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)

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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 ...

     

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

      Re: _sigh_

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

       

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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.

         

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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!

           

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            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.

             

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          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.

           

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

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

     

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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.

     

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

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

     

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    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.

     

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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?

       

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        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.

         

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      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.

       

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    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.

     

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      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

       

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

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

     

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    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.

     

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      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.

       

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    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.

     

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    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

     

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