The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

a tangled www
As Iraq lurches toward sovereignty, it's putting in motion a symbol of online statehood: The provisional government has applied for the ".iq" domain fro ICANN.

I'll set up this marker for High.IQ now, as I'm sure that'll be among the first URLs to be claimed.
Although Internet cafes are popping up throughout Baghdad, few people own computers, and even fewer have regular access to the Internet. A recent survey cited by the U.S.-led administration in Iraq found that about 6% of Iraqis say they have access to the Internet but fewer than 2% use it regularly. About 12% of the population reports having a computer.
I appreciate the background on Iraq's digital status, but I'm not sure the implication of the questioning of such an offline country getting it's own domain needs to be brought up. This sort of thing is far from unprecedented. The tiny island nation of Tuvalu, for instance, was assigned the ".tv" domain years ago, despite having a demographic profile of mostly primitive fishing villages. Tuvalu made out well; a company bought the rights to assign the ".tv" domain from the country in exchange for some $10 million. That may not seem like much, but it turned out to be enough to build a fully-staffed healthcare and hospital system for Tuvalu, something they'd been desperately needing for years. Probably a rare case of the Internet truly creating tangible value...