China bans 12,000 words from internet
China has flexed its censorship muscle again by banning 12,000 words from use as domain names across the world.AFP/ PETER PARKS

If you're keen on using words such as freedom, liberty or democracy for your domain name, then you had better go back to the drawing board because China has successfully managed to ban 12,000 words it finds politically offensive from use around the world.

The global ban applies to words used in domain names registered through Los Angeles-based registry XYZ.com with suffixes of .xyz, .college, .rent, .protection and .security.

For instance, if the owners of the Human Rights in China website, who already have hrichina.org, wanted to register the hrichina.xyz domain it would be denied.

The block goes as far as banning Taylor Swift's official website, ts1989.xyz, as it could be a reference to the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

According to Wall Street Journal, XYZ.com said China had given it 12,000 words to ban from its web addresses and it had supported the Chinese government's implementation of the censorship by filing a request with ICANN.

With approximately 300,000 of XYZ.com domains believed to be owned by customers based in China, it is understandable from a business point-of-view why it would want to help the Chinese government, but there are clearly moral ramifications of a global ban on certain words.

The US government and ICANN

The full list of banned words hasn't been disclosed but the application added that China would continue to update to the blacklist.

The US government could still step in to stop the ban, before it cedes control of the top level of the internet to the domain name overseer, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).