Why Did The US Gov't Take Down A British Travel Agent's Websites?
from the jurisdictional-questions dept
Over the years, we’ve seen a ton of jurisdictional questions raised by the internet. After all, since the internet is available just about anywhere, and content on it may break laws in some countries, but not others, how do you handle the jurisdiction question. Some courts have determined that it doesn’t matter — and they’ll claim jurisdiction for whatever they want. Others suggest that evidence needs to be shown that the content is directed at and was seen by many people within the jurisdiction. Others have held that it needs to be created by a local resident or hosted on a local server. However, with all that said, it’s not clear what jurisdiction the US government seems to be claiming over a bunch of websites created by a British travel agent. The websites all advertise trips to or information about Cuba. The websites were designed for European travelers to plan trips to the island nation. Now, it’s well known that US citizens are not allowed to travel to Cuba, but that’s not true of people from other countries. So, this guy clearly was not breaking any laws.
No matter, though. Since he had registered the domains for his various websites through eNom, an American company, the US Treasury Department had them pull down his sites and to refuse to release them to another registrar. There’s no doubt that if the sites were targeting Americans or was run by an American travel agency, you could understand these actions. But to take down a UK-based website that was aimed at European travelers, offering them perfectly legitimate trips to Cuba, seems to go beyond any reasonable jurisdictional claim.