How ICE And GoDaddy Teamed Up To Help Censor A Mexican Protest Website

from the go-team-free-speech! dept

Perhaps two of the least liked organizations that we know of around here are ICE, also known as the Department of Homeland Security's 'Immigrations and Customs Enforcement' group -- recently subject to a sort of rebranding as Homeland Security Investigations, and GoDaddy. So here's a story of the two of them teaming up to censor a political website in Mexico that was a key site in protesting the current Mexican administration, as well as opposing attempts to criminalize protests.
On December 2nd, 2013, the site disappeared offline. The United States host, GoDaddy, suspended the domain with no prior notice. GoDaddy told its owners that the site was taken down "as part of an ongoing law enforcement investigation." The office in charge of this investigation was listed as "Special Agent Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Embassy, Mexico City." (The contact email pointed to "ice.dhs.gov," implying that this agent was working as part of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement wing, who have been involved in curious domain name takedowns in the past.)
The site has now filed a lawsuit concerning the case, saying that the takedown "violates Mexico's legal protections for freedom of expression." However, there are other questions as well, which the good folks at EFF highlight:
Why did GoDaddy take down content with the excuse of it being part of a legal investigation, when the company did not request or relay any formal judicial documents or an official court order? And why is the U.S. Embassy acting as a relay for an unclear legal process that resulted in censorship within the United States?
It would be nice to get some answers to those questions. In exploring the issue, I just sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to ICE for any communications between it and GoDaddy concerning this domain. I'll be sure to update everyone when and if any information is returned.

In the meantime, the folks at 1dmx.org have also put together a video about the takedown, which you can view below:

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 8:55am

    From: Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, DHS
    To: Mike Masnick
    Re: 1dmx.org

    ## ##### ### ##### #### #### #### ## # #### ## #### ###
    ### #### # ##### ### ### ##### ## ### #### ### ## # ###
    ### ### # #### ### ### #### ## # ###### ### ### ### ##
    #### ### #### ### ### # ## #### ### ##### # ## # #### #
    ### ### # ## #### # #### ## #####

    Sincerely
    Special Agent #### ######

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 8:59am

    The link you provided to the Homeland Security Investigations page has a link to a tip form to report suspicious activity. This seems to qualify...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 9:04am

    What does it not surprise me the Department of Homeland Security's, ICE division, is responsible for yet another domain name take down. The fact that they're now censoring political websites, is despicable!

    I suppose this is not too surprising. ICE has developed close ties to officials in the Mexican government over the years, thanks to the never ending "war on drugs".

    It appears the war has changed course, and is now a "war on dissent".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 9:08am

    Don't mind them, just spreading some democracy to Mexico.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 9:23am

    No sympathy for GoDaddy customers

    Anyone who is still dumb enough to be a GoDaddy customer deserves what they get. GoDaddy will let spammers, phishers, typosquatters, etc., do whatever they want...but they'll confiscate the domain(s) of anybody that ICE asks them to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      art guerrilla (profile), Mar 5th, 2014 @ 1:53pm

      Re: No sympathy for GoDaddy customers

      i would aver as a rule of thumb, if you see BigWeb korporation advertising on national teevee, they are more than likely scumbags...

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    ARGO, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Me: You:

    Electronic oppression of people.

    This is why closer integration of technology and people shouldn't happen.."The Borg Effect".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:17am

    We need to start seeing techs who work for these agencies as part of the problem. They are the ones enabling the spying, website shutdowns, etc...

    Whether your holding a gun or a laptop, when you can destroy people with it, that is all that matters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    alan turing, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:36am

    root

    Laptops don't oppress people. People oppress people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    askeptic, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 1:53pm

    You really want to question the actions of the Gestapo....eh... Homeland Security?
    Good Luck with that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2014 @ 10:31am

    GoDaddy sucks

    they supported SOPA

    they censor websites

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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