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
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.