VeriSign Seeks Greater Power To Help Law Enforcement Around The Globe Censor Websites They Don't Like

from the this-is-a-problem dept

We've discussed in the past how VeriSign helped make it easy for ICE to seize domain names that use the .com and .net domain names. And now it looks like the company would like to expand those censorship-helping powers to seize domain names of websites at the request of law enforcement around the globe, even without a trial or any sort of due process. The company claims it gets lots of requests from non-US law enforcement for such things. Of course, the proper response is that VeriSign should tell them to pound sand. Instead it's seeking broad powers to help governments censor websites. Scary stuff. Even worse, the company seems to be burying this request in a larger request to be able to take down "malicious" sites, such as those that are spewing malware. That makes it more likely that these powers will be granted. Once again, a reminder that when you have a few private intermediaries who act as gatekeepers, it only serves to enable censorship. Seems like it's time to route around such central gatekeepers.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Oct 12th, 2011 @ 12:50pm

    "Seems like it's time to route around such central gatekeepers."

    May we live in interesting times ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 12th, 2011 @ 1:14pm

    Re: _sigh_

    Let's keep ol' curses out of this, mm'kay?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Cloksin (profile), Oct 12th, 2011 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re: _sigh_

    So lets route around them, and stop using sites that use verisign. Tell the sites we don't like the practices of verisign and until they stop using verisign, we're going to stop using them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    A Dan (profile), Oct 12th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: _sigh_

    You mean all sites ending in ".com" and ".net"? Time to start protesting Techdirt! The time has finally come!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 1:31pm

    Wherever there is censorship, it is a sign that speech is serious.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 12th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    *whips out a crystal ball*
    Ah hello Verisign... you've come to see your future haven't you.... please sit down...
    ommmmm
    I see many, masked people visiting you soon.
    They will bring into the light all of your misdeeds.
    All because you sold out peoples rights.
    I see your servers bursting into flames, and your certs ending up revoked.

    It might not be the 5th of November... but I bet they might make an exception for you.

    Expect them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 1:40pm

    As opposed to the unknown gatekeepers running alternate DNS systems. Yeah... I feel safe!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 1:46pm

    Re:

    sadly verisign has been a laughing stock for sometime now after they sold most of it to Symantec.
    They were always easy to spoof

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Oct 12th, 2011 @ 2:05pm

    Re:

    As opposed to the unknown gatekeepers running alternate DNS systems. Yeah... I feel safe!

    Those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 12th, 2011 @ 2:08pm

    Re:

    Yeah. Best to stay in the house with the kidnapper who routinely bends me over and probes my tailpipe, because you never know what might happen if I try to escape to the house next door to call for help.

    Bring on the butt-bangin'!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 2:13pm

    Let's hope "ICANN's board of directors" decides correctly!

    "a Registry Services Evaluation Process (RSEP) document filed today with ICANN. The RSEP is currently the primary mechanism that registries employ when they want to make significant changes to their contracts with ICANN.
    ...
    But ICANN's board of directors would have the make the ultimate decision whether to approve the anti-abuse policy and the malware-scanning service."

    Real story here is that we're now subject to ICANN! Yet another unaccountable /international/ corporation. So tell me, Mike, how do you propose to get rid of ICANN? You CAN'T just "route around" it, silly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 12th, 2011 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Let's hope "ICANN's board of directors" decides correctly!

    Your dermis is showing! I mean, your ignorance is showing!

    Seriously, do you even understand how the interwebs work?

    I'll explain it: ICANN owns the patent on naming 'tube stops' as well as on maps/directions for navigating the tubes.

    But, it's not like nobody else can make a map, or name a place.

    Anyhow, I amazed you managed to navigate the tubes and find this place! Or, are you lost and unable to find your way to anywhere else?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 2:27pm

    It seems to me the purpose of this move is to legitimize the recent practice of taking down websites based on nothing more than US government claims of infringement. As such, I suspect the Obama administration is ultimately the one behind this proposal. This claim is supported not only by recent domain seizures but also by numerous other examples of the Obama administration bending over backwards to satisfy the whims of its entertainment industry contributors.

    The government's reasoning must be that as long as it's a private organization taking down websites it will not itself be held responsible for improper takedowns, nor will it have to justify such takedowns to any judge. As such, this constitutes the greatest threat to freedom the Internet has ever faced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 2:47pm

    Hmm might be time to set up a private (or open source) DNS server.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re: Let's hope "ICANN's board of directors" decides correctly!

    @ "Lobo Santo": You're the master of irrelevant contradiction. Soon as anyone criticizes Mike, you jump in with some random nonsense and vituperation.

    You wrote: "ICANN owns the patent on naming 'tube stops'"

    So tell me exactly how to "route around" ICANN. Show me where it's been done.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 5:03pm

    Re:

    NameCoin the DNS run by no one used by millions :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 5:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: _sigh_

    Not trying to be difficult, but how do you convince enough people to complain about Verisign to sites? I can't imagine enough people care enough to bother complaining about Verisign much less threaten to stop using their favorite site over it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 5:49pm

    Re:

    This claim is supported not only by recent domain seizures but also by numerous other examples of the Obama administration bending over backwards to satisfy the whims of its entertainment industry contributors.

    For the sake of accuracy, here are the top ten contributors to Obama through the last election cycle. (through PAC's, employees, officers and immediate families). Note that tech giants Google and Microsoft are #4 and 5. Only Time Warner is in the top ten and its business interests are far broader than just Warner Bros. (ie TW Cable, etc) Grouped by industry, Computer/Internet gave slightly more than Motion Picture/TV/Music. So in anticipation of the usual cries that decisions are unduly influenced by a larger contributor, I point this out. (all from Opensecrets.org). Note also that higher education are the biggest contributors who generally are more aligned with the computer/internet industry.


    University of California $1,648,685
    Goldman Sachs $1,013,091
    Harvard University $878,164
    Microsoft Corp $852,167
    Google Inc $814,540
    JPMorgan Chase & Co $808,799
    Citigroup Inc $736,771
    Time Warner $624,618
    Sidley Austin LLP $600,298
    Stanford University $595,716

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 6:17pm

    VeriSign Seeks Greater Power To Help Law Enforcement Around The Globe Censor Websites They Don't Like

    "They Don't Like" Are you serious? That's not a headline, that's a FUDline.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 6:57pm

    It's no surprise that some people do not like the ease of modern day communication amongst the peons and would like to put a stop it. Apparently they realize this would cause much uproar and are attempting the slow and gradual removal of the internet as a communications platform. In its place will be a shiny new and hopelessly useless POS media distribution system much like television.

    Needless to say , these people are short sighted.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: _sigh_

    nah, that's for other people. Don't expect Masnick to put his money where his mouth is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 7:45pm

    Re: Re:

    Silly facts getting in the way of Techdirt's pirate propaganda again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 7:57pm

    Re: Re:

    Funny how your list excludes the approximately 1.3 million dollars David Geffen raised for him? How many other such contributions have you excluded? Also, how do you explain Obama's appointments of numerous people friendly to the entertainment industry and hostile to opposing interests?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    BearGriz72 (profile), Oct 12th, 2011 @ 7:58pm

    Re: Re:

    Is that how VeriSign was supposed to tell them to pound sand?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 8:02pm

    Re:

    Taking down websites based on complaints from law enforcement is very much a matter of censoring websites law enforcers don't like. It's not as it they have to prove any of those websites are breaking the law. Under Verizon's proposal, their complaints are enough.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2011 @ 4:54am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Funny how your list excludes the approximately 1.3 million dollars David Geffen raised for him? How many other such contributions have you excluded?

    I went to Opensecrets.org and cited the source here. You have a citation to offer along with your accusation?

    Also, how do you explain Obama's appointments of numerous people friendly to the entertainment industry and hostile to opposing interests?

    You aren't serios are you? The administration is lousy with Googlers:

    http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/21/technology/obama_google.fortune/

    http://bits.blogs.n ytimes.com/2009/05/29/googles-top-policy-exec-to-join-obama-administration/

    http://www.internetev olution.com/author.asp?section_id=851&doc_id=194575

    http://biggovernment.com/capitolconfident ial/2010/04/27/another-ex-googler-in-obama-administration-buzz-ted-by-google/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    chris, Oct 13th, 2011 @ 6:19am

    Re: Re:

    Maybe, except that nobody actually believes that. How many completely government-less communities are there in the world?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    chris, Oct 13th, 2011 @ 6:27am

    Re: Re:

    I know it's off topic but why the heck is a public school making campaign contributions. Don't they need that money to run the school, and how can such uses be permitted in their budget?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2011 @ 7:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It's from their PAC, officers, employees and families. Not from their operating budget.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2011 @ 9:37am

    Re: Let's hope "ICANN's board of directors" decides correctly!

    like I said, only fools trusted ICANN in the first place. Its used like Microsoft, people use it for convenience since they are the biggest, but nobody ever liked them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2011 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I went to Opensecrets.org and cited the source here. You have a citation to offer along with your accusation?"

    Yes: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,253124,00.html

    "You aren't serios are you? The administration is lousy with Googlers"

    Yeah. So how do you explain Obama's appointments of numerous people friendly to the entertainment industry and hostile to opposing interests?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    The Common Man, Oct 13th, 2011 @ 11:52pm

    Verisign will be denied this new power; it is bad

    You take our freedom and oppress us.
    We are anonymous.
    You will not receive this new power.
    --The Common Man

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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