Hawaii Could Make It a Felony to Cybersquat

Rhett Pardon

HONOLULU — Hawaii legislators are considering amending a bill on unauthorized computer use to include fraudulent use of domain names.

Lawmakers here are weighing the amendment specifically because of the launch of .XXX website UniversityOfHawaii.xxx.

The proposed amendment would piggyback on Hawaii's decade-old statutes on cybersquatting and make it a felony to register domain names that profit by misrepresenting governmental organizations.

Discussion of a proposed amendment to the cybersquatting law was discussed during a state Senate Committee on Economic Development and Technology meeting.

The committee's chair, state Sen. Carol Fukunaga, said she planned to work with the university to amend the bill to incorporate UH officials’ concerns.

Fukunaga, who was unavailable for XBIZ comment to elaborate on a proposed amendment, called the registration of UniversityOfHawaii.xxx as "malicious representation" at the Senate meeting.

The Oahu lawmaker responded to testimony from University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood, who on the discussion of UniversityOfHawaii.xxx, said that "individuals who willfully and purposely attempt to profit through misleading the public by misrepresenting governmental organizations should also be held accountable as the wrongdoers they are.”

Meanwhile, Greenwood has issued an ultimatum to the operators of UniversityOfHawaii.xxx — stop using the name by Friday or face legal claims in federal court. At post time, however, UniversityOfHawaii.xxx redirects to placeholder site IHadYourMama.com.   

Earlier in the week, KITV 4 News discovered someone was attempting to sell another similar University of Hawaii-referenced site — TheUniversityOfHawaii.xxx — at a starting price of $100,000 on auction site eBay.

XBIZ was unable to reach the operators of UniversityOfHawaii.xxx and  TheUniversityOfHawaii.xxx at post time.