Why Isn't ICANN Speaking Out Against ICE/DOJ Domain Seizures?
from the ridiculous dept
Following the feds seizing bodog.com, Mark Jeftovic from EasyDNS wrote a really interesting post pointing out just how insane these domain seizures are. He focused on the fact that Bodog was run outside of the US, hosted outside the US, and the domain registrar was even outside the US. Thus, the feds went straight to Verisign to seize the domain. For what it’s worth, while I share his concern about the insanity of this, I don’t actually think this is new. As we discussed back in 2010, the government appeared to go direct to Verisign for earlier seizures. As we said at the time:
It appears that Homeland Security contracted out the seizures to a private company, immixGroup IT Solutions, which set up the “seizedservers.com” domain that the seized domains now point to. The other bit of useful info is that the seizures appear to have been done directly by VeriSign at the top level domain level. VeriSign, of course, controls the .com TLD, and so Homeland Security appears to have just asked VeriSign to move the domains (with a court order, of course), and it did so.
However, we agree with Jeftovic that this is crazy, and if it finally gets some more attention now, that would be a good thing. Another point that he raises is that the Bodog seizures seem to be based on a violation of Maryland state law, which raises additional questions about jurisdictional issues. You may recall a few years ago, that the state of Kentucky tried to seize a bunch of gambling related domains, and the world freaked out about a massive overreach by that state against websites that had no presence in the state. Shouldn’t there be similar concerns when it comes to a Maryland state law… and the federal government?
But there’s a bigger point in all of this, which Jeftovic raises at the end, which deserves a lot more attention: where the hell is ICANN on this and why isn’t it speaking out against these domain seizures?
Where the fsck is ICANN in all of this?
They are nowhere. They are collecting their fees, pushing their agenda of as many possible new-top-level domains and despite the fact that SOPA, ACTA, PIPA et aim directly at the interests of their core stakeholders, for whom they are supposed to be advocates and stewards. ICANN is conspicuous in their absence from the debate, save for a smug and trite abdication of involvement (i.e. “ICANN Doesn’t Take Down Websites“) – translation: “This isn’t our problem”.
And therein lies the issue. ICANN needs to make this their problem, because it very much is. If ICANN isn’t going to stand up, and vigorously campaign for global stakeholder representation in these matters, than they are not only abdicating any responsibility in the ongoing and escalating crackdown on internet freedom, they are also abdicating their right to govern and oversee it.
They need to be visible, they need to be loud and they need to come down on the right side of these issues or they need to be replaced.
It’s a good point that highlights what a joke ICANN has been on this front. It should have come out right when ICE started seizing domains. The longer it’s silent, the worse it makes things.