Domain names are widely used to ensure that email is delivered to the right inbox or to allow users to access a particular website. The system includes a large database that matches the domain name (e.g. michaelgeist.ca) to a specific IP address (i.e. the location of the computer server). The system is used billions of times every day to route Internet traffic to its intended destination.
As every Internet user knows, inadvertently entering the wrong email or web address typically means that the email bounces back or takes the user to an unexpected destination. As my weekly technology law column notes (Toronto Star version, homepage version), legislators have now begun to consider the possibility of intentionally stopping access to certain sites by ordering Internet providers to block access to their domain names.