Taking back control – but from whom?

Taking back control – but from whom?

Did you know that the US Government can bring your website down without any warning?

Well, if you have a .com domain name, they can. Wherever you are based. In fact they did just that, to us.

On Wednesday of last week, we stopped receiving external emails. After a very short investigation, our IT support company pointed out that our domain name had been ‘seized’.

It’s a unique feeling to be presented with the message at the top of this page when you type in your website address.

It’s also a unique feeling to be communicating with a Special Agent in Homeland Security about a case of mistaken identity that has swept up your website amongst hundreds of others being investigated for illegal prostitution activities in the US. And then dealing with a US Attorney and a District Court in New York. And then signing a document that both acknowledges our innocence and removes our right to claim against the US Government  for any damages incurred.

You really couldn’t make it up.

We now have our domain name back, emails are coming through again, and once the updates have washed their way through the system, everyone will be able to visit our website again.

Aside from the reputational damage and loss of potential business this has potentially resulted in, I guess we can count ourselves lucky that we are not an ecommerce business. Because we might now be entirely out of business. And while it makes for a great story down the pub, or in client meetings, there is a serious point here. Much is made of the evils of state control in places like China and Russia, and that’s all true. But don’t underestimate the power of the state in the good old US of A. Our best buddies, when they feel like it. And our great Post-Brexit Hope for trade partnership.

As long as it’s on their terms.

And playing by their rules.

Even if you don’t know what they are.

The ultimate post-Brexit irony for us (we are not fans) is that in order to get beyond the reach of the long arm of Uncle Sam, we would have to revert to a .co.uk domain. Feels like a bit of a backward move, don’t you think?

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