The dark side of .io: How the U.K. is making web domain profits from a shady Cold War land deal

The .io domain is a hit, but few startups using it appreciate the associations it carries — a mass expulsion that took place within living memory, and a crucial staging-post for the “War on Terror”.

The .io country code top-level domain is pretty popular right now, particularly among tech startups that want to take advantage of the snappy input/output reference and the relative availability of names — Fusion.io, Wise.io and Import.io are just a few examples. But who benefits from the sale of .io domains? Sadly, not the people who ultimately should.

.io is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the British Indian Ocean Territory.

While .tv brings in millions of dollars each year for the tiny South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, and .me benefits Montenegro, the people of the British Indian Ocean Territory, or the Chagos Islands, have no such luck. Indeed, profits from the sale of each .io domain flow to the very force that expelled the Chagossian or Ilois people from their equatorial land just a generation or two ago: the British government. Read more

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