Growing the Internet 6 October 2017

Response to the Community on .CAT Issues

By Frédéric DonckFormer Regional Vice President – Europe

Last week I published a statement about Internet blocking measures in Catalonia, Spain.

The situation in Catalonia is delicate and politically sensitive. Understandably, my statement prompted some strong reactions from the Internet community.

In light of this, we feel it is important to clarify what we set out to do in the statement.

The statement was not drafted as a comment on the current political debate and it was not intended to be read in this way. There are many other stakeholders who are much better positioned than the Internet Society to deal with and comment on these political aspects.

Rather, we wanted to highlight the potential consequences for the Internet that stem from the court order requiring .CAT to monitor content and use the DNS (domain name system) to block that content. In this instance, the content in question related to the 1st October referendum.

We firmly believe that intermediaries (in this case the top-level domain (TLD) operator, but it could be any other intermediary such as an Internet Service Provider (ISP)) should not be put in the position of having to decide what content is legal and what is not. Simply put, this is not the role of TLD registries.

Not only does this kind of measure demonstrate a misunderstanding of how the functional layer of the Internet works, it may also negatively affect the Internet’s open nature. It is important that we focus on the appropriate role that each player in the Internet’s ecosystem must play.

We have had a conversation with the leaders of all four Internet Society chapters in Spain and our position has been clarified.

We all remain committed to working together for the future development of an Internet that is open, global and secure and that continues to benefit everyone.

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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