Swiss rules: Want to register a .ch domain? Think again!

If you’re planning to register Swiss domains ending in .ch you might need to reconsider.

Switzerland’s ccTLD became popular due to its apparent locale, oozing neutrality and privacy protection. The use of Swiss domain names by sex workers located in the US and worldwide took off in 2018, after then US president Donald Trump signed the FOSTA-SESTA bill into law.

FOSTA-SESTA is controversial for being broad-reaching in ways that encourage censorship; it hasn’t been that effective in its intended goals either.

So what is the issue with the popular .ch domains as used by sex workers?

On September 1, 2023, a new privacy law took effect in Switzerland; the new Swiss Data Protection Act is an extension of FADP—the Federal Act on Data Protection of 1992. It defines a complex set of rules about how data with an origin in Switzerland should be handled over the internet.

Google announced that it’s amending its privacy rules beyond the European GDPR to incorporate the Swiss privacy law and it seems that the game of cookies is going to get more complicated, including the use of .ch domain names that serve or store content. After all, .ch is Switzerland’s domain.

Perhaps it’s time to block the friendly Swiss from accessing US-based servers altogether?

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