how they cooperate with the U.S. govt.

    There are no perfect solutions. We just have to weigh the pro’s and con’s of which foreign registrars we want to use for our domains.

    In some cases, it might be wiser to buy a U.S. registrar credential for your private use. Since, ultimately the domains (.com, .net, .org, .biz and .us) are still within reach of U.S. courts. But, you have more control on what is released from the registrar.

  6. steve says

    looks like you can view domainnamewire.com in China.

    Website Test Results
    Tested From: Hong Kong, China
    Tested At: 2008-10-31
    17:06:58 (GMT -05:00)
    URL Tested: https://domainnamewire.com
    Resolved As: 67.228.232.114
    Status: OK
    Response Time: 1.756 sec
    DNS: 0.489 sec
    Connect: 0.189 sec
    Redirect: 0.000 sec
    First Byte: 0.297 sec
    Last Byte: 0.781 sec
    Size: 47433 bytes

    cheers.

  7. Andrew says

    Steve, thanks. I’ve always wondered how their filters work. I know they had a block on GoDaddy for a while.

    Andrew

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