.cat domains subject to blocking order in Spain

In Spain, judicial authorities have issued an order asking Fundació puntCAT, the registry for .cat (a generic top level domain serving the Catalan linguistic and cultural community), ‘to block all .cat domain names that may contain any kind of information about the forthcoming independence referendum to be held in Catalonia on October 1st’. The referendum had been ruled illegal by the Spanish courts. In a letter sent to ICANN, the registry has expressed concerns over the order, stating that it amounts to a censorship request and ‘places the burden of blocking domain names based on the content they may contain on the Registry operator’. Few days after the order, the Spanish police raided the offices of Fundació puntCAT and arrested the company’s head of IT.