[AI] Beware of cybersquatters!

renuka warriar erenuka at gmail.com
Sun Apr 20 08:54:10 EDT 2008

The Hindu News Update Service
News Update Service
Sunday, April 20, 2008 : 1205 Hrs       

Sci. & Tech.
Beware of cybersquatters! 

New Delhi (PTI): yournameisnotavailable.com. This is not a website address but the virtual consequence after your identity is being "encroached upon" by
someone known as a "squatter", on the internet. 

Cyber forensic experts and lawyers say that the phenomenon of "Cybersquatting", which is the unauthorised occupation of someone's identity on the web, is
assuming "extortionist and threatening" dimensions. 

"For example, the new Miss World is announced in the wee hours, but by the crack of dawn a 'squatter' may have registered a website on her name to extort
money and harass the "new and fast-to-become-popular individual," says Supreme Court lawyer Pavan Duggal. 

A new craze like cricketer Ishant Sharma or actress Deepika Padukone can be sitting ducks for such domain baiters or "squatters" as known in the internet
parlance, Duggal adds. 

A check on the domain name of the Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who has recently completed a decade as the party president, results in -- .com, .net,
.org, .tv, .co.uk, .in, already being "taken". 

A squatter registers websites in the names of popular brands and personalities, who incidentally do not have websites of their own, cyber experts explain.

This leads to misrepresentation in the internet media about the individual or the brand and the victim is forced to cough up money to regain his legitimate
identity or the business revenue he would have earned, thereby making it "extortion" business, they contend. 

Now-a-days the revenue model of the squatters is based on the pay-per-click advertising model, and is part of a larger 'click fraud'. The squatted sites
are also very useful to 'phishers', who may use the site to phish-out personal data. 

"For example, a squatter may book a bank's name and sell it to a phisher who can construct a login interface similar to that of the bank and collect login/passwords,"
says Pradeep Akkunoor, a Certified Fraud Examiner. This is "threatening" the legalities of the cyber transactions, he adds. 

"The Information Technology Act, 2000 is completely silent on any issues of cybersquatting. There is no remedy for a victim, either if he is a common man
or a celebrated one," Duggal avers. 

Sections 65 and 66 (1) of the IT Act, 2000 define tampering with computer source documents and hacking with a computer system respectively, both of which
are awfully distant to address the menace of cybersquatting, say cyber law experts. 

"The Indian grievances of cybersquatting have been majorly dealt under the Trademark Act, as the IT Act 2000 does not have a word about cybersquatting.
The silver-lining is that the Indian courts have been consistent and encouraging enough to give 'injunctions' to the aggrieved parties," Duggal says. 

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