Internet Anthropologist Think Tank: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, battleground in global jihad.

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    Thursday, August 23, 2007

    Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, battleground in global jihad.

    Terror Goes Digital
    By Omar El Akkad
    The Globe and Mail | 8/23/2007

    Welcome to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia – pivotal battleground in the global jihad.

    The town of 7,000 doesn't look the part. Its quietly beautiful downtown lives and dies by tourists. The coastline puts postcards to shame. The New York Islanders have held their training camp here for the past two years. But unwittingly, Yarmouth has become an example of the sort of unassuming places that are serving as relay stations in a virtual war.

    The town is home to a branch of, one of its largest employers and one of the most popular Internet domain-name registration services in the world. For a fee, the company allows users to register website names – the .com, .net or .org addresses you type into your web browser to surf the Internet. Normally, when anyone signs up new domains, they have to provide a name, address and contact information, all of which become publicly available to anyone who's even remotely net-savvy. (The information is copied to one of the central databases that form the backbone of the Internet, to ensure there are no conflicts, such as two separate entities owning the same domain.) But for a few extra dollars, also offers an anonymous registration service: Try to find out who registered any one of these websites, and you'll be handed the same address and phone number in Yarmouth.

    This service is hugely popular: Civil-liberties advocates and anyone else who values their privacy flock to it. But it's also very useful to another group of people, halfway around the globe: On one of the world's largest pro-Hamas websites, viewers can download martyrdom videos that feature the diatribes of masked men shortly before they launch deadly attacks. Look up the registration info for that site, and you'll get that Yarmouth address and phone number.

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