The Iranian government’s latest attempts in recent months to stifle protests through internet blackouts, digital curfews, and content blocking have presented a particularly extreme example of how far regimes can go in restricting digital access. But a new report from the internet infrastructure company Cloudflare, released today, highlights the stunning global prevalence of connectivity disruptions and their increasing relevance to people and organizations all around the world.
Tag Archives: Iran
Inside the Face-Off Between Russia and a Small Internet Access Firm
The cat-and-mouse experience of Proton, a Swiss company, shows what it’s like to be targeted by Russian censors — and what it takes to fight back.
Iran’s sweeping internet blackouts are a serious cause for concern
When Iranian authorities pulled the plug on the internet in 2019 amid anti-government protests, the international community struggled to track the civilian carnage that followed.
Why the internet in Cuba has become a US political hot potato
Cubans used to joke about Napoleon Bonaparte chatting to Mikhail Gorbachev, George W Bush and Fidel Castro in the afterlife. “If I’d have had your prudence, I’d never have fought Waterloo,” the French emperor tells the last Soviet leader. “If I’d have had your military might, I’d have won Waterloo,” he tells the Texan. Turning last to Castro, the emperor says: “If I’d have had Granma [the Cuban Communist party daily], I’d have lost Waterloo but nobody would have known.”
The Isolating Effects of Iran’s Proposed “National Internet”
While the United Nations has deemed government-orchestrated internet shutdowns to be a human rights violation, Iran continues to push the limits
U.S. Justice Dept Seizes 27 Additional Domain Names Used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
The United States Justice Department announced Thursday they have seized 27 domain names they allege were unlawfully used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to further a global covert influence campaign.
U.S. Seizes Domain Names Used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
[news release] The United States has seized 92 domain names that were unlawfully used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to engage in a global disinformation campaign, announced the Department of Justice.
Terrorism Victims Can’t Seize ccTLDs Of Countries For Supporting Terrorist Attacks: US Court
Victims of terrorism can’t seize the country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) of countries that owe hundreds of millions of dollars in US court judgements a US court ruled Tuesday, saying that ruling otherwise would threaten the stability of the internet, the National Law Journal reported.”The terror victims wanted to claim the country codes for Iran, Syria and North Korea (.ir, .sy and .kp, respectively) to satisfy judgments against those countries.””The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit … said the country codes couldn’t be seized to satisfy judgments under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Allowing the plaintiffs to control that data could undermine the functioning of the entire internet, Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson wrote in Weinstein v. Islamic Republic of Iran. The court had authority to protect the interests of third parties, including the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, which manages internet domain names worldwide, and had backing in the case from the U.S. Department of Justice.”A ruling that internet names belong to governments and that their ownership can be transferred could lead to ‘an Internet that is less stable, secure, and free,’ the DOJ lawyers argued in court papers.”In light of the plaintiffs’ recognition that ICANN’s control ‘stems only from the fact that the global community allows it to play that role’ … and considering that the delegation of the three defendant sovereigns’ [country code top-level domains] could likely antagonize the global community … we believe the doomsday scenario is not beyond imagining,” Henderson wrote.”Plaintiffs in a group of terrorism cases went to ICANN in June 2014 seeking to attach the country code domains for Iran, Syria and North Korea. ICANN went to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to quash those requests, writing that it had ‘great sympathy’ for the plaintiffs, but that the country codes couldn’t be used to satisfy the judgments. In November 2014, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth granted ICANN’s request, finding that the domain names were not ‘goods, chattels [or] credits’ under D.C. law that could be attached.”The D.C. Circuit side-stepped the D.C. law question. Instead, the court considered the plaintiffs’ ability to seize the country codes under the federal Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. The law shields foreign governments from litigation in U.S. courts, but there are exceptions, such as in terrorism cases.”Even assuming the domain names were subject to the terrorism exception and that Iran and the other countries had a financial interest in them, Henderson wrote, the court still could not allow the plaintiffs to seize them. There were ‘enormous third-party interests at stake,’ Henderson wrote. Giving the plaintiffs control of the country codes would bypass ICANN processes and potentially undercut ICANN’s role in maintaining internet stability, she said.To read the National Law Journal report in full, see:
Sovereignty and Property Rights: Conceptualizing the Relationship between ICANN, ccTLDs and National Governments by Milton Mueller & Farzaneh Badiei
Abstract: Can ccTLDs be considered property? Or are they sovereign rights? Or are they somehow both? In recent litigation involving the top level domain for Iran (.IR), plaintiffs sought to garnish the domain as a form of property that could be used to compensate victims of terrorist acts allegedly backed by the Iranian state. Similar cases seeking to garnish ccTLDs have affected Syria (.SY) and the Congo (.CG).In the theory and practice of Internet governance, there is a tendency to resist recognizing ccTLDs as a property right. These arguments tend to view ccTLDs as trustee relationships and argue that recognizing private property rights will undermine the rights of the domain registrants within the ccTLDs. Some (but not all) court cases have found that second-level domains are not property, but services.On the other hand, governments are keen on asserting sovereignty rights over ccTLDs. They claim that sovereigns should be the ultimate authority over delegation and public policy for ccTLDs. In countries like Iran with a long-term conflict with the US, sovereignty rights are thought to immunize them from confiscation by outsiders. Some sovereignty claims closely mirror property claims.In physical space, sovereign states have recognized territories. Sovereignty results primarily from a state’s ability to maintain a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence in that territory, but also from recognition of its sovereignty by other states. In cyberspace, the delegation of a domain name representing a country (e.g., .BR for Brazil, or .IN for India) involves an unusual three-party relationship between a government, a party that operates the domain (delegee) and ICANN. ICANN, as the global coordinator and policy maker for the domain name space, must delegate a country code or name to a specific operator – otherwise the domain simply does not exist on the Internet. And because the DNS root is a globally shared resource, its management involves more than the wishes of the sovereign state but also involves obligations to “the global Internet community.” Yet, as a nonprofit under U.S. federal and California jurisdiction, ICANN’s role seemingly subjects ccTLD delegees to civil law claims of the sort seen in the Iran and Congo cases.What, then, is the best way to shape the relationship between ccTLD delegees, ICANN and the governmental authority referenced by a ccTLD string, and what role should sovereignty or property rights claims play? The scholarly literature has left these questions unsettled. It has studied mainly the relationship between states and ICANN, or between the state and the ccTLD delegee. Studies that consider the triangular relationship of ICANN, delegees and states have not applied both property and sovereignty theories. Either it has assumed that states have sovereignty rights over their ccTLDs, or it has not dealt with the applicability of the theories of sovereignty and property rights to this relationship.This paper uses a law and economics framework to analyze the relationship between ccTLD delegation, theories of sovereignty and theories of property rights. While property is a private right and sovereignty is a public right, international relations theorists have argued that they have some commonalities. Both, for example, involve claims of exclusivity. Both are also invoked in allocating rights over international resources, such as rights over the sea and over space. By critically and systematically examining the consequences of applying sovereignty and property rights to ccTLDs, this paper attempts to provide practical insights into the best way to handle conflicting claims over ccTLD delegations.To download this paper, go to:
Terrorism Victims Wanting Control Of ccTLDs Appeal US Court Decision
In November, a US federal court that ccTLDs are not “subject to attachment” in a case brought by victims of terrorism. However the plaintiffs are now appealing that decision.The victims of terrorism in the case came from Israel and the United States. They sued to have the assets of the Iranian (.IR), Syrian (.SY) and North Korean (.KP), (as well as internationalised TLDs for Iran and Syria) ccTLDs seized for compensation have failed.The federal court ruled that the ccTLD’s “at issue may not be attached in satisfaction of plaintiffs’ judgements because they are not property subject to attachment under District of Columbia law.”The court ruled that under District of Columbia law their attachment is not permissible. However the court also noted that even though ccTLDs may not be attached, it did not mean they cannot be property. In a footnote, “the Court concluded that ccTLDs may not be attached as a matter of District of Columbia law, there are no factual disputes that require further consideration. Therefore, the Court denies the plaintiffs’ motion for discovery as moot.”The federal court ruling agreed with ICANN’s legal filings in the case. ICANN sought to quash the writs of attachment citing ICANN’s technical coordination role in the domain name system (DNS) and arguing that ccTLDs are not subject to attachment.At the time ICANN noted they were pleased with the ruling.”We are pleased that the court ruled in our favour on the grounds that the ccTLDs are not property, subject to attachment”, said John Jeffrey, ICANN’s General Counsel and Secretary. “The court’s ruling demonstrates a technical understanding of the DNS, and the role of ccTLDs in the single, global, interoperable internet.Should the appeal be successful, it could set a precedent and mean countries, in this case Iran, North Korea and Syria, could lose control of their ccTLDs. The case was brought by families who have won American federal court judgments that amount to more than a billion dollars against the Iranian government seek to own all the TLDs provided by the US to Iran including the .ir TLD, the ‘̱’F TLD and all Internet Protocol (IP) addresses being utilised by the Iranian government and its agencies. The court papers were served on ICANN.The case followed earlier cases brought in the US by the terror victim plaintiff/judgment holders against Iran. The districts courts repeatedly ruled that the suicide bombing and shooting attacks perpetrated by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist organisations in Israel were funded by the Islamic regime through MOIS. However, although the families have received compensatory and punitive damage judgments against the defendants, Iran refused to satisfy the court awards. Iran has been designated by the Department of State as an outlaw nation that provides material support and resources to terrorist groups worldwide since 1996.For more details on the case, including an interview with one of the plaintiff’s lawyers, see Kieren McCarthy’s article in The Register here.