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Iraq Internet presence in Limbo

Legal war continues
Mon Jun 28 2004, 07:54
WHILE THE AMERICANS might be turning over rulership to an interim government in Iraq, it will be some time before the country gets its domain name back.

This time it is not because of any attempts at US control, the .iq owners are facing a criminal indictment and can't pass the Internet suffix on.

According to a report from AP, the problem started in 1997, when Saddam Hussein's dictatorship was blocking access to the Internet.

An ICANN body granted responsibility for the ".iq" domain to InfoCom a Texas-based company and purveyor of computers and Web services in the Middle East.

In 2002, a grand jury indicted InfoCom, and its owners on charges that they exported computer equipment to Libya and Syria and funneled money to a member of the Islamic extremist group Hamas. Meanwhile the new government, national institutions or regular Iraqis are having to register themselves as ".com," ".org" or ".net".

One of the treasure houses of Iraqi culture, the Baghdad Museum, has registered the.iraq.museum simply because unlike most other countries it cannot use the national domain.

Many international companies wanting to set up in Iraq cannot even use their own name in their Internet address unless and until the .iq domain is reactivated.

The U.S. administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, and the head of Iraq's new National Communications and Media Commission, Siyamend Ziad Othman, have both urged ICANN to free up ".iq" as soon as possible, partly so government ministries can standardise their Web addresses. ICANN is apparently investigating. µ

 

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