UK Law Enforcement Also Looking To Be Able To Seize Domains

from the it's-spreading... dept

Ah, the power of censorship. It appears that some other countries may be jealous of Homeland Security getting to seize all those domain names, or the proposed COICA law that would allow even more domain seizures in the US. drew points out that, over in the UK, law enforcement is also asking for official power to force Nominet to shut down domains that it claims were "used by criminals." That seems pretty broad. Lots of domains are "used by criminals" in one way or another, does that mean they should automatically have the right to shut those domains down? And with both the US and the UK looking for such rights, won't more and more countries now start to follow? It certainly makes you wonder about the impact of the overall internet, when various countries can just seek to shut down various domains without any trial determination.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Dave, Feb 16th, 2011 @ 4:16am

    Techdirt is next...

     

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    •  
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      ethorad (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 5:26am

      Re:

      Or google - I assume that's used by a lot of criminals

      Unless there's some crime-specific search engine that's optimised for "fast getaway car" and "poor security bank" type searches?

       

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      fogbugzd (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 5:40am

      Re:

      >>Techdirt is next...

      Unfortunately, you probably are not far from the truth. The established trajectory of the actions would put Techdirt in the path of an eventual take down. The pattern of the seizures seems to ignore any freedom of speech issues or the overall legality of the site in question. The only common thread in the seizures is that established industries consider the site inconvenient. Techdirt has had several links to file locker services which the industry considers piracy (never mind that the courts disagree). TD has also had links to multiple artists and works which are not actually under industry copyright, but which various collection societies still claim the right to demand royalties on. Those actions make it guilty of inducing infringement in the eyes of many in the industry.

      The knowledge that TD would probably fight a seizure directly is the one thing that might prevent its shutdown. I just hope that Bradley Manning didn't confess under torture that he had any prior contacts with Mike.

       

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      btrussell (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 6:01am

      Re:

      You never know who will be next.

      "U.S. Government Shuts Down 84,000 Websites, ‘By Mistake’"
      http://torrentfreak.com/u-s-government-shuts-down-84000-websites-by-mistake-110216/

       

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    Chris in Utah (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 4:17am

    My first thought...

    It certainly makes you wonder about the impact of the overall internet, when various countries can just seek to shut down various domains without any trial determination.

    ... Let alone "just cause" and yes the pun came intended.

     

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    Alex, Feb 16th, 2011 @ 4:17am

    All this will do, ultimately, is fuel the development of a DNS that isn't centralised and can't be 'pulled' by governments.

     

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      Hephaestus (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 6:35am

      Re:

      Agreed. And when google get pressured into removing links from its search it will cause a new search engine to happen. Its pretty sad the governments of the world do not see this. They seem to be acting the same way the old gatekeepers are.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 16th, 2011 @ 7:36am

      Re:

      And until this system comes online we can all just use IP addresses. Techdirt's is http://208.53.48.129

      Just save that in your favorites and it doesn't matter who seizes the domain.

       

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        vivaelamor (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 2:10pm

        Re: Re:

        "Just save that in your favorites and it doesn't matter who seizes the domain."

        That doesn't solve everything. First thing that springs to mind is email.

         

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    John Doe, Feb 16th, 2011 @ 4:26am

    Hopefully this goes full scale soon

    Hopefully they start shutting down other countries domains, like the US has already done, so that international complaints might bring this to a stop. It sickens me to see the US government ignoring our constitutional rights so easily now.

     

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      Michael, Feb 16th, 2011 @ 4:46am

      Re: Hopefully this goes full scale soon

      Why do you think this would give any incentive for the US to stop? We routinely ignore international complaints.

      Don't worry, if some other country shuts down the domain of a company with lobbying power in the US, it will get turned right back on.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 16th, 2011 @ 9:01am

        Re: Re: Hopefully this goes full scale soon

        Would that work if for example Canada seized all physical and financial assets from Warner Music because they were accused of pirating some music?

        Also Mugabe has a excuse to seize everything, Venezuela will not have to take drastic measures, Bolivia will also have a good time seizing assets from evil international corporations, China will have a blast, South Korea could do it in a focused measure and Europe will try hard to maintain an image but will come down hard on foregein companies specially in Italy, France and Germany, it will be fun.

        India could also start seizing assets from big pharma if they business are seized overseas because of counterfeit claims in retaliation.

        This will be fun to watch.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 16th, 2011 @ 8:49am

      Re: Hopefully this goes full scale soon

      The horse is already out of the barn, and this is actually a good tool for protectionism so you can expect lots of other countries to enact such laws that will enable not only domain seizure but any other assets too, why work hard when you can just accuse your competitor and have all his assets seized?

      America is teaching people how to be anti competitive and this will have profound consequences for U.S. interests.

       

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    abc gum, Feb 16th, 2011 @ 4:33am

    Better shut down those highways as I'm sure they are used by criminals.

     

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    xenomancer (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 4:45am

    The p2p DNS is going to blind side these cretins. The developing technology and concomitant discussion are open and free (right in front of them), yet they're still attempting to utilize the current infrastructure to direct communication as they see fit. It would be nice to see their faces when they ask "why is this website still online?" and the answer is "we don't control the internet (anymore)."

     

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      Graham Webster, Jun 2nd, 2011 @ 10:14am

      Re: Technology progress's for everyone not just one side

      you do realise that Governments have near limitless funds to pursue better technologies especially countries like the UK and US they will always be one step ahead and will always come up with tech that can allow them to pull the plug.

       

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    Pickle Monger (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 4:45am

    Nothing to do with this

    Here's something that just occurred to me. The time stamp on this is 4:04 am. Does Mike sleep?

     

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    Andrew (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 4:52am

    One of the BBC's linked articles says "[t]he police are seeking powers to shut down websites deemed to be engaged in "criminal" activity", which seems less broad than "used by criminals". So that, at least, is good. :)

    The Nominet issue group brief that will discuss this matter says that

    Nominet does not have any clear obligation in its registrant Terms and Conditions that a domain name should not be used in connection with any activity that would constitute an offence under UK criminal law. This is in contrast to many registrars and a number of registries including .org and .biz.

    Despite this lack of obligation, apparently Nominet cooperated with the police to take down 1200 UK domains before Christmas this year.

    According to the police press release, the sites targeted were selling counterfeit goods. (Though of course that's been conflated with other stuff people don't like...)

    Lesley Cowley, chief executive of Nominet, said: "We received clear instructions from the PCeU to take down the .co.uk domain names, which have been under investigation for criminal activity. We worked closely with the police and our registrars to quickly carry out the instruction to shut down access to these sites.

    I can find no mention of due process in the press release.

     

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      Andrew (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 4:56am

      Re:

      (Though of course that's been conflated before with other stuff people don't like...)

      Some day I shall learn to proof read.

       

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      Richard (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 7:53am

      Re:

      In other linked articles there is talk of "this has to be done with the agreement of a judge etc" - so it may be that after the consultation things might end up better than now (at present Nominet is under no obligation to act - but does so anyway with no real oversight.)

       

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        Andrew (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 9:41am

        Re: Re:

        Ah, thanks. Missed that. The seizures in the US with judges apparently rubber stamping requests are not a great precedent, but at least there would be some judicial oversight.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 16th, 2011 @ 5:03am

    Sorry guys, I've been using techdirt for years now.. and I'm defiantly a criminal... maybe you'll have to have a confirmation "are you sure you aren't a criminal?" on entry.

     

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      Call me Al, Feb 16th, 2011 @ 5:21am

      Re:

      A bit like the US Immigration forms "Are you, or have you ever, been involved in plans to overthrow the US Government" or words to that effect. Always made me chuckle to imagine someone evil but honest ticking the box.

       

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        fogbugzd (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 6:12am

        Re: Re:

        >>A bit like the US Immigration forms "Are you, or have you ever, been involved in plans to overthrow the US Government" or words to that effect.

        I figure that the only people who check that are people who are just joking or who check it by mistake. I wonder how much money the government has had to spend running down bogus answers to this question.

         

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        The eejit (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 6:33am

        Re: Re:

        I did, and I still got in. Granted, this was in 1995, but still.

         

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        Richard (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 7:50am

        Re: Re:

        A bit like the US Immigration forms "Are you, or have you ever, been involved in plans to overthrow the US Government" or words to that effect. Always made me chuckle to imagine someone evil but honest ticking the box.

        Many years ago I remember a story of someone who ticked the box and wrote underneath "Sole purpose of visit".
        He still got in - but that was in the days when officials still had a sense of humour!

         

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      CommonSense (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 7:17am

      Re:

      Defiantly a criminal huh? Well I am definitely glad you came clean to us about it, but I wonder who or what it is exactly you are trying to defy...

       

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    Overcast (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 7:35am

    More virtual book burnings.

     

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    The Original Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 16th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    This will mean that we just have to back to memorizing IP addresses...

    ... but we'll have to make sure that there are enough IPv6 addresses to go around so that as they are confiscated, we can still get a new one.

    Let's see, did that old Techdirt domain name point to 208.53.48.128 or .129?

     

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