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Mauritius launches fresh battle against UK over Indian Ocean domain name

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Mauritius launches fresh battle against UK over Indian Ocean domain name

The dispute between and the UK over ownership of the Chagos Islands has taken a new twist – a fresh battle is now reportedly raging with Mauritius now challenging the UK’s control on the .io domain name.

“The two letter address .io, which stands for Indian Ocean, is allocated by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). It is operated by a commercial firm nominally based in Diego Garcia, the largest of the Chagos islands and home to a US military base,” The Guardian reported.

The newspaper said the .io domain is “fashionable among online dealers and digital economy enthusiasts” because the initials also stand for input/output, the process of sending and receiving data.

It added that cryptocurrency firms and companies selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – created to turn digital art into tradeable videos or images – frequently select .io web addresses for their trading platforms.

“They are consequently more expensive.”

Mauritius reportedly wants the UK to “end the use of .io domain name by the United Kingdom or any entity acting on its behalf and to secure for the government of Mauritius revenues generated by any further use of the .io domain name”.

Iana lists the Internet Computer Bureau (ICB) Ltd as the company that allocates the country code for .io domain names. The firm also controls sales of .ac domains related to part of another British overseas territory, the Ascension Islands.

According to the Guardian newspaper, the IANA website records ICB’s address is: c/o Sure (Diego Garcia) Limited, Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territories, PSC 466 Box 59 FPO-AP 96595-0059, British Indian Ocean Territory.

The firm, it said, was sold in 2017, reportedly for $70m (Rs3.1 billion). It has been bought again since then. The previous owner of ICB said in 2014 that profits from selling .io domain names are “distributed to the [British] authorities”.

According to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, however, neither BIOT nor the UK government benefit from sales of .io domain names.

Jagdish Koonjul, the Mauritian ambassador to the UN, was quoted as saying that the Mauritian government contacted ICB through its Diego Garcia address asking them to deal in future with the Mauritian government. “We have written to Sure [in Diego Garcia] but they have only said they are looking at it,” Koonjul was quoted as saying.

Lawyers for the Chagos Refugees Group have also reportedly lodged a complaint about British control of the .io domain name with the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development).

The UK has persistently maintained its claim of sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory since 1814. “Mauritius has never held sovereignty over the territory and the UK does not recognise its claim.”

Original article at The Guardian

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The information and opinions expressed in our published works are those of authors/sources believed to be reliable. NewsMoris makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information expressed.