UK Domain Seizures: Nominet Admits It's Helped Police Seize 3,000 Sites

from the global-issue dept

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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  1. icon
    Gwiz (profile), 7 Apr 2011 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    With the addition of COICA, websites that merely shift to a non U.S.-based domain name won't be able to hide.

    Maybe, but when they start shifting to a distributed DNS system that is not under any country's jurisdiction then they absolutely will be able to hide right in plain sight.

    I think as a deterrent, it is effective. We'll see.

    I think the only ones it will deter are the legitimate businesses who will think twice about using an US based domain name that ICE/DoJ can seize whenever they wish on nothing more than "probable cause" based on information from obviously biased parties.

    It's certainly not going to deter filesharing at the user level.

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