In Search Of An Amoral Registrar

Weekly Axis Of Easy #24

In this issue:

  • Catalonian websites shutdown as Spain clamps down on separatists
  • Saskatchewan introduces law against posting “revenge p0rn”
  • In search of an amoral domain registrar
  • Equifax breach: consumers’ salary history among details leaked
  • Hackers poison Google search results to deliver malware

Catalonian websites shutdown as Spain clamps down on separatists

The Spanish government is pressing on all fronts to prevent Catalonians from following through on their unilateral declaration of independence. Last week Madrid pulled the plug on numerous Catalonian government and pro-independence websites, including and interestingly, which is under the .EU TLD and not the Catalonian .CAT. From here it looks like they took control over the website hosting account and removed read permission for all documents.

Saskatchewan introduces law against posting “revenge p0rn”

The Province of Saskatchewan has followed through on its commitment stated in its recent throne speech and introduced legislation aimed at so-called “revenge p0rn”. The law will enable anybody who has an “intimate image” circulated online without permission to sue the person who distributed it. It also shifts the burden-of-proof from the victim to the poster.

In search of an amoral domain registrar

An interesting paper has been published, which looks at the marketplace of domain registrars whether they have some kind of “morality clause” within their Terms of Service that enables arbitrary takedowns, or go with a “rule of law” stance. The authors found that a little over 1/3 of all registrars use “Rule of Law”, while most have subjective “morality clauses”. They also note that some geographical areas lean more to having “morality clauses” than others. For instance in China, there are no registrars operating under a “Rule of Law” position. What is easyDNS? We espouse “Rule of Law” but have to concede the easyDNS Plain English Terms of Service does contain a clause that references the somewhat Libertarian “Non-Aggression Principle”. You could probably say that’s a subjective morality clause. Feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Equifax breach: consumers’ salary history among details leaked

More fallout from the Equifax hack. After suffering one of the worst data breaches on record, Krebs on Security reports that because Social Security Numbers were stolen, those in possession of this data can easily access an existing Equifax division called Talx which runs a program called The Work Number. Through this service people can access an automated salary and income verification system.

Hackers poison Google search results to deliver malware

Hackers have used Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics to game Google’s search results for certain search terms  to poison the results with links that lead to infected pages which deliver a payload of the Zeus Panda banking trojan.

There’s too much happening in the bitcoin space to mention here, suffice it to say I will be starting to email the new Guerrilla Capitalism list very soon, including an in-depth piece I’m currently working on about the nature of the Bitcoin phenomenon. To get on the new newsletter’s list, sign up here.

5 thoughts on “In Search Of An Amoral Registrar

  1. I has been a customer of EasyDNS for years. but I’m seriously thinking to go away.

    Your post about Catalonia is offending, I must suppose that you know you are just distributing news from, a web owned by Russian novosti agency, and that Russian goverment is doing as much as it can to feed this crisis.
    If it is an innocent error, please read the following news (from Washington Post) about Russian interference in Catalonian crisis

    Anyway it doesn’t seem too proper to include political news in the blog from a company, and even less to distribute it in a company newsletter.

    1. We certainly don’t intend to offend. Regardless of the source, those websites have been taken down by the Spanish government. We reported here in a previous issue when they raided the offices of the .CAT registry and arrested the CTO.

      Further – we try to keep the scope of #AxisOfEasy on technology, privacy and censorship, sometimes reporting on a story is going to intersect with something political by definition, we try not to intentionally ruffle anybody feathers but talk about what is happening.

  2. ““Non-Aggression Principle”. You could probably say that’s a subjective morality clause”

    No probably about it, it is absolutely subjective and not at all libertarian. ‘We support free speech, except when we don’t like what you’re saying.’

    Thats exactly the reason I chose another service. Its the height of arrogance to suggest your paying customers should be grateful that you allow them to use your service.

    1. The NAP is one of the cornerstones of Libertarianism so I don’t know what you’re talking about. Are you one of the ones who think we had a moral obligation to do business with the Dailystormer crew? They can say whatever they want, but they can’t compel anybody to listen, nor are we duty bound to do business with them. We stand by that.

      Our paying customers generally appreciate that we look out for them and keep the kind of riff-raff off our platform that would bring out the DDoS attacks en masse (just ask Dreamhost if they feel a moral duty to host Dailystormer).

      Remember: Dailystormer was never a paying customer, they never had any standing here.

  3. Although advocating violence isn’t in and of itself a violation of the Non Aggresion Principle (NAP), it certainly is understandable for a private market participant to shun the business of those who would advocate violence, as acting on that sort of incitement *would* most certainly violate the NAP.

    Some might say “but what about my free speech.” I’d say that, as with all businesses dealing with property (even if it is somewhat artificial like with domain names), you are going to be subject to the sentiment of the person or agency you deal with.

    Regarding those registrars who claim to hew to the “Rule of Law,” I would advise them to read the essay from Professor Hasnas: “The Myth of the Rule of Law.” Laws are interpreted by men, not machines, and this applies not only to public, but private interactions too. This notion that one can separate their own feelings from the service that is provided to a customer is a rather silly one, as a transaction has to “work” for both parties to get past the finish line. No amount of idealism or scribbles in a law book can overcome this, despite hallucinations to the contrary about how forcing people to “bake the cake” will magically make things right.

    If the market eventually favors truly “free” speech that cannot be suppressed by the whims of whatever DNS registrar(s), then a distributed system not under the control of ICANN (but rather machines) will eventually win out as an alternative design. As far as I can tell, however, the market for domain name directory services does not appear to currently scream out for this type of solution — otherwise things like Namecoin would have seen more traction than they have.

    I transferred my domains as soon as I learned that Mark “got it” and have never looked back. Dealing with sane businessmen is good enough for me.

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