By Selwyn Duke
Participating in an effort to stifle criticism of Islam, Internet registry Network Solutions has frozen the domain of Dutch politician Geert Wilders. Wilders, who has warned his countrymen of a "tsunami of Islamization," intended to release his movie Fitna -- a critique of Islam -- at the domain "http://fitnathemovie.com" by the end of this month. But now the domain links to a Network Solutions page with the following message:
This site has been suspended while Network Solutions is investigating whether the site's content is in violation of the Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy. Network Solutions has received a number of complaints regarding this site that are under investigation. For more information about Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy visit the following URL: http://www.networksolutions.com/legal/aup.jsp
This is another example of Western capitulation in the face of Islamist threats and intimidation and the censorship of politically incorrect views. Moreover, it's an example of how easily speech can be stifled on the Web, one I warned of just two short months ago. In "The Race for the American Mind" I wrote:
While the Internet seems like a wild and woolly land of bits and bytes, just as information can be transmitted at the touch of a button, so can it be suppressed . . . .
At the end of the day - and it may be the end of days . . . registrars may even freeze their domains [those of politically-incorrect commentators] . . . They may be consigned to Internet oblivion.
What's happening here with Wilders' film is almost identical to the scenario I painted above, except that it's even more ominous. Network Solutions isn't just a registrar (a business from which one buys domains) but is the Internet's domain registry, the entity from which the registrars buy their domains and which controls every domain in the world.
Additionally, this may even be an unprecedented action. A prominent source in the domain business tells me that, to the best of his knowledge, this is the first time Network Solutions has ever frozen a domain on such a basis. It certainly does not bode well for free speech.
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