03/01/2012 : CANADIAN DOMAIN HOSTER WARNS ON U.S DOMAIN ACTIONS
The Bodog seizure illustrates a preparedness by US officials to act outside their national boundaries, says executive
The seizure of the Bodog domain by US federal Homeland Security officials has again focused the spotlight on the tendency of US officials to act outside of their country's boundaries, prompting a Canadian domain hoster to warn that the Bodog case could have a wider impact.
Talking to IT Business Canada, Mark Jeftovic, founder and CEO of EasyDNS Technologies Inc. said that the Ayre affair illustrates that the U.S. government is willing to assert its legal authority over Internet properties outside American boundaries – even those based in Canada.
The case raises questions about Internet sovereignty because U.S. officials were able to take control of the domain even though it was owned by a Canadian and operated out of various offices overseas.
“You could be [based] outside the U.S. and you could be minding your own business and suddenly, some attorney-general in some U.S. state could say I don't like what's happening here and issue a takedown order,” said Jeftovic, who heads a Toronto firm that provides domain hosting and registry services.
The Bodog case means Canadian-owned Web sites with a .com, .net or .org suffix could be subject to U.S. laws simply because the registry for those domains (in the case of .com and .net, Verisign) is based on American soil, Jetkovic said.
“This is a concern for every non-American who relies on a domain run by a U.S.-based registry operator,” he added.
Jeftovic explained that although it appears that Bodog.com went through a Vancouver company called Domainclip to register its domain, all .com sites in the world are ultimately overseen by Reston, Va.-based Verisign.
Byron Holland, president and CEO of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority in Ottawa, told the publication that the Bodog case is not the first time that a US domain action has had implications beyond America's borders.
“This type of thing has certainly happened before,” Holland said. “The primary implication is that people need to be educated about where their digital content is being housed, created or registered.”
American laws also apply to Canadian-owned sites and Web content if the domain is hosted or has its data stored by a company based in the U.S., Holland added: “It's not just where the server resides but any of those touch points along the way.”
By the same principle, a U.S.-owned site is subject to Canadian laws if its domain is registered or hosted in Canada, Holland said.
The Bodog shutdown made big news out of old, existing legislative parameters just because Ayre lives a flashy existence, Holland suggested.
“Any time you mix sex, money and gambling into it, it will highlight the story.”