With an 116-6 vote the UK could lose the Chagos Islands, and with it, control of .IO domains

There’s a pretty long, not-so-great history related to the UK and control over the Chagos Islands. If you want to know more about the backstory here, GigaOm did a good piece on the Dark Side of .IO back in 2014 that’s worth a read.

Suffice it to say, there has been a lot of controversy around the UK’s involvement in the Chagos Islands, and now, with a huge majority it looks like the overwhelming feeling is, control of the islands should go back to Mauritius.

This week, the UN’s general assembly voted overwhelmingly 116-6 to condemn the UK’s occupation of the Chagos Islands. The non-binding resolution endorsed a decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in February that said the UK continued claim was illegal and the islands should be returned to the former British territory of Mauritius. (Source – TheRegister.co.uk)

For those of you who either run your company on a .IO domain, or own a few as investments, there could be some changes coming you way. That being said, I don’t think we’re talking about the end of .IO, but this could mean that ownership of the popular domain extension could change.

So who actually runs the .IO registry now?

The registry is run by a company run out of London called Internet Computer Bureau (ICB), which also runs the registries for two other historically British territories: .sh and .ac which are the country-code top-level domains (ccTLD) for Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

ICB was given a perpetual license to run the registries by the UK government when the domain was added to the internet in the 1990s and its chief Paul Kane said in 2014 that a certain percentage of any profits are returned to the UK government’s bank account for that specific territory.(Source – TheRegister.co.uk)

If the UK’s claim to the Chagos Islands goes away, so does ICB’s license for .IO. If there were to happen (which it very well could) I think Mauritius would just run the domain extension themselves, it brings in a considerable amount of revenue and would be very likely seen as a positive thing for them. Or at least, that’s my take.

To me it sounds like the UK did some pretty bad stuff here, they shouldn’t have ever had the right to run .IO in the first place, and now, the rightful owner is going to get it back. The chance of them shutting down an extension that is generating a lot of revenue globally seems slim-to-none to me, so in the end, the money just goes to the right place.

Of course, you may know more about this situation than I do because I’m certainly no expert here. I’d be interested to hear your take and what you think the impact to .IO would be long-term.

I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton