Spamhaus risks losing .org domain name

By Derek Sooman on October 11, 2006, 7:09 AM
Spamhaus, who are a leading anti-spam operation, are in a bit of legal hot water, it seems. e360 Insight has made a legal challenge to Spamhaus, claiming that their blacklisting of them has caused it lost business and jobs. An Illinois court awarded e360 Insight damages against Spamhaus to the amount of $11,715,000, and also placed a permanent injunction to prevent Spamhaus from blacklisting the firm in the future. Spamhaus, however, did not even turn up in court. They contended that, since they are a UK company, they are beyond US jurisdiction.

But there is a problem for Spamhaus in this. You see, their .org domain name registration comes from ICANN, who are US based. Therefore, if ICANN were ordered by a US judge to suspend Spamhaus's domain, Spamhaus would be in bother. A loss of their .org domain name would effectively mean an end for the operation, which has maintained spam blacklists used by more than 650 million computers users and Internet networks all over the world. Spamhaus says the Internet could be deluged with spam if its domain is suspended.

If ICANN were to suspend the domain name registration of Spamhaus, this not only threatens to unleash a torrent of spam on to the world, but also raises some worrying issues. You see, ICANN should be under international control, but many claim that it is a tool of the US government. If ICANN goes ahead and suspends the registration of Spamhaus because a US court asked it to, it lends weight to this theory. The notion that essentially the Internet is under the control of the US government is a worrying one, but is not entirely surprising if true.

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