Three curious facts about domain extensions & geopolitics

Domains may only exist in the virtual world, but they can sometimes be impacted by real life, there's a knock-on effect. Here are three interesting geopolitical domain facts that we at EuroDNS talk about when we’re not working (which is never, of course)...

by Meg - 21.10.2013

1. Terrorist connections

In 2002, ICANN suspended the .IQ domain extension due to an alleged connection to the terrorist organisation Hamas. This extension was left in limbo for many years while the delegated manager was imprisoned in a Texas jail. Iraq took over the management of the .IQ extension in 2005 only, finally allowing the Iraq government to register standardised .IQ addresses for state organisations.

2. The Arab Spring

In 2011, during the Arab Spring, the Egyptian government decided to shut down the DNS servers in the whole country. By cutting Internet access they hoped to stop revolutionary ideas from spreading (so much for that plan). As a result, all .EG domains were unavailable worldwide for five days, and an estimated €65 million loss to the economy was created. (OECD source)

3. Countries die, extensions survive

The Soviet Union was dismantled in 1991, but oddly the .SU domain extension is still in existence. ICANN currently classifies this domain as “in the process of disappearing”, but due to pressure from lobbyists it can't be removed.

In spite of this, the number of .SU registrations continues to grow, increasing from 11,000 in 2006 to 45,000 in 2008. The renewed interest in the .SU domain may be explained by those looking to cyber squat trademarks on a little known domain extension.

Who said domain names were boring?

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