Islanders Demand Return of ‘.IO’ Domain From Colonizers

The widespread ‘.io’ area identify has grow to be a part of a criticism towards the United Kingdom for  alleged human rights violations tied to its persevering with administration of territories within the Indian Ocean. 

Sales of the ‘.io’ area identify are being contested as part of a criticism filed by former islanders of the Chagos Archipelago, which has been on the heart of a territorial dispute between Mauritius, a former British colony, and the U.Okay. because the 1980s. 

Now extremely widespread with quite a few crypto, blockchain and different tech corporations — to not point out varied scams — ‘.io’ was formally the nation code top-level area (ccTLD) designation for “Indian Ocean.” Despite this, the area identify was acquired on the open market within the late 1990s by a U.Okay.-based agency, Internet Computer Bureau (ICB). 

The U.Okay. authorities receives an undisclosed share of income from gross sales of .io, in what the criticism claims is a part of its ongoing colonial expropriation of the financial property and livelihood of the previous islanders:

“The ccTLD .IO rights are a valuable property and generate millions of dollars in fees for ICB annually. The 1997 contract or agreement grants ICB exclusive rights to exploit this asset in the same way colonial powers have delegated exclusive rights in Africa to private companies to act on behalf of the colonizer […] ICB therefore is the Occupying Power’s agent and acts in its stead in the matter of ccTLD .IO.”

The criticism notes that area finish customers of .io embrace “thousands of crypto asset platforms” — amongst them exchanges, Initial Coin Offerings, and crypto miners — who “generate vast sums of unregulated and untaxed revenue and trade with volume of billions of dollars per day.” 

Crypto companies are capable of generate this sum of allegedly unregulated income, the criticism claims, by making the most of “nonexistent commercial regulation” within the disputed territory. 

In addition to unjustly cashing in on area identify gross sales, the criticism alleges that the U.Okay. “tolerates massive criminality” in overlooking the existence of “thousands of crypto criminal entities” registered on .io.

The colonial backdrop

The Chagos Archipelago was dominated over as a dependency of Mauritius by the U.Okay. between 1814 and 1965, when it was indifferent from Mauritius with a view to set up a brand new colony designated the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). In addition to the archipelago, BIOT additionally consists of a number of different islands that had been indifferent from the Seychelles.

The Chagossians had been displaced between 1967-1973 with a view to make means for a joint army base with the United States, which exists to this present day. 

Since the 1980s, Mauritius has sought to regain management over BIOT, claiming that its detachment shortly earlier than Mauritius’ independence (in 1968) violated a 1960 UN decision and has compromised the method of decolonization. In 2019, the United Nations General Assembly referred the decades-long dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). 

In 2019, the ICJ ordered the U.Okay. at hand again the Chagos Archipelago to Mauritius “s rapidly as possible,” ruling that its continued occupation of the islands is unlawful.

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