Seizing Domains Is Only Training Criminals To Improve
from the wrong-approach dept
“Cybercrime” investigator Rob Holmes has an interesting post arguing that seizing domains is a recipe for making the problems of illegal activity online even worse. He takes credit for being one of the first to suggest that domains could be viewed as “tools” of a criminal, thus making them ripe for seizure. However, he’s not impressed by those in law enforcement who are eagerly seizing domains by the dozens — in part because he thinks it helps actual criminals more than it hurts them:
The reason we are fighting the good fight is to stop people from doing bad things and hold them accountable for their actions. Whether you are enforcing trademark rights or car thefts, this has to be done one person at a time. In 2010 a client asked me what we could take away from the offenders to make them stop. My simple answer was “Their freedom.” Entrepreneurs will always find a way to do business. Bad guys need to be put away to reflect on their actions. Nothing else will stop them. When you take away only the tool, you are training the criminal to improve. I am not in the business of training crooks. Are you?
This, of course, is a different perspective. Most of us have been concerned about the free speech and collateral damage issues raised by domain seizures. But Holmes is making the argument that, even when we’re talking about confirmed criminal activity, domain seizures are counterproductive because they’re going after a tool rather than those actually responsible.