The .io top-level domain name is quite popular with tech companies because of the association of the acronym “IO” for “Input/Output”, a common term in computer science. However, the .io TLD is a country-assigned top-level domain name for the British Indian Ocean Territories.

The original territory, consisting of the Chagos Archipelago, with many small islands. The only inhabitants currently are American (US) and British military personnel and contractors. The original inhabitants, the Chagossians, were forcibly removed to accommodate the military operations during the 60s and 70s. They have wished return, regularly making requests to do, and being continually denied by the UK government.

The problem for companies using the .io domain is that it represents the continued oppression of the original people of the Chagos archipelago. All proceeds from the registration of domain names goes to the Internet Computer Bureau, a former British company now owned by Affilias, a US company. Some of the profits from sales were supposed to go to support the territories, but the British government declared it has never received any money for this, and subsequently denied any responsibility for the support of the Chagossian people.

In 2019, the UN discussed and voted that the Chagos archipelago is properly part of the territory of Mauritius, where the majority of Chagossians were expelled to. According to the resolution and the findings of the International Court of Justice, the UK must return the archipelago to the Chagossians. The UK is denying this, maintaining it’s sovereignty over the islands.

Nevertheless, this forced expulsion is termed a crime against humanity, and the Chagossians receive absolutely no support or remuneration for the use and popularity of the .io domain.

In my opinion, if you’re using a .io domain name, making a contribution to the Chagossian people is necessary, and making unequivocal statements and policies regarding reparations and their repatriations a necessity. Also, find a different TLD.