Homeland Security Tries And Fails To Explain Why Seized Domains Are Different From Google

from the keep-trying dept

The Marketplace radio show from American Public Media spoke to Special Agent James Hayes from Homeland Security, who was apparently in charge of the “raids” (if you can call them that) that involved the seizing of domain names under the legally questionable theory that linking to infringing material is, by itself, criminal copyright infringement. I’ve yet to find any legal expert who seems to believe that the law actually says this anywhere.

In the interview, John Moe asked Agent Hayes a very simple question: given that these domains were all seized based solely on the fact that they link to infringing content hosted elsewhere, and all of the same content is also linked from Google, will the Feds seize Google’s domain name? Well, more specifically, Moe asks if ICE could seize Google’s domain name. Amusingly, right after being asked, Hayes conveniently gets cut off, but he does call back and the question is asked again. You can hear the whole thing here:

However, once he gets back, he tries to tap dance around this issue. Hayes says “no” that ICE will not seize Google’s domain name and that’s because it’s only targeting sites that “don’t do due diligence” to make sure that the content they’re linking to isn’t infringing. There’s a pretty serious problem with this claim in that it’s wrong on both sides of the equation. First off, Google, as a search engine, does no due diligence to check that links only go to non-infringing content. Second, in at least some of the cases (specifically in the case of dajaz1), we know that it was actually Homeland Security and folks like Special Agent Hayes who “failed to do their due diligence,” so the songs named in the ICE affidavit were, in fact, provided by the labels or representatives of the musicians. In other words, according to Special Agent Hayes’ own criteria, Google is more of a criminal operation that Dajaz1.

Hayes then goes on to repeat the long-debunked talking points of the industry — insisting that anyone watching a PPV event without paying represents lost revenue. Apparently all the studies that say this isn’t the case don’t matter, so long as someone who directly financially benefits from Hayes’ actions tells him otherwise. On top of that Hayes claims that this leads to lost tax revenue and jobs. Of course, this has also been debunked, since the money “not spent” on these events doesn’t disappear, but is still spent in the market and, quite conceivably, ends up going to fund more jobs and industries with higher tax rates.

Also amusing is that Hayes uses this massively tenuous link to “tax revenue” to answer the question so many people have been asking: what the hell does Immigration and Customs have to do with a foreign website? The answer, apparently, is that ICE’s mission is to protect the US Treasury and one part of that is to protect tax revenue. Of course, that argument makes no sense. By that same reasoning, when Henry Ford first started mass producing cars, Customs should have shut him down because it killed off jobs in the horse carriage industry, thus decreasing the tax base from that industry. Of course, everyone who thinks this through realizes that’s silly, because the money didn’t disappear, it shifted elsewhere — to a more efficient arena, which actually resulted in economic growth and greater taxes. What Hayes and ICE are doing here is the opposite. They’re holding back more efficient distribution systems, stifling speech and hindering economic growth, which actually will result in a smaller tax base.

Moe pushes back a little and asks Hayes if he thinks that linking is the same as hosting the content. Hayes doesn’t answer, but simply says that they’re targeting the sites that “get a lot of traffic,” to which Moe reasonably shoots back: “Well, Google gets a lot of traffic.” Hayes then makes stuff up about how a search engine is different, but that’s based on nothing factual. He makes an artificial distinction and then finally states “well, it’s a difference in our mind.” Great, so because ICE is technically clueless and thinks there’s a difference, it’s all fine and dandy?

Moe then asks Hayes if he links to a site that has infringing content from his Public Radio blog, will ICE shut down the site. And Hayes makes a really weird remark that makes no sense, sayings that if Moe “gets advertising funds from a site that provides unauthorized content” then he might have to shut them down. But that’s something new. We’ve seen no assertions or evidence that the sites that have been take down received ads from the other sites that were hosting the content. Is Hayes totally making stuff up now? It sounds like Hayes doesn’t even understand what he’s talking about.

Finally, Moe asks: if a site links and embeds to all the same content, but does not profit from it (i.e., does not have advertising), is it criminal? Hayes totally punts and says he’d have to check the law. Yes, really. So the guy is not an expert on the technology and admits he’s not an expert on the law in question. So what is he an expert in and why is he leading these questionable seizures?

On a separate note, it’s nice to see that Homeland Security is willing to chat with the press again after telling us that it will not speak about these issues because it’s an “ongoing investigation before court.” Apparently, Homeland Security was also lying to me (though, we knew that already).

What’s scary about this is that every time someone from Homeland Security speaks on this issue, they display some pretty serious ignorance of the technical issues and of the specific details of the questions people are asking. They seem to get around these with wishful thinking about how — in their minds — these sites are “different.”

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Comments on “Homeland Security Tries And Fails To Explain Why Seized Domains Are Different From Google”

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131 Comments
RandomGuy (profile) says:

Re: Re: The answer is obvious...

I was about to post the same thing.

Google is collaborating with the three letter agencies and their subsidiaries. Why bite the hand that feeds them?

It’s much easier to target the smaller video sharing sites to establish a precedent for shutting down websites serving “unauthorized content”.

“First they came for the filesharing websites, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a filesharing website…” etc.

TheStupidOne says:

I wasn’t aware that homeland security was in charge of protecting tax revenue and jobs. I thought they were in charge of keeping the homeland safe. I thought ICE in particular was all about keeping dangerous and illegal originating outside the country outside.

Apparently I fail at understanding the roles of our government agencies.

crade (profile) says:

I find it strange how this guys who appears to be in the enforcement wing seems to think it’s on him to make these decisions and never once mentions how they relate to actual laws (you know the ones that the elected officials are supposed make decisions on).

I get the impression from this guy that enforcement action is based on his opinion about these websites rather than even pretending it is about enforcing the law. Is that sort of language common there? He sounds more like a politician talking about how the law *should* be than an official talking about how it is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Enforcement agents don’t need to know any of that stuff in depth, they get a briefing on the law and that is all, the real people behind all of this is AG, that give them talking points and send them to be humiliated in public.

Those agents are the canaries, if they die in public it was not the AG who go home and try again, and again until he comes up with something that works or gives up.

In this case he should save tax payers money go home already.

Modplan (profile) says:

Every time this issue comes up, the most substantial argument that seems to be made (one of the few) is that the sites in question made significant money from putting links and/or shows up.

1) Where is the factual evidence gathered as part of the investigation that actually indicates this

2) As has been pointed out before, if these sites can apparently make so much money that even the likes of ICE has to get involved, why don’t copyright holders provide or partner with these sites themselves

Also note a subtle reference to stolen goods, and particularly odd idea that ICE is in particular an organisation uniquely suited to “defending the treasury” (what the fuck?). The linking logic is also bunk – it’s completely the reverse of stopping or simply reducing the source of piracy which would make the most sense to instead playing directly into the whac-a-mole situation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Targeting

Hayes says “no” that ICE will not seize Google’s domain name and that’s because it’s only targeting sites that “don’t do due diligence” to make sure that the content they’re linking to isn’t infringing.

So, apparently, he thinks they could if they wanted to but they they don’t want to. In other words, they’re using selective enforcement, otherwise known as “targeting”.

Mike, are you sure that you’re still a big fan of selective enforcement?

Anon (user link) says:

Re: Anonymous Coward

Then what is the ATF for exactly? We dont need any of these agencies and yet we have 5 or 6 doing the same needless job that only makes free trade, and therefore a prosperous society more difficult.

Please dont defend agencies when they steal others property, if they truly broke copyright laws, then fine them substantially, but you cannot just take away their livilihood for something that they may not even know was against the law, and isnt in their home country. How would you feel if you built up a web site, esp in Spain where there is even less ecomonomic oppurtunity, and got it to make enough revenue to live on, only to wake up one morning to find it siezed by a foreign government, say the Chinese for this example. Would kinda make you hate that country huh? I wonder why so many people hate the U.S. when we make it our business to police the world, police the internet, police the food, etc. Not to mention have huge military bases in tons of others countries, how would it make you feel to have a Chinese base with 50,000 Chinese soldiers in it in say St. Louis?

average_joe says:

Due diligence?

But it does apply to third parties that offer a service which in this case is all of those websites.

Not if that service is infringement. Nor does Section 230 protect any criminal activity:

(e) Effect on other laws
(1) No effect on criminal law
Nothing in this section shall be construed to impair the enforcement of section 223 or 231 of this title, chapter 71 (relating to obscenity) or 110 (relating to sexual exploitation of children) of title 18, or any other Federal criminal statute.

47 U.S.C. 230(e)(1)

Anonymous Coward says:

Due diligence?

Section 230 does not apply to copyright or trademark infringement.

Section 230(c)(1):

“No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

Strange, I don’t see “except in cases of copyright or trademark infringement” anywhere in there.

TasMot (profile) says:

Buy why just the LINK sites

What is totally lacking from this pogrom is an explanation of why they are going after “LINK” sites. If a site is just linking to somewhere else that has infringing material, why not go after the target of the link? That would kill two potential “infringers” with one action. Instead they just keep going after the linking sites. It must be job security. If there is one site hosting infringing material, they don’t shut down just that one, they go after the other 10 that are linking to it. Then, they have 10 times as much work to do, which really keeps them busy. Next year, that one site hosting the infringing material is still there, so they can go after 10 more linking sites. Wow, a permanent career going after the linking sites while not shutting down the original potential infringers. Since I figured this out, I guess I shouldn’t go into law enforcement (well civilian infringement enforcement).

Cardinal (profile) says:

Let’s see…say I live in lower Mississipi, but I “just happen” to run across a broadcast of the Miami Heat vs. the Detroit Pistons – please tell me how my viewing is depriving anyone of revenue since:
1) I don’t live in either NBA city;
2) Chances are the game isn’t being nationally broadcasted, so it would be otherwise unavailable to me since I live outside the local broadcast areas; and
3) If it were a national broadcasted game, I would view it on TV since I’m less likely to experience video interruption.

Heck, even if one lives in an NBA city, but one’s favorite team is elsewhere and therefore unavailable through broadcast TV, that’s not going to make one run out to the local arena to view a team one has no interest in seeing.

If the pro sports league would recognize that: 1) internet broadcasts are a legitimate broadcast medium; and 2) do away with the antiquated idea that games of teams one really wants to see should not be available to anyone except the residents of those regions, many viewrs of “pirated” broadcasts would be quite willing to pay a reasonable amount to view a favorite team – without restriction – all season long.

MrWilson says:

Let me get this straight...

So DHS is arguing that it’s their job to protect tax revenue and jobs, so they’re going after websites that link to other websites that host content that can’t even be legitimately linked to the loss of jobs and thus tax revenue.

They’re doing this with the encouragement of large corporations that don’t pay their own employees/independent contractors what they’re owed by way of dodgy accounting methods, ship manufacturing jobs overseas, and film movies in other countries because it’s cheaper.

The wolf is directing the shepherd to kill the sheep because the sheep are a danger to the flock.

Anonymous Coward says:

I love this sort of discussion, mostly because it shows how far off Mike Masnick is on these issues.

Google, as a search engine, does no due diligence to check that links only go to non-infringing content.

As an automated search engine, Google does not pre-check or pre-screen links. However, if they are notified of an infringing site (via a DMCA notice) the page / link in question is removed from their service. They are very responsive to DMCA notices.

Google also blocks and tags sites that may harm your computer.

The differences on these sites is critical: a hand written blog with posts full of embeds of infringing material is somewhat different from automated bot systems. The question also becomes one of intent, action, and involvement in content of the website.

At the end of the day, the biggest difference is in how Google handle’s it’s responsiblities, and how other sites do not.

Sterno says:

Re: Re:

Did any of these sites refuse to abide by a legal DMCA notice? Can we guess NO, since the government would certainly be trumpeting that fact, were it the case?

So it all comes down to the “intent of the bot” used to gather information from other web sites? It should bother you that the US Government has become the thought police. What if they don’t like YOUR intent next time?

slacker525600 (profile) says:

doublespeak

“debunked talking points of the industry — insisting that anyone watching a PPV event without paying represents lost revenue. Apparently all the studies that say this isn’t the case don’t matter, so long as someone who directly financially benefits from Hayes’ actions tells him otherwise”

correction: so long as someone who thinks they will directly financially benefit …

These seizures dont really accomplish anything as every site can go right back up with a different domain. And the seizures don’t increase revenue because the sites in question take away from the customer base to begin with.

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Re:

Overly critical?! I don’t think people are critical enough. I love the US and the government *system*, but we have lost control of the government, partially due to our own fault, but in no small part due to greed and legal bribery known as lobbying, and due to people like you, who make excuses for the government no matter how egregious its actions.

average_joe says:

Due diligence?

No, civil would be if the person being offended demanded an injunction. The government doesn’t have standing to sue on my, or a corporations, behalf, it can prosecute criminal offenses and things like traffic violations (which are still technically considered criminal).

I don’t really follow you. These seizures are civil forfeiture proceedings. It says so right in the affidavit and seizure warrant that they are done pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 2323(a), the civil forfeiture statute.

Here’s one of the warrants: http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/06/30/Warrant.pdf

Anonymous Coward says:

“Well, it’s a difference in our mind.”

That’s just precious, Hayes. Why not just admit you’re being paid to see a difference? Everyone’s already read between the lines.

We’ve seen no assertions or evidence that the sites that have been take down received ads from the other sites that were hosting the content.

Mike, I think he means “if you’re getting more money from your ads than you would have otherwise because your site links to a site that provides unauthorized content”.

RikuoAmero (profile) says:

Re:

I think you must be mixing up the Google search engine with the Youtube site. While Google does own Youtube, and will remove a video from Youtube if a copyright claim is made against it, it does not do the same for its search listings. It removes links to child porn, true, and will block websites that have malware, but it does not remove search listings because of DMCA notices.
I can search Google for Piratebay, Megaupload, Rapidshare, Fileserve, and all of them will be shown.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Spain’s sovereignty doesn’t cover US based domain services. There is nothing done here that in any way attacks Spain, just a Spanish company who are making a living by ignoring the rights of US companies.

Slacker: If you look a little more deeply and spend more time understanding the legal issues, you will understand that the first amendment challenge would be exceptionally weak. There are already rulings in favor of action when legal and illegal speech are mixed. So the 1st is a non-starter. 4th? It isn’t a blanket coverage against legal action. Between complaints by copyright holders and what was plain sight on the websites in question, it isn’t hard to get to probably cause. 5th? Did they say anything?

Sorry, the constitutional arguments so far are pretty weak.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Google will also remove search listings when notified by copyright holders (most notices are posted on chillingeffects).

I can search Google for Piratebay, Megaupload, Rapidshare, Fileserve, and all of them will be shown.

Yes, because DMCA applies to single items, not whole sites. If pirate bay has 1 million listings, it would take 1 millon dmca notices to get all of the pages out of Google.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Actually, it does.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2194/is_n10_v63/ai_16389024/

Conspiracy to deal drugs doesn’t require drugs or any overt or illegal acts, just acts in furtherance of the drug deal. If you stand on the street corner and direct people to the local drug dealer, you are committing acts in furtherance of the conspiracy to distribute.

On the small scale (street corners) they are unlikely to push the issue unless they need to. But the potential is always there, and is sometimes used to break up drug dealing rings or “crack houses” where the guy who makes the contact is different from the guy who takes the money and different from the guy who delivers the drugs and different from the guy who actually holds the drugs. Dealers do it this way because it makes authorities have to document the whole process to show the conspiracy. Usually they just nab whoever is holding and whoever made the sale.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re:

“Between complaints by copyright holders and what was plain sight on the websites in question, it isn’t hard to get to probably cause.”

Honestly, most of your post is what seems like an honest attempt at discussion. Still, new rule: until you can stop writing out the phrase “probably cause”, then you don’t get to make a legal argument (mostly because I start giggling every single time I read it)….

endofamericaasyouknowit (profile) says:

Not a surprise - they are all liars

Is it any surprise to anyone that ICE makes it up as they go along and lie, cheat and do illegal things? Starting with the President of the United States, their job is to lie to people and do whatever is required to maintain America’s facade of still being a world power. It is well known that corporate interests, not the people, run the US government. Now you are seeing the effects of it, and why American is turning into a bigger shithole than it already is. And people wonder why Al Queda want to take down the USA? Ha!

crade (profile) says:

Re:

What matters or not is subjective and is dependant on opinion and perspective but obviously some people think this matters.
I don’t see anyone claiming to be an unaffected observer so of course there is bias, that should be expected.
It is pretty well disclosed that the stories put up here are not selected at random and the driving opinions behind the selection are not hidden either.

Anonymous Coward says:

Due diligence?

Uhm…. you appear to be right here. Thanks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asset_forfeiture#The_civil_law.2Fcriminal_law_distinction

This type of forfeiture seems prone to abuse

“criminal proceedings require a standard of proof. In the civil proceedings against Simon Prophet [3] no evidence was presented by the state to the courts. The court’s decision to deprive Prophet of his home was based solely on affidavits.

Once the government establishes probable cause that the property is subject to forfeiture, the owner must prove on a “preponderance of the evidence” that it is not.

Since the government can choose the type of case, a civil case is almost always chosen. The costs of such cases is high for the owner, usually totaling around $10,000 and can take up to three years.”

A form of asset forfeiture is roadside forfeiture during a vehicle stop.”

So the government can use civil forfeiture to take your property without having to provide the standard of proof that it otherwise would to justify its actions knowing that many people who are innocent will probably not go through the trouble to contest it. Seems like a good way to take from the innocent.

LyleD (profile) says:

hmmm

Has anyone considered the seizure of the Spanish domain actually had a second justification?

Is it really a coincidence that ICE would pick a Spanish domain at a time when the government there is trying to re-introduce their controversial copyright legislation…

http://torrentfreak.com/law-to-shutdown-p2p-sites-resurrected-by-spanish-coalition-110125/

Looks a lot like someone was sending someone a message to me…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

And yet, I can’t recall a single instance where the person doing the pointing had, for all intents and purposes, all of their assets seized as a result – unless they were online.

Well, I know a person who was convicted of felony drug delivery for telling an undercover agent, in person, the name of someone who was actually selling drugs.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re:

“Let’s see…say I live in lower Mississipi, but I “just happen” to run across a broadcast of the Miami Heat vs. the Detroit Pistons – please tell me how my viewing is depriving anyone of revenue”

It may be of interest to you that the European Court Of Justice recently ruled that a British pub owner has the right to show foreign broadcasts of football matches. I don’t know how much hope that would hold for where you are, but it’s progress here.

Kitty Antonik Wakfer (profile) says:

Negative Social Preferencing against Gov Enforcers

Publicly identifying Special Agent James Hayes from Homeland Security by name is a good first step. Next the names of other government enforcers – those willing to initiate physical force – and identifiable photos for all of them will enable all those who disapprove of their actions to withdraw their voluntary association with them.

Something to keep in mind… The politicians and bureaucrats – rulers – do not get out into the field and enforce their own legislation/decrees/mandates/etc or even their own opinions. Instead they – including Obama together with his chief underlings – depend on the enforcers to do the dirty work, both domestically via the enormous numbers of agencies federal, state and local and also the branches of the military. Therefore the enforcers are the key!! Politicians and bureaucrats simply talk and write, even when it is to give orders – whether to enforcers or directly to ordinary citizens (via Internet blogs/vids, phone, snail and email pronouncements for the latter).

Strong negative Social Preferencing – withdrawal or refusal of voluntary association with the reasons made public – towards government enforcers who continue in that role after attempts to logically persuade them of their errors (offers of assistance in obtaining new productive jobs is a good idea for those known personally), is the needed step. Public identification (photos, names and location) of these continuing government enforcers will enable others to also Socially Preference against them, thereby increasing the social pressure to change their employment, their major interaction behavior – use cellphone cameras and the Internet to the fullest. This selective (discriminating) association to exclude those who cause harm is a potentially *very* powerful method of non-violent action, referred to as ostracism by many down through the ages. It is included in Gene Sharp’s 2nd volume (of 3), “The Politics of Nonviolent Action”, Chapter 4, “The Methods of Social Noncooperation”.

Even in the current very unfree societies (of which the US is a major one), negative Social Preferencing can be effectively used to influence individual social behavior and the actions of the State. I wrote about this practice in general in “Tax/Regulation Protests are Not Enough: Relationship of Self-Responsibility and Social Order” – http://selfsip.org/focus/protestsnotenough.html

Karl (profile) says:

Due diligence?

So he doesn’t realize that section 230 safe harbors don’t require you to do due diligence?

Quick point: You’re thinking of 17 U.S.C. 512. Different “safe harbors” laws – the ones I cited do apply specifically to infringement.

But you’re right, those don’t require “due diligence” either (at least as Hayes presents “due diligence”). They do require obeying the notice-and-takedown system, and disabling user accounts for repeat infringers.

Nelson Cruz (profile) says:

Why not seize recipe sites

If pizza restaurants complained about a website with pizza recipes, for lost revenues, lost jobs and therefore lost tax revenues for the US, would ICE come to the rescue and seize the domain name?

How about websites teaching how to “copy” commercially sold yogurts at home with some warm milk? Don’t they also mean lost revenues for some companies and government?

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

Quick response between homework and the Super Bowl:

Sure, but nitpicking on little things that don’t matter takes it a bit far.

It’s kind of alarming that you think seizing a domain name without notice is a “little thing.” It is horrible. It should not be allowed, under any circumstances, for any reason whatsoever.

Allowing ICE this power does more harm to the public than piracy ever could.

Now, I’m not going to hate on ICE in general. They’ve made some mistakes in the past, but nothing of this magnitude. They usually deal with counterfeiters – and those folks are often criminals, who respond to ICE’s presence with guns and bombs. You have to play hardball with those guys.

But counterfeit products simply don’t raise the same concerns as online infringement. Counterfeit products almost never raise First Amendment concerns. They’re also dealt with under different laws; it’s no wonder ICE didn’t even consider 17 U.S.C. 512, since that law could not possibly apply to a guy selling counterfeit handbags on a street corner.

The thing to take away from these seizures is that ICE is absolutely, positively, without question the wrong agency to go after online infringement.

That’s assuming that “online infringement” should be tackled by any federal agency at all. It’s no accident that copyright infringement has always been considered a civil matter for the most part. It’s sort of the literary equivalent of patent infringement – and to this day, there is no such thing as criminal patent infringement.

just curious says:

warrants / seizures

the feds have been getting warrants. the companies running these domains have no business other than aggregating links to infringing content.

the real world analogue here is that you set up a store that specifically sells info for breaking the law. would any of you guys complain when the feds come in and shut it down?

not a single one has even responded by filing any sort of claim that it was a wrongful seizure, or even contacted a site with outreach to the torrent community to pass the message along (other than to say they got taken down). it’s well accepted in law enforcement that evidence of wrongdoing can be seized for the case, especially when there’s a warrant for that evidence. these guys aren’t even showing up to their own cases.

so will someone please explain the problem here by using actual facts and law?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: warrants / seizures

1. They were not selling anything so it’s not a store as you suggest
2. They were not selling information for breaking the law
3. Hosting torrent files is not against the law as they contain no information that is copyright

Show me a law that states that aggregating links to copyright information is against the law and you need to shut down google.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: warrants / seizures

1. Isohunt viciously appealed the case against them. There’s dozens of others. Stop watching Fox and you may know that.

2. These search engines are not for profit, and with the exception of the pirate bay, prune torrents verified linked to infringing content after companies owning IP send letters. They’re better at pruning copyright violations than Google. Torrents just so happen to be one of the most popular forms of piracy. Nobody’s said jack about Big Brother going after the DC or darknet networks, usenet, etc.

3. The only evidence here is extensive gaming, lobbying and co-opting of executive authority, both here and abroad, for the purposes of suppressing a new form of publishing, one that’s far more resilient and efficient than the “walled garden”.

Bob Yruncle says:

What's in a name?

Random observation. . .

It has been a decade, and I am still creeped out, every time I read the phrase, “Homeland Security.” I spent 4 years in Army M.I., in Germany, and 4 years consulting for the U.S. Treasury, in Moscow, Russia, and have degrees in both German and Russian lang & lit, and I just can’t get over how utterly un-American that phrasing still sounds.

In fact, it sounds so baldfacedly much like a control organ of a totalitarian regime that I remain shocked that someone with even a little PR experience in the Bush administration didn’t speak up at the time, to suggest working with fewer Nazi/Soviet vibes.

Perhaps I am alone here, but I fervently wish Obama would change the name of this organization, to something that sounded at least ostensibly in line with the character of this country that we were fed in primary school.

Doing so, of course, wouldn’t change the organization itself, but perhaps if it had a congruent name, we would better be able to begin to legislate a role for it that fit into some nominally constitutional framework.

Not an electronic Rodent says:

Re: What's in a name?

It has been a decade, and I am still creeped out, every time I read the phrase, “Homeland Security.”

you’re not alone:

Homeland Security �” they had to be careful with that name. They couldn’t name it “Fatherland Security” or else there would be old Germans going, “Ja, thats a good one.”
– Robin Williams

Keith Rodgers (profile) says:

DHS... Brown Shirts.

Living in Western Montana I think it is very “Funny” to hear of a plane that goes down and then suddenly we have the FAMOUS BLACK DHS Helicopters flying around in MONTANA.
Reading the (Changed) Posse Comitatus and Insurrection Act’s of 2007 (Thank you George W.ar Criminal Bush) The Military and such was ONLY to be called in when Law was unable to do it’s job.
This means that 100’s of Search and Rescue Persons who offer their TIME and Resources FREE are now Paying for these BLACK HELICOPTERS, THEIR CREWS and other Specialized Services that had our Law Enforcement had them in the first place they could have done their jobs anyway. Except for the Instant Access to Cell Tracking.
One other weird note: Sheriff’s all over the USA have suddenly STEPPED DOWN. Why I don’t know? Montana is a Community type place and many get involved in searches. Then comes the Support from nearby AFB in Great Falls all at a time when they say we have no money. Yet they always have money for Show and Tell.
Odd, Just Odd.

Keith Rodgers (profile) says:

DHS... Brown Shirts.

Living in Western Montana I think it is very “Funny” to hear of a plane that goes down and then suddenly we have the FAMOUS BLACK DHS Helicopters flying around in MONTANA.
Reading the (Changed) Posse Comitatus and Insurrection Act’s of 2007 (Thank you George W.ar Criminal Bush) The Military and such was ONLY to be called in when Law was unable to do it’s job.
This means that 100’s of Search and Rescue Persons who offer their TIME and Resources FREE are now Paying for these BLACK HELICOPTERS, THEIR CREWS and other Specialized Services that had our Law Enforcement had them in the first place they could have done their jobs anyway. Except for the Instant Access to Cell Tracking.
One other weird note: Sheriff’s all over the USA have suddenly STEPPED DOWN. Why I don’t know? Montana is a Community type place and many get involved in searches. Then comes the Support from nearby AFB in Great Falls all at a time when they say we have no money. Yet they always have money for Show and Tell.
Odd, Just Odd.

William says:

So called pirating of sports events

Once you put something out in the airwaves it is subject to piracy, smart people will figure a way to intercept a signal, or for that matter simply use something they subscribe to, to broadcast the signal.
Sadly as a child all TV and radio were free, and as we have so wonderfully progressed Direct TV charges its customers $80 a month to watch 15 channels they are interested in, and then you pay $70 for channels you don’t watch and will never watch. The FCC has made it wonderful for the sattelite companies, and they rip us off good, however when it comes to giving public broadcast a mere pennie, they bulk and fight and expect public brodcasting to provide the signal for nothing. Homeland Security nor the Fcc had nothing to do with the advent of the internet, but now want to apply arbitrary rules and regulations to something they understand little about. If I as a disabled retired citizen who has not seen a raise from his government in the past two years, could pick the channels I wanted to watch and pay for them by the total number I chose, my cable bill would probably be $15 per month, but the FCC decided in my best interest that I should pay for two-hundred-sixty channels to see Nascar on ESPN. They will work until they get their claws into the internet, and then none of us dare say anything. Sad is what we have come to, we can’t guard our borders, I live in Arizona, and persons come from south of the border, commit their heinous crimes and run right back across the border, with no one to stop them. Yet some backward government official is now going to be the person who graces us with his immense knowledge, in order to protect us from ourselves. Yes there are many things that should never make it to the internet, and as concerned and good citizen, the ones who pay there taxes, and don’t run south of the border, it is up to us to inform whatever internet provider we are using when we see objectionable material. But a under educated person from homeland security see’s one thing and he is throwing his weight around and talking about shutting a site down.
Every time the government does somethig for security we lose rights, is the patriot act still in force and how many rights have we given up for that piece of dung, which has done little for anyone, except the politicians who have almost exclusive right to land at Reagan Airport.

Jerry (user link) says:

Nope

Not really. They’ll shut you down on the second if anyone reports any “illegal” activity from you, without checking anything! It’s done on a “guilty until proven innocent” basis. It wasn’t like this before but the huge number of such cases made things work this way. I’ve had cases where someone decided they want to take down an article I had personally written on my site. The explanation for the DMCA notice was that my article used “the same” arguments as their article published before mine. My hosting company said they’d take me down in a day if I didn’t take down the content… so what could I do? Pay a lawyer to fight my case so I have one more article on my site?

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