Terror goes digital. With Canadian help

Canada’s Globe and Mail says the town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, is a “pivotal battleground in the global jihad.” This beautiful town of 7,000 people is home to a branch of Register.com. And Register.com allows people to anonymously register a domain name for a few extra dollars says the Globe and Mail. Any of these anonymously registered domain names, says the paper, have “the same address and phone number in Yarmouth.”The popularity of this service is high, with “civil-liberties advocates and anyone else who values their privacy flock to it. But it’s also very useful to another group of people, halfway around the globe: On one of the world’s largest pro-Hamas websites, viewers can download martyrdom videos that feature the diatribes of masked men shortly before they launch deadly attacks. Look up the registration info for that site, and you’ll get that Yarmouth address and phone number.”The Globe and Mail goes on to say:
The challenge this situation poses is not unprecedented. Years ago, authorities noticed that child pornography websites, though often operated from outside North America, made use of North American anonymous-registration services. In response, a large number of watchdog groups began hunting down such sites to force the registration firms to shut them down.
“There’s nothing near that level [of public monitoring] with terrorist websites,” says Wade Deisman, Director of the National Security Working Group at the University of Ottawa. Government intelligence services don’t have the resources to manage the scale of the problem. “I haven’t seen anything that comes even close to addressing this issue,” he says.
The full Globe and Mail article is available online here – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070818.wyarmouthPOINT18/BNStory/Technology/home.Also see:
The Globe on Terror Goes Digital by Michael Geist
The above story from Canada’s Globe and Mail on Canada’s and Register.com’s contribution to terrorism is put in its place by Professor Michael Geist. Geist makes four points ridiculing the Globe’s position. These points are that just because registrant information is not made publicly available doesn’t mean it’s not collected, offering proxy or anonymous registrations is not only a Register.com/Canadian issue, “the article mistakenly states that the terror sites reside on servers in Yarmouth” and finally “it is telling that the story does not include a single mention of WHOIS related issues, including the long policy process aimed at providing registrants with greater privacy protection (and thereby eliminating the need for these services).”

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