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Hate Sites and ICANN's Role

Dealing with Hate Sites has been one of the concerns of the regulatory agencies concerned with  Cyber Space. Hate sites against individuals can be handled under defamation laws. Hate sites against Companies have also been handled under defamation laws. Additionally when hate sites against Companies have used domain names such as etc, attempts have been made successfully to evict the owner of the site owner from the domain name using UDRP. 

It is the hate sites against Countries and Communities which have often defied a legal solution. The existence of such sites damage peace and harmony in the Community if let un attended.  At the same time excessive attention to such sites may actually further the cause of the negative propaganda. Also, if the regulators over react in regulating  to such sites, the general community has to pay by restricted freedom for the activities of one or two rogue elements in the society.  It is like an odd tax evader promting the tax authorities to impose new taxes or complicate regulations to plug loopholes. 

The responsible elements in the community have to closely monitor the emerging situation so that the anti national hate sites are nipped in the bud with timely moderate regulation.

India is one of those countries which has  been under the pressure from cross border  terrorism along its borders with Pakistan,  and  Burma.  The Internet has now come in handy   for these anti social elements to spread hatred amongst the community to further the cause of terrorism.  It has therefore become an important  task of the Cyber Security Agencies in the country to take preventive and punitive action so that Cyber Space is not used to harm the sovereignty of the country. 

In this context we would like to bring to the notice of the Indian Government a site The name indicates that it is a site that should logically be promoting the cause of Hinduism. On the other hand it is a site devoted to false propaganda against hinduism aimed at provoking the public. This site appears to be from the same group which runs 

The site does not stop at creating a Musilim-Hindu divide, but  it also tries to promote Tamil Divide and Dalit Divide. In this sense, the site is more dangerous than a Taliban site.

Some observers may dismiss the two sites as irrelevant. But the sites have enough potential to irritate the excitable elements in the Hindu society and provoke them to act irrationally against some other groups in the society. If this happens, then the inaction of the community at the present juncture would be devastating. had already discussed the issue of some time back. In the course of that discussion, a moderate suggestion was also made for controlling such rogue sites. It has now become necessary to look at the possibility of an action on a different plane altogether.

In the case of, it may be possible to invoke the Domain Name Dispute Resolution mechanism to take over the disputed domain name so that the misuse of the domain  name for anti national activities can be curbed to some extent. This could be done by some organisation that can logically lay a claim on the name.

The reason is, that if some group wants to distribute anti hinduism literature over the web, they should do it under their own banner or under an banner. Using the name of to promote anti hinduism is mischievous and a blatant misuse of the freedom of speech. For example, if I want to criticise Democracy, I must use a site rather than Even then, freedom of speech does not empower me to spread false information on the subject of democracy.

The word "Hinduism" represents a faith and a community. We may not all agree on what exactly it represents, but we do agree that it does represent a common faith and belief. There are Hindu Mutts like the Kanchi Mutt or the Sringeri Mutt, or the Puri Mutt, or Badri Mutt who have a major claim on the practice of Hinduism. There are Mutts of the Udupi and several other places who are also representatives of the Hindu faith. Additionally, there are organisations such as VHP and RSS as well as political parties like BJP and Shiva Sena who do have a recognition for representing the community of Hindus. Any of them individually, and without doubt all of them collectively, have some right on the word "Hinduism".

The right mght not have been presently defined and may not be exactly like the right of a Trade Mark owner. But it is a logical right to protect a community property against abuse While Hindus may like to protect the name because of their respect for the religion, Muslims, Dalits and Tamils may also want to protect the name from misuse because the repercussions can hurt them in the long run. If therefore there is a domain name dispute, any Hindu or more appropriately a well known organisation of Hindus will have a better claim on the name than perhaps the Talibans, the Mujahiddeens, Huriyat Conferences or  the Pakistan Government.

There are already established domain name cases where such hate sites in the name of Companies have been shut down particularly when the information is false and malafied. Time has come to test the will of the community to use the existing Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policies to counter hate sites such as For this, the Indian Government or any other organisation having a claim on "hinduism", must file an arbitration notice to ICANN and claim a right to own the site. Hopefully, ICANN arbitrators can be convinced that there is a case for taking the domain name away from the existing owners. This will not be much different from Governments claiming right on domain names with the country names (e.g.: Canada Government Case). 

If there is any hesitation on the part of ICANN, diplomatic level approaches to reach out to ICANN can be tried. If ICANN still refuses  to accede the right over "" to the Government of India, they may made to face the charge of abetting and encouraging terrorism and anti national activities against India as a country. Let's examine if the freedom of speech rights in USA are loose enough to be used for organized spread of terrorism against independent countries like India.

The suggestion may look drastic but probably it would be inevitable in the current context.

July 11, 2001 

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