Are URL shorteners like bit.ly, which transform long web addresses into short links for social networking sites such as Twitter, a security risk? Anil Dash, a blogging expert working on government connectivity, thinks so, and urges the White House Twitter feed to avoid using the service. As he tells New York Times technology blogger Nick Bilton:
Bit.ly ends in .ly, which is actually a Libyan domain name. Probably not the best idea for the U.S. government to use. If the White House is sending me a Tweet, I need to know that it’s going to a trusted government resource.
Is Dash right to be concerned? Although its URL is associated with Libyran web addresses, bit.ly is an American company--it's not as if all its links are routed through Colonel Qaddafi's Blackberry. Nevertheless, Dash thinks the government would be wise to use go.usa.gov instead. He later quotes L.L. Cool J on an unrelated point.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.