I’m writing this post to share some more details about cartoonsagainstcorruption.com, a domain name suspended by BigRock last year. There’s been a lot of discussion on the why/what/how of our decision to suspend this domain name at the time when we took this action back in December of 2011 and then more recently a few days ago due to the arrest of Aseem Trivedi. The primary motivation for writing this piece is to transparently provide as much information as we can about this suspension and to clearly state our position.
What happened exactly and what was the sequence of events?
Let’s start first with the sequence of events and set the facts in the correct order. Cartoonsagainstcorruption.com was registered by the registrant, Aseem Trivedi, through BigRock on the 31st of October, 2011 (you can view the public whois record for this domain name here). The BigRock compliance team received a legal notice from the Cyber Police Station, Crime Branch, C.I.D, Mumbai on the 27th of December, 2011. This notice asked BigRock to remove the website content pointed to by this domain name with immediate effect. BigRock was not the hosting provider for this domain name or an ISP as prior media reports have suggested. Upon receiving this notice we suspended this domain and informed the registrant thereafter. This domain currently remains in suspension. In situations like this our compliance team remains available 24×7 to provide clarifications and keep the channels of communication open with various parties as needed.
Why we did what we did?
The suspension of this domain name is something we are permitted to do as per our rights and obligations under the BigRock Domain Registrant Policy which forms part of our acceptable use policy. Please see section is 4.1.5 which references “applicable laws, government rules or regulations, requests of law enforcement” as reasons for taking action such as suspending domain names. In this case, we acted under the aegis of various laws including the Indian IT Intermediaries Guidelines 2011, a link to which can be found at the website of the Ministry of Information Technology here. Specifically, this law and others like it (for example, ‘Chapter XI, clause 67 of the IT Act’ or ‘Procedure And Safeguards For Blocking For Access Of Information By Public, IT Rules, 2009’) direct providers such as BigRock to publish acceptable usage rules for our customers (which we do) and then act within a stipulated period after we have been informed of a violation of these acceptable usage rules (which we did in this case). These laws impose stringent requirements and correspondingly severe penalties for non-compliance.
Because I’m writing this note in my official capacity as a spokesperson for BigRock, I am not going to pass comment or critique the validity or larger justification around these laws – as things stand they are the existing laws of the land. My attempt is to outline our policy as a domain name registrar and hosting company and to highlight the laws that we, and other industry players who serve, host, or facilitate the publishing of online content, must conform with.
How often do we really suspend domains or hosting packages and what does this mean for your domain name?
BigRock hosts over 300,000 domain names today. We are a part of the Directi group that collectively manages over 7 million domain names across 150+ countries. As such, we are a globally recognized and respected entity in this space with a clear mandate to curb abuse and fraudulent activity online in all its forms. At BigRock we are committed to the safety and security of all our customers, our technology platform, and to obey the law of the land. We do not censor or moderate content. We are, however, committed to taking necessary action where required to disable domains in violation of our acceptable usage policy and local and/or international law.
One of the surest ways to win your trust is for us to be transparent and share statistics about how many domains we have suspended in the last one year and for what reasons. I’m presenting these numbers below.
Of the 489 domains we suspended over the last year (which is less than 0.2% of our entire domain name base) – you will notice that a majority are related to payment fraud, email spam, phishing, malware, or are otherwise involved in some fraudulent activity. Of these, only a single domain, cartoonsagainstcorruption.com, was suspended due to objectionable content.
And that pretty much concludes our analysis of this case. Thanks for reading. It is our promise to be transparent and share as much information as possible with you about matters that concern your domain names or hosting packages. We value your business and your trust in us.