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.

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Comments on “UK Law Enforcement Also Looking To Be Able To Seize Domains”

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fogbugzd (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

xenomancer (profile) says:

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).”

Andrew (profile) says:

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 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.

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: 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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