Islamic sharia law shuts down .ly link-shortening site

Creeping sharia rears its ugly head in the tech world. The image below is against Islamic sharia law one of the reasons why vb.ly was shut down. Official: vb.ly Link Shortener Seized by Libyan Government

vbly seized by Libya

It’s official: the Libyan government has seized vb.ly. This was done with no warning. Despite the fact that vb.ly was a one-page link-shortening service, Nic.ly (the registry for .ly domain reseller registrar Libyan Spider) informed us that the content of our website was offensive, obscene and illegal according to Libyan Islamic Sharia Law. Not the domain, but the content of the website – no matter where the domain was hosted.

The photograph of me (above) with my bare arms, holding a bottle, and the words “sex-positive” were cited as obscene, offensive and illegal. We were also told that we were “promoting an illegal activity” with our link shortener.

We had the domain for a year and had just paid to renew the domain for another year. For two weeks the processor Nic.ly had told us in vague terms that vb.ly was in violation of Nic.ly and Libyan Spider’s terms. However, we could not find anywhere in the terms on both sites, where we were in violation, which apply to the name of the domain. We were also told we had been warned to change the domain content of face deletion, but no proof was provided that they had attempted to contact us. Had we known, we would have responded immediately.

However, no one knew that the Libyan government would begin seizing domains based on application of Islamic law to website content (let alone potential use of an online tool, such as a link shortener). For this reason, all .ly domains, and the businesses built on them internationally, should be on high alert.

No one knew since no one can foretell the future, but the warnings were out there identifying the potential for this to happen. When we posted on it in April 2009, A Little Bit.ly Sharia? Tech Business Builds on Libya Domain, we were ridiculed as Islamophobes – simply for reposting it. The threat was real and has come to fruition.

More from the other vb.ly partner, The .ly domain space to be considered unsafe:

The domain was seized by the Libyan domain registry for reasons which seemed to be kept obscure until we escalated the issue. We eventually discovered that the domain has been seized because the content of our website, in their opinion, fell outside of Libyan Islamic/Sharia Law.

This is deeply concerning for everyone, but especially .ly domain owners, because it sets a precedent that all websites running on a .ly domain must comply with Libyan Islamic/Sharia Law in order to maintain their domains. This is especially concerning for anyone running a url shortener or hosting user-generated content on a .ly domain.

You may also not know that since June 2010 .ly domains less than 4 characters long may no longer be registered by anyone who isn’t in Libya – which suggests there is tension around foreign owned, high-value, short .ly domains.

Read it all.

8 thoughts on “Islamic sharia law shuts down .ly link-shortening site

  1. America isn’t likely to find out because all our so called
    frwee press with few exceptions are so far up obamas ass they can’t stop their orgy long enough to get their jobs done.

  2. Am not a techy, so not sure what the .ly shortener means, but anything that restricts a persons right to free speach is bad. If the net can be sensored, that’s bad news for the whole world.

    Can we not retaliate by banning Libya posting insulting sites against Israel? Is this possible?

  3. Let me make it quite clear to you, you seem to missing the point theres a difference between the domain registry rules and those that are so called Shariah laws, basically they haven’t complied with the rules of the registry and have therefore relenquished all rights to their domain, fair game. Weather they are the same as Shariah rule is rather trivial upon registering the client entered into a mutual agreement with the registry as to the terms of such domain registeration, which prohibited the display of what maybe deemed adult material.

    I operate around 20-35 of these .ly domains I operate them as an International client (i.e. having payed the internation price) I am a Libyan citizen yet I do not even mention that anywhere in the body of my domains / registrant details to maintain professionalism. Why haven’t I been shut down?

    Why does this country continue to slag off Libya if they’ve paid for the infastructure etc then they have every right to switch whoever they deem appropriate to be breaking the rules off.

  4. This outcome seems very predictable.

    Given Libya’s political history, what ever possessed you to use their TLD to register your site? There are many other two letter TLDs controlled by countries with much better records regarding free speech, etc.

If sharia law continues spreading, you'll have less and less freedom of speech - so speak while you can!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s