What Other Websites Is The US Government Secretly Censoring?

from the questions-to-be-answered dept

We're still trying to understand the overall fallout from last week's news that the feds seized and censored the music blog Dajaz1.com for over a year and blocked every chance for the site to get its day in court... before finally giving up and just handing back the site. And while lots of people have focused on that story, it seems worth asking what about the others? Back in June, we released a list of five domains whose owners had asked the government to return them. Two of them, rojadirecta.org and rojadirecta.com, have been involved in a lawsuit. The government sought to forfeit those two domains (i.e., get to keep them permanently) -- but did so only after rojadirecta's company, Puerto 80, filed a lawsuit officially demanding the return of the domains.

As far as we know, the other three sites all followed a slightly different process, which involved them officially petitioning the government to return the domains -- at which point the government has 90 days to either begin forfeiture procedures or to hand back the domain. That was in early June. As we know, with Dajaz1, the government had already begun getting a series of totally secret (indeed, we have no idea if they really exist) "extensions" from the court to allow them to hang onto the domain much longer without actually facing them in court over a forfeiture process. With Dajaz1, the government finally gave up and gave the domain back.

But there are still two domains unaccounted for: OnSmash.com and Torrent-Finder.com. Again, the list we posted back in June was an official list from DHS/ICE noting sites who had asked for the return of their domain. Even if we assume that such requests were made on June 13th (and they were all made significantly earlier), those domains either should have been returned or forfeiture proceedings started by mid-September at the latest. But we're in December, and as far as we can tell, no such procedures are under way.

That leaves two options: OnSmash and Torrent-Finder rescinded their demands for the return of their domains... or they're currently in the midst of the same Kafka-esque government-run secret censorship program. And, for all we know, there may be other sites as well.

So it seems like Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department (as well as the folks at ICE) have some explaining to do. Who else are they censoring without due process? How many other sites had speech seized and are being denied their day in court? Just how deep does this program of the federal government censoring online websites go?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    A Dan (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 10:28am

    The Trial

    On a somewhat-related point, I would recommend that people read Kafka's "The Trial". It's not easy reading. Know the expression "1984 was not an instruction manual"? If this trend continues, people will be saying that about Kafka soon.

     

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      The eejit (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 10:34am

      Re: The Trial

      The works of Alan Moore aren't manuals, either, but they sure as hell make a pretty good guidebook on "How to Fascism"

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 6:40pm

      Re: The Trial

      I'd add a warning that those who have stomachs that are easily churned take the story into the reading room (aka bathroom) before reading. That way it won't be too far to go when the last two days meals come up.

      That said, it ought to be required reading. Not that it would make one iota of difference to Congress or the bureaucrats. Of course the U.S. Constitution should be too but it seems none of them have read that either or the Declaration of Independence.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 10:35am

    It's not really censoring, it's just 'borrowing' without asking for an indefinite period of time.

    What about the messages saying the sites were seized you ask? Well that was what the government 'borrowed' the sites for, so ICE could look like it was doing something! That's why ICE couldn't just tell the owners that they were merely 'borrowing' their sites either!

    Why haven't the owners been compensated for their 'borrowed' sites? Well would you charge a friend if he wanted to borrow say one of your shirts for an evening? Of course not!

    So why should be concerned about the government 'borrowing' hundred of websites without asking for a seemingly indefinite period of time? Only greedy people don't let their friends 'borrow' stuff indefinitely without asking! Or do you not consider the US government a friend!

     

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    TechnoMage (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 10:38am

    The worst part about Censorship is...

    ~~~~~~~~~~~.

    Here is the full list of the sites that are filtered.

    1) ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    2) ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    3) ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    4) ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    5) ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    6) ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    7) ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    8) ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    [UPDATE:] Thankfully, the Government Censors have already redacted this post, else this site would be in violation of the future SOPA2 law, which de-grandfather clauses the internet.

     

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    BeachBumCowboy, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 10:42am

    Other Websites

    I have personal knowledge of ALL the other websites the government has seized. They are...

    XXXXX.XXX
    XXXXXXX.XXX
    XXX.XXX
    XXXXXX.XXX
    XXXX.XXX
    XXXXXXXXXX.XXX
    XXXXXX.XXX
    .
    .
    .
    XXXXXXX.XXX


    The previous poster's comments have been redacted by ICE. For further questions please send correspondence to:

    US Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    c/o MPAA and RIAA
    Disney World Headquarters
    1494 E Buena Vista Dr.
    Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

     

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    rubberpants, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 11:06am

    For the last time

    It's not censorship if someone from the entertainment industry says thet bet the site is doing something illegal.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 11:24am

    Politician: The word censorship gets thrown around a lot these days...we will soon fix that.


    Headline the next day: ICE Shuts Down All Websites That Contain The Word "Censorship". Claims Victory In War Against Censorship.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 11:53am

    damn, i was really hoping you'd managed to wrangle a statement from those other domain owners.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 11:57am

    What Other Websites Is The US Government Secretly Censoring?

    Is the question here referring to one or more than one web site?

    If one the Web Site is singular with out "s".
    If plural the is should be "are", not "is".

     

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      E. Zachary Knight (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 12:16pm

      Re:

      No. "Other Websites" is the object of the sentence. The subject is actually the "US Government". To rephrase the question in the form of a sentence:

      The US Government Is Secretly Censoring Websites.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 29th, 2012 @ 9:27am

      Re:

      Umm, the subject of the sentence is "The US Government," so "is" is correct regardless of the number of Websites.

       

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    gorehound (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 12:14pm

    The future in America will be one with no rights at all by the way things are slowly going.
    And if so those that have sold us out will rue that day after the people rise up just like they always have done in History Books.
    Is History doomed to repeat itself ?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 1:19pm

      Re:

      History will repeat itself and the fat cats running this country will have their day of reckoning for destroying it eventually.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 12:48pm

    Eric Holder is a tyrant the tree of liberty needs feeding.

     

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    Rekrul, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 1:02pm

    So it seems like Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department (as well as the folks at ICE) have some explaining to do.

    Who will they be doing this explaining to? Clearly the majority of the US government doesn't care. The courts don't care or they wouldn't have signed the papers in the first place. Sure, a lot of the people care, but that doesn't count for squat in today's world.

    The various agencies of the US government consider themselves untouchable by the law. Sadly, it looks like they're right...

     

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    BeachBumCowboy, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 1:58pm

    Rights

    As George Carlin said, "We don't have rights in this country, we have privileges. Rights cannot be taken away. Privileges can."

    It is pretty apparent the Government is happy to take away our privileges when it suits the "Government's" needs. It is also apparent that most of the citizenry is content to let them do it.

     

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    Robert Shaver, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 4:39pm

    How to make a new link from an IP address

    If a web site looses its domain name, it can create another one like this one I created at tinyURL(dot)com. It will only work for web sites that are not sharing an IP address with other web sites ... which is quite common ... virtual hosting.

    http://tinyurl.com/yahoooShort

    But I can conceive of a similar service which would let the URL creator add the needed data which it would fill in when someone clicked on the shortened link.

    Though I suppose ICE might seize tinyurl too since the law doesn't seem to apply to them.

     

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    Violated (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 5:37pm

    Scary

    If ICE believe in secret government then it begs the question... What else are they hiding? This may be more than just some injustice for some seized domains.

     

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    Archive geek, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 5:18pm

    Have they ever heard the term "backup"?

    The wayback machine is very helpful if you need "research data" from those blocked sites:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20101101121536/http://www.rojadirecta.com/

     

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