Le Squat de l’Identité

Josh Bourne ⬥ 28 November

Zut alors! According to The Guardian, identity squatting is no longer a problem that only American politicians face. It appears that French squatters have a certain savoir faire for the practice as well, and it extends all the way up to the office of Prime Minister. When users type in FrancoisFillon.fr, instead of landing on the site for French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, they are redirected to FrancoisHollande.fr, the site for presidential candidate Francois Hollande.

And what about the current French president, who is seeking reelection next May? Well, NicolasSarkozy2012.fr points to a tattoo artist’s site, and Karachigate.fr (the nickname given to thescandal over a corrupt arms deal from earlier this year) redirects to the site of the Elysée Palace, the French equivalent to the U.S. White House.

But the biggest difference between the U.S. and France when it comes to identity squatting is thepénalité involved. Here, the French add a certain je ne sais quoi, to the tune of jail time and a fine. The country introduced an anti-cybersquatting law last March that goes beyond simply protecting trademarks and intellectual property. The law deems the act of stealing another person’s identity “to attack their honor” punishable by up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of €15,000, or about $20,000. Sacre bleu!

Tags: American politicians, anti-cybersquatting law, domain names, Elysée, enforcement, France, Francois Fillon, Francois Hollande, French president, identity squatting, intellectual property, Prime Minister, The Guardian, trademarks, U.S.

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