Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
domain names, poker, seizure

Feds Seize More Poker Sites

from the feeling-safer? dept

Man. The US government sure does love seizing domain names, doesn't it? Just after seizing a bunch of websites over copyright and trademark issues, it appears that the feds have also seized ten more domains having to do with online poker. What's interesting here is that the government apparently set up its own "fake" payment processing service, and supplied such services to a bunch of these sites:
The investigation into the activities of the two companies included a sting operation in which the Department of Homeland Security set up a fake payment processing company called Linwood Payment Solutions. The company processed payments throughout 2009 both to and from the online poker sites. According to the affidavit, Linwood processed over $33 million in payments over the course of more than 300,000 transactions.

“It is illegal for internet gambling enterprises to do business in Maryland, regardless of where the website operator is located,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “We cannot allow foreign website operators to flout the law simply because their headquarters are based outside the country.”
This confuses me. My understanding of the law here was merely that it was illegal to process payments for such sites. Yet, if the government sets up its own payment processor, then isn't it the government that was breaking the law here? Contrary to what Rosenstein states, my understanding was that the law does not actually outlaw gambling sites, just the payment processing for such sites. Perhaps those more familiar with the law can clarify this...?

Separately, that final line from Rosenstein should scare pretty much any foreign company. It appears to be the US asserting jurisdiction over any website in any country. If the Justice Department or Homeland Security doesn't like it, it's gone. Doesn't that seem like an international incident waiting to happen? For years, we've tried to explain to other countries that they can't sue US companies for things online, and yet here we are, claiming jurisdiction over the whole internet.

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  1. icon
    anymouse (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 4:09pm

    Re: This might have an upside

    Apparently there isn't enough interest in the 'cyber-war' the politicians and their cronies (the ones making billions from the government protecting us from those bad cyber bullies) are trying to claim exists....

    So they are trying to find a real enemy for the cyber-jihad they are sure we need to protect ourselves from. I'm sure one of the congress critter's buddies has a 'solution' ready to go to protect us, for the low one time fee of 1 bazillion dollars (taxes, fines, forfeitures, extraditions, licensing, and future protection not included).....

    No I'm not jaded or cynical, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night....

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