COICA Would See Domain Names As New Way for US to Regulate Net: Geist

By September 28, 2010 Governance No Comments

Michael Geist imageThe US government’s attempt to censor internet content with the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act that was recently introduced into the US Senate is examined by Canadian Professor Michael Geist in his recent column in The Toronto Star.

The bill, also known as COICA, was described by the Electronic Frontier Foundation as flawed. The EFF said the bill if enacted “would allow the Attorney General and the Department of Justice to break the Internet one domain at a time – by requiring domain registrars/registries, ISPs, DNS providers, and others to block Internet users from reaching certain websites. … The bill would also create two Internet blacklists.”

Geist says the domain name block list, also referred to as a “blacklist”, is “already being dubbed the Great Firewall of America – would be created through a censorship court order obtained by the U.S. Attorney General. The court order could be used to shut down a site located within the U.S. or to order Internet providers to block access to the domain name if the site resides outside the country.”

He goes on to say “the Department of Justice could identify additional domain names that are “dedicated to infringing activities.” Despite the absence of any court oversight, this second list would also likely involve blocked domains since Internet providers would be immune from liability provided they curtail access to them.”

Geist also notes the bill would target websites anywhere in the world “since any domain – wherever located – may placed on the list.”

To read this article by Professor Michael Geist in full in The Toronto Star, see:
www.thestar.com/news/sciencetech/technology/lawbytes/article/865576–geist-u-s-uses-domain-names-as-new-way-to-regulate-the-net