The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. The gun lobby here and elsewhere is steadfast in its opposition to firearms registration because it feels, perhaps rightly, that when the state knows who owns guns and where those weapons are it will be too easy for the government to disarm its citizenry, a precursor to aborted democracy. It’s an easy argument to understand, and perhaps even sympathize with. At least in the United States, individual firearm ownership is considered a key foundation of freedom, and measures that give the government information to ease the curtailment of that freedom are opposed vociferously. The same simple logic applies to the current debate over lawful access laws, and the rationale for registering ISPs or facilitating wiretaps on electronic communications. The centre named for famed Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal is asking that anyone who wants to exercise control over what they may or may not express in the way of ideas on the Internet be forced to register with the government. Its call should be taken seriously, but ultimately should be rejected. Domain name or web site ownership is increasingly a free proposition, available to anybody. It is not the same as television or radio broadcasting or print media. Those outlets are controlled by gatekeepers. A web site run at a domain bought and paid for by the individual can be used as that user wishes. It’s not a stretch to say a web site is the digital equivalent of the firearm – a bulwark defending democracy by ensuring free speech. It’s not a leap to say that registering a web site is like registering a weapon, making it easier to find. Access to the Internet won’t be controlled by ISPs forever, and when their gatekeeping function over hosting and access is removed, individually owned and controlled web sites will be difficult for governments to pursue. That is a trend we should encourage, not discourage. We have hate laws that may or may not properly outlaw certain forms of speech. Though web site registration might improve the odds of enforcing those laws, the potential loss to our individual freedoms would be too much to bear.