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Politicians Losing Domain Names To Cybersquatters

Published September 16, 2010

The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) has published a study showing only 25 percent of the domain names associated with U.S. political identities actually belonged to the appropriate member of Congress.  

The Coalition analysed 3,210 .org and .com domain names in total and found many had fallen victim to identity squatting,  the act of registering a domain name associated with a well known individuals' name in bad faith with the intention of making profit or to place those people in a poor light - a similar ploy to cybersquatting; which mostly affects businesses.

CADNA President Josh Bourne said while cybersquatting can negatively affect businesses in terms of sales being lost, customers being diverted and damage to brands. For Internet users, it can mean financial loss and identity theft. For members of Congress, identity squatting can lead to misinformation, confusion among constituents and damage to the politician's reputation.

The Coalition found the highest rate of third party ownership of the domains in the study occurred in relation to (LastName) domain names, with over 50 percent registered to other parties.

"Legitimate First Amendment use of domain names should be protected; however, better legislation that creates stronger deterrents and punishment for bad faith behavior would significantly help reduce instances of cybersquatting and identity squatting," said Bourne.

The .com and .net extensions are particularly open to abuse due to the lack of restrictions in regard to registration. In Australia, the registration of domain names and most other .au extensions is more heavily regulated and monitored.

The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse is a non-profit organization with the goal of ending what it describes as the systemic domain name abuses that plague the Internet today.

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