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Thursday, 13 April, 2000, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Cyber-squatters target Irish PM

Irish politicians are being advised to register their names as websites to stop cyber-squatters abusing their titles.

The warning comes as the question of a pornographic website set up under the name of Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern was raised at the parliament in Dublin.

The issue arose on Thursday during Dail questions to the premier on government plans to promote greater internet use in Ireland.

Mr Ahern is one of a number of leading Irish figures in political and other fields to have domain names on the worldwide web misappropriated.



The protections there at the moment are not effective

Bertie Ahern
In the case of the Taoiseach, users who click a web address bearing his name are taken to a pornographic site.

Mr Ahern was quizzed about his reaction to the move by Fine Gael opposition party deputy leader Nora Owen.

The Taoiseach said: "It has led to mail and contact from people all over the place, who either believe it is factual - or want to believe it is factual.

"It's the kind of mail that I don't think anybody particularly wants.

"I have had a number of people who have offered to look at this, but I don't think legislation will resolve it.

Squatters demand £1m

"The people who I think are behind it have offered that I can buy it for IRL£1 million. They remind me of that every few days" he said.

"Apparently this is a worldwide phenomenon.

"It does seem that there is some way to tackle this and I have received correspondence from the United States, where this is prevalent.

"But, to be frank, it is enormously complex.

"The protections there at the moment are not effective."

Mr Ahern secured sympathy from Irish Labour leader Ruairi Quinn, who has suffered a similar problem, although the site in his name has not been used for pornographic purposes.

Other politicians to have been targeted include the Tanaiste (deputy prime minister).

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28 Apr 99 | Talking Point
Does the Internet need policing?
10 Feb 99 | Entertainment
Consumer council demands single watchdog
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