by Mike Masnick
Thu, Apr 7th 2011 3:53am
While we've been mostly focused on US-based domain name seizures and attempts to expand them using something like COICA, we've also noted that similar issues are being discussed in the UK, where Nominet has now admitted that it's helped police seize about 3,000 domains based simply upon a request from law enforcement. Unlike the US, there isn't even a formal process with a judge rubber stamping the requests. Instead, the police ask, and Nominet is compelled to suspend the domain. In fact, some law enforcement officials are claiming that if Nominet refused their requests, then it would automatically become liable. In other words, police have a fantastic tool for censorship of any website if they want to use it that way. What isn't explained is why law enforcement on both sides of the Atlantic are so damn afraid of actually having an adversarial hearing before seizing a domain. If they're so sure that these sites are illegal, why are they so afraid of facing the site owners in court?
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