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HavenCo In Trouble? 305

Posted by timothy
from the naysayers-revenge dept.
Evil Al writes "News.com is reporting on the talk given by Ryan Lackey, former CTO of HavenCo, at DefCon. Lackey claims that the company is teetering on the edge due to internal upheaval and lack of customers. Oh, and 9/11, of course."
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HavenCo In Trouble?

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  • i think... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jeffy124 (453342) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @07:51AM (#6624751) Homepage Journal
    ...it's the more the fact the company only had a whopping six customers.
    • by acehole (174372) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:00AM (#6624814) Homepage
      Well that's what you get for having your office 10 miles out to sea.

      I heard the investor prospectus came with some floaties.

      • Re:i think... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I saw Ryan's talk, and he made things sound a bit worse than Declan's article does (imho ofcourse)... He basically said the the whole bussiness was and has always been founded on lies basically, they never had the physical security they said they did, the few servers that reporters were allowed to see were actually *all* the servers ("more in the secure area below" was untrue, he said), they had days and sometimes months of downtime, and the time when their connectivity was the best was when they had 802.11
    • Re:i think... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zeinfeld (263942) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:12AM (#6624889) Homepage
      ...it's the more the fact the company only had a whopping six customers.

      According to Lackey the problem was that HavenCo failled to realize the pure vision of the founders. He pretty much sounds like one of those unreconstructed 1960s communists that claim that the reason the USSR failled is because it was not communist enough.

      The fact that they only had 6 customers would explain why the UK authorities appear to have shown so little interest. The platform is inside UK teritorial waters - period. The UK government does not recognize 'Prince Roy' and in this case it is the opinion of the executive and not the judiciary that is relevant. Extreeme ideologues like Lackey can believe what they want, the scheme was doomed from the start because they were not immune to UK law.

      The US citizens were certainly not immune from US law. The US has in recent years exported a large number of its laws. For that matter so has the UK.

      Under UK law the platform as a man made object is therefore a ship. Ships do not have territorial claims. A ship that does not carry the flag of a recognized nationality is subject to the law of any country that cares to exercise jurisdiction.

      There are plenty of real countries where the authorities will turn a bloind eye to any enterprise - at a price. Nigeria for example where the government tollerates the advance fee fraud spammers who have them on the payroll.

      The HavenCo employees all went to and from the platfom through Heathrow airport. They could have been arrested by the UK authorities any time they wanted to. Lackey was working in the UK without a work permit.

      • Re:i think... (Score:5, Informative)

        by azzy (86427) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:37AM (#6625032) Journal
        It was however outside of UK territorial waters at the time it was claimed. And as such was not under UK law. The UK extender their territorial waters around it when it was claimed. The legal/political position is a little unclear, however a UK judge has previously declared he had no authority over it as it wasn't part of the UK.
        • Re:i think... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by raju1kabir (251972)
          It was however outside of UK territorial waters at the time it was claimed. And as such was not under UK law. The UK extender their territorial waters around it when it was claimed.

          You make it sound like the UK increased the extent of its sea claims in response to the Bateses. Like many other countries during that period, the UK enlarged its territorial waters around the whole of its coastline.

          • Re:i think... (Score:3, Informative)

            by Scyber (539694)
            And international law specifically states that when you increase your territorial waters you cannot gain any "land" claimed by other countries.
      • Re:i think... (Score:5, Informative)

        by filledwithloathing (635304) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:43AM (#6625062) Homepage Journal
        The platform is inside UK teritorial waters - period. The UK government does not recognize 'Prince Roy' and in this case it is the opinion of the executive and not the judiciary that is relevant.
        Actually when Sealand was "founded", UK Territorial waters only extended 3 miles. You cannot claim territory by extending your Territorial Waters under International Law. Since the UK courts have ruled that they have no jurisdiction in Sealand it would seem that Sealand was and is a country.

        The UK could not extend it's Territorial Waters 100 miles and then claim the beaches of Normandy.

        • Re:i think... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by CaptainStormfield (444795) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @10:07AM (#6625731)
          It comes down to this: the UK has a colorable claim to sealand (they built it, its in their territorial waters but doesn't count as territory, etc.) However, the most critical fact is this: the UK has a large and effective army. Sealand has a couple of guys with shotguns (if that). If Sealand irritates anyone sufficiently, they're toast.
          • Re:i think... (Score:3, Interesting)

            by slipgun (316092)
            Sealand has a couple of guys with shotguns (if that). If Sealand irritates anyone sufficiently, they're toast.

            Actually they have some more modern military hardware (20mm cannons if rumours are to be believed, and certainly automatic weapons), but I agree with the point you're making - they'd have trouble dealing with what is still one of the best trained armies/navies in the world.
          • Re:i think... (Score:5, Informative)

            by filledwithloathing (635304) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @11:18AM (#6626359) Homepage Journal
            Actually the Brittish briefly tried to retake Sealand but thought better of it when Sealand shot back.
            By late 1968, the British navy had become aware of the new situation off the coast of England. They were interested in terminating the state of affairs brought about by an error committed by the most senior military authorities without causing too much uproar.

            Units of the navy entered the territorial waters claimed by Roy of Sealand. As he was aware of his sovereignty, Roy of Sealand threatened the navy by undertaking defensive activity. Shots were fired from Sealand in warning. Since Roy of Sealand was still an English citizen, he was thus accused of extensive crimes in Britain and was summoned to an English court. The result of this lawsuit in Chelmsford, Essex was a spectacular success for Sealand's claim to sovereignty. In its judgment of 25 November 1968, the court declared that it was not competent in Roy of Sealand's case as it could not exert any jurisdiction outside of British national territory. This is the first de facto recognition of the Principality of Sealand. English law had ruled that Sealand was not part of the United Kingdom, nor did any other nation claim it, hence Prince Roy's declaration of a new Sovereign State was de facto upheld.

            The UK's legal system has consistently treated Sealand as a sovereign nation.
            "If Sealand irritates anyone sufficiently, they're toast."
            ...so is Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, etc., etc., etc.
        • Re:i think... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by raju1kabir (251972)

          Actually when Sealand was "founded", UK Territorial waters only extended 3 miles. You cannot claim territory by extending your Territorial Waters under International Law.

          The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, drafted in 1982 and put into force by a quorum of signatories in 1994, grants all nations the right to extend their territorial miles from 3 to 12. This was merely an ex post facto formalization of the reality that by 1967 over 80% of the world's nations had already done so. Hence yo

      • Re:i think... (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        have you read their history? They have been treated as a sovereign government for over 30 years.

        It has been challenged MANY times and has won.

        Other countries have even sent diplomats to Sealand to make dealings.

        The UK has no more of a claim of rights to Sealand than Sealand has a right to claim rights to anything else.
      • by Deusy (455433)
        The HavenCo employees all went to and from the platfom through Heathrow airport. They could have been arrested by the UK authorities any time they wanted to. Lackey was working in the UK without a work permit.

        You're giving the our government way too much credit by implying a lack of action due to apathy.

        The reality is that they probably haven't got a clue who Robert Lackey is. He flashed his US passport at customs. The only record of who he is and how long he's been here will be in his passport.

        I
      • Re:i think... (Score:5, Informative)

        by arkane1234 (457605) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @09:50AM (#6625591) Journal
        He pretty much sounds like one of those unreconstructed 1960s communists that claim that the reason the USSR failled is because it was not communist enough.

        I hate to sound like a stickler but I'm going to, anyway.
        The original socialist movement away from mother Russia's old Czar ruling was stealthfully turned into a form of totalitarian "dictatorship" shortly after the revolution. So, in actuality, the "communists" you speak of weren't truely speaking of communism as it was currently in mother russia, they were talking about what the true intent was in the beginning.

        It was a glimmer of hope for the Russians until that revolution turned out how it did.
      • According to Lackey the problem was that HavenCo failled to realize the pure vision of the founders. He pretty much sounds like one of those unreconstructed 1960s communists that claim that the reason the USSR failled is because it was not communist enough.

        Well, the USSR never was communist, they were Stalinists, the idea of communism went right out of the door the moment Stalin came into the room.
    • Yes. You know there's a problem when the slashdot story has as many icons as the company has customers.
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @07:51AM (#6624752)
    Not only that, this place would be an early target for the RIAA to test out the bombers in its new air force.

    "The king called up his jet fighters
    He said you better eaarn your pay
    Drop your bombs between the minarets
    Down the Casbah way"

    If Grokster is outlawed, only outlaws will have Grokster
    • Re:RIAA Air Force (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nsda's_deviant (602648) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @07:55AM (#6624785)
      ha, that is true

      but if you meant "bombers" as in "port spamming" or such, it is very conceivable. if people can distrubute music and RIAAs requests recieve no action by HavenCo since RIAA has no jurisdiction (this was exactlly HavenCo's stategy), then RIAA would be inclined to use every security hole-IP DOS attack-anything that they could come up with because again, who would stop them? Itd be cool to watch tho, it would be the wild wild west cyber.
      • then RIAA would be inclined to use every security hole-IP DOS attack-anything that they could come up with because again, who would stop them?

        Better yet, cut one of the fiber cables going to the platform. I don't think they have great security of those on the ocean floor.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @07:53AM (#6624772)
    When they first came on the scene, they claimed to not need a fire suppression system due to the fact that their entire facility had been flooded with nitrogen, thus requiring technicians to wear scuba gear to install new equipment. Does anyone know if this was true or if it was BS?
    • by goraknotsteve (648117) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:27AM (#6624967) Homepage
      My old office used to have an "inert gas" fire suppresion system that meant you could only enter the server room with special dongles. If any of the dongles were in use then the system would not flood the room until they were all back in the slots outside the room. Can't remember what the gas was though, but there were certainly emergency gas masks in the room for use in case the system failed. This was in a fairly old server room in a fairly old fashioned office so don't know how commonplace these things are. Sorry if this is slightly off-topic but thought it meritted a reply.
    • by deblassc (652065) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:53AM (#6625124)
      this is total BS according to Lackey.

      havenco did not have a "sealed oxegen free room" it had 5 lan racks with about 15 servers on there.... thats it.

      apparently they spent more money on getting a flakey wireless link up then they did on servers.

      also in the talks he said that sealand has like 2 people residing there now.... and he said that a armed takeover would take about 10 minutes..... so anyone have a chopper I can borrow?
      • the oddest thing about that would be that their primary reason of existance would work against them. Since they are outside of any nations waters, no one can stop it. Of course, I'd imagine that if it ticked the wrong people off, you could have harrier jets overhead in less than a week after the "coup".

        Though, you have to admit, a real-life Metal Gear Solid 2 mission would be an impressive thing to see. ;)
  • by joshv (13017) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @07:54AM (#6624774)
    These guys never had a workable business plan to begin with. They were selling bandwidth at a huge premium over what it costs just a few miles away in the UK. If you are able to pay that much, you are probably doing something illegal to begin with, and HavenCo won't host you.

    This was a solution looking for a problem that never materialized. The idea certainly captured the imagination of slashdotters though.

    -josh
    • ..something illegal to begin with, and HavenCo won't host you.

      As you can read in the Acceptable Use Policy [havenco.com] on HavenCo's website they will host everything not forbidden by Sealand's law - that is just child pornography.

      So you could host copyrighted and pirated videos, plans on how to make the newest mobile nuclear bomb and things like that.
      • So you could host copyrighted and pirated videos, plans on how to make the newest mobile nuclear bomb and things like that.

        Wow, sounds like a great business plan.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:08AM (#6624865)
        Except that the article specifically states that the reason Lackey decided to leave HavenCo was because the Sealand "royal family" would not allow them to host a web site that would allow streaming copyrighted movies.

        It is also mentioned that Sealand does not allow the hosting of any activity that violates international law or can be connected to terrorism, so there goes your mobile nuclear bomb.

        Did you happen to read the article?
      • No, you couldn't. RTFA man. The "royal family" of Sealand are amazingly spineless and their approval is required for any and all new clients.

        So yes, while you're right in theory, you're wrong in practice. Because havenco is essentially lying on their AUP. Something almost every shitty hosting company does.
      • by Kamel Jockey (409856) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:15AM (#6624897) Homepage

        they will host everything not forbidden by Sealand's law

        The only problem is that Sealand's Law is whatever their "Crown Prince" says it is. As quoted from the linked article:

        During an interview with the BBC, the family said it would readily "turn customer information over to the authorities if there was any serious problem with our stuff," Lackey said
        So no matter what the AUP may say, the real "terms of service," like the law in general in Sealand, is whatever their "ruling family" says it is. Companies like stable governments. They do not want to take risks dealing with governments that change the way they do business in a rapid manner. With this latest change, Sealand has become no different than any other jurisdiction in which internet service is offered. As a result, they can only compete on price, and with cheaper prices and more reliable service elsewhere, companies will skip over Sealand.

        Also from the article:

        Lackey ... said another problem was the Sealand family's tinkering with the network connection

        No company will want anything to do with any government touching their connectivity in such an arbitrary manner, especially when they are paying a premium for Internet Access whose claim to fame is that they "don't do that." Another thing Lackey mentioned was Sealand's attempt to tax its customers. That is another example of a bait-and-switch tactic which will drive away existing business and scare away future customers.

        • by sql*kitten (1359) * on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @10:05AM (#6625711)
          The only problem is that Sealand's Law is whatever their "Crown Prince" says it is.

          Sealand's law is whatever the British Government will let them get away with. A frigate's detachment of Marines could re-occupy the platform in minutes without breaking a sweat. The Crown Prince is tolerated because Britain has a tradition of tolerating eccentrics so long as they don't harm anyone. If Sealand were to declare that it was willing to break British laws wholesale, bearing in mind that it is strategically located, it would rapidly - and perhaps physically - cease to exist.
    • It's not a terrible idea, but instead of being a site for others to host dodgy content, they should have gone into a more consumer oriented business selling secure, anonymous email, P2P supernodes, personal file sharing, and that sort of thing.

      I'm not sure how you'd *pay* them anonymously, but providing the "naughty" services instead of expecting others to rent trifling bandwidth from them to do so might have provided a better revenue stream.
    • Yes. On top of this, why would you pay that ridiculous premium when you can always host something in the Bahamas or some other sovereign nation with few laws, low taxes and a decent Internet connection? The answer is that you wouldn't...
  • by drgroove (631550) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @07:58AM (#6624796)
    given by Ryan Lackey, former CTO of HavenCo, at DefCon

    Even their ex-CTO was a Lackey!
  • poltiics? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by freedommatters (664657) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:01AM (#6624818)
    "The key lesson on this is if you're going to put a 'co-lo' facility somewhere, political and contract stability in that jurisdiction is very important" er, yes, and i thought the political aspect was meant to be one of the main selling points, ie, it wasn't governed by the UK. perhaps they should have sorted that one out before they tried to make their billions. surely they are just a very late casualty of the dot.com bubble?
  • by Carbon Unit 549 (325547) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:03AM (#6624831) Homepage
    Their acceptable use policy defeats the purpose of the haven?!

    HavenCo said on Monday that its acceptable use policy "stands as originally written. However it is the case that principality law forbids any act...which is against international law, linked with terrorism, or contrary to international custom and practice. These restrictions are in keeping with those found in any country."

    That bold bit pretty much covers everything.
  • Bad Publicity? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by StickMang (568987) * on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:06AM (#6624847)
    From the article:
    Tan was prepared to pay HavenCo millions of dollars to host a Web site that would let customers stream movies from legally purchased DVDs, something that was not clearly illegal because only one customer at a time could view each stream, Lackey said. The Sealand royal family balked over the possibility of bad publicity, Lackey said. "I decided as soon as I got out of the meeting that I was going to quit," Lackey said.

    No wonder they're going under. They're HavenCo, they should be hosting these types of sites. They turn down hosting sites like this that seem almost custom fitted to their business model! The king of sealand must be a quirky fellow indeed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:07AM (#6624859)
    The GoldCasino [thegoldcasino.com] has been there for a long time. They used to have comm link problems from time to time, but over about the last 6 months or so seem to be pretty reliable - so maybe the current execs are right and Lackey is not?
    MultiPlayer Poker at TGC is a great time consumer!
  • by mblase (200735) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:08AM (#6624863)
    The "gimmick" for this business was that they could host sites outside of one's own country, thus protecting one from legal liability for the content. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it demonstrated that the legal responsibility for content on a web site lies with the site's owner, not the hosting provider, and thus the owner would be held responsible under the laws of the country where he lived?
    • They prefer not to know who you are, they advise you use anonymous remailers to contact them, and various difficult to trace means of payment. If they dont know who you are, then how does the goverment of your country even know if you are one of their citizens? They also promise that they will not turn over your data(or did the 'kings' remarks seem to call that into question), and in the event of an armed attack on the platform they drop your disks into a vat of acid and turn over the rest of the box.
    • You're subject to the laws of who ever can get at you. For example, some of the United States have "long arm statutes" that determine that if your "crime" has effect in a certain State, you're criminally liable in that State. Recently, a lot of people have been extradited from The Netherlands for crimes commited *in* The Netherlands, where you'd expect The Netherlands has complete jurisdiction. But owing to long arm statutes they were deported anyway, since how to interpret those statutes is up to a US judg
  • by duffbeer703 (177751) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:10AM (#6624875)
    Who in the hell is going to do business with some lunatic who fancies himself as the "Prince" of a gun platform?

    • by mr_luc (413048) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:46AM (#6625079)
      That is a very funny question, and I have to think that the only business that could consider it seriously would be a casino. That kind of flashiness would seem to fit right in. I can hear the TV ads now:

      "Wanna know just how Exciting our Online Gambling Site is? OUR site is hosted on a rusting gun tower 6 miles off of the coast of England, run by a man that claims it as his own sovereign nation. That's right -- this gambling site is hosted out of a basketball-court-sized country called Sealand!"
      "Reliability? Security? Just remember that all of your financial transactions are subject to the whims of a man that fancies himself a king!"

      I like those odds.
      • by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @09:23AM (#6625350)
        > "Reliability? Security? Just remember that all of your financial transactions are subject to the whims of a man that fancies himself a king!"

        And how'd 'e get to be king, eh? By exploitin' the geeks! Supreme authority 'as got to come from a widely distributed peer-to-peer network, not from some farcical aquatic hosting company!

        I mean, if I went around sayin' I was king just because some moistened bint threw a bunch of servers and a fiber-optic link at me, they'd put me away!

  • All about the price (Score:5, Informative)

    by mcgroarty (633843) <brian.mcgroarty@gmaiLIONl.com minus cat> on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:11AM (#6624885) Homepage
    I wanted to host there, but a low-end box on a trickling 64kbit line was $500/month!

    They really need to offer lower rates to fill those racks up a bit more, save the novelty premiums for those last slots.

    • I wanted to host there, but a low-end box on a trickling 64kbit line was $500/month!

      Not only that, but they made you buy your server from them at rather high prices.

      They wouldn't accept servers shipped to them like other colos do as they could contain bombs, listening devices, killer robots, etc...
      • In all fairness, the 64kbit machine was a special which included the lease.

        The higher-end plans all involve purchasing hardware from them, however. It's inconvenient, but I don't remember the hardware prices being too altogether absurd -- it's just the monthly fees and the bandwidth charges that kill you. And even a local connection between two colocated machines is abusively expensive.

    • I wanted to host there, but a low-end box on a trickling 64kbit line was $500/month!

      If you can't afford $500/mo for 64k you don't need HavenCo hosting. They should be handling online gambling sites and the like that can easily make up that kind of overhead.

      It's not an unreasonable price considering what a quality business-class satellite connection goes for and that they need to generate their own power, maintain the platform, fend off the Bobbies, make a profit, etc.

      If I were the FBI, CIA, I'd try to
      • If you can't afford $500/mo for 64k you don't need HavenCo hosting.

        Maybe so, but if not enough people need HavenCo hosting for HavenCo to survive, perhaps they need to compete as a conventional provider at least long enough to fill in some of the dead slots. So long as the incremental cost of adding servers is less than the money each would gross, this is only common sense. If the incremental cost of adding each extra server actually approaches $500/month however, then they have some serious problems.

  • SARS (Score:5, Funny)

    by gr8_phk (621180) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:12AM (#6624887)
    Oh, and 9/11, of course.

    But what about SARS? Blaming 9/11 is old-school.

  • by Darth_brooks (180756) <clipper377&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:12AM (#6624890) Homepage
    Although its legal status is unclear, Sealand lies within the territorial boundary of 10 miles claimed by England.

    It's legal status was determined a long time ago. here [seanhastings.com] is a good place to start.


    "On October 1st, 1987, Britain extended its territorial waters from 3 to 12 nautical miles. At nearly the same time, Prince Roy declared the extension of Sealand's territorial waters to be a like 12 nautical miles, so that right of way from the open sea to Sealand would not be blocked by British claimed waters. No treaty has been signed between Britain and Sealand to divide up the overlapping areas, but a general policy of dividing the area between the two countries down the middle can be assumed. International law does not allow the claim of new land during the extension of sea rights, so Sealand's sovereignty was safely "grandfathered" in. Britain has no more right to Sealand's territory than Sealand has to the territory of the British coastline that falls within its claimed 12 nautical mile arc."

    Since sealand was outside the initial 3 mile border when it was first claimed, England cannot claim sealand for itself. It would be similar to the United States attempting to annex Cuba by extending the border a further 90 miles south.

    "Some nations might have tried to use this as an excuse to try to claim all of the territory of the weaker and not well recognized nation regardless of international law, however, this has not been the case. Britain has made no attempt to take Sealand, and the British government still treats it as an independent State. Prince Roy continues to pay no British National Insurance during the time he resides on Sealand subsequent to a ruling by the British Department of Health and Social Security's solicitors branch. Also, there was another fire arms incident in 1990 when a ship strayed too near Sealand and warning shots were again fired. The ship's crew made complaints to British authorities and a newspaper article ran detailing the incident. Yet despite Britain's severe prohibition of firearms, British authorities have never pursued the matter. This is a clear indication that Britain's Home Office still considers Sealand to be outside their zone of control."

    • by Shimbo (100005)
      It's legal status was determined a long time ago

      In their imagination maybe. Until it gets a seat at the UN, or is even recognised by a single real country it remains a joke.
    • That's all very nice, but it makes the assumption that it had any soverenty to start with--especially when it's not even an island. Not even an artificial island built with land-fill.
    • Right, but when push comes to shove, 'Justice' goes out the window.

      In this case, I think the official stance of Britain is that Sealand is a man-constructed object -- and as such, must be covered by the same laws as the only other man-constructed objects to ply the seas. (boats)

      Is that somewhat ludicrous -- yes. But that's the way the chips would fall if push came to shove. They would rule that a man-created object CANNOT be it's own sovereign nation, regardless of how silly or arbitrary that sounds.

      Brit
      • I think the official stance of Britain is that Sealand is a man-constructed object -- and as such, must be covered by the same laws as the only other man-constructed objects to ply the seas. (boats)

        You may think that, but that's not the case. It could only be considered a ship if it was in some way moveable. It's no more a ship than is a load of rock towed out to a sand bar and dumped. It's a fixed emplacement that was built outside territorial limits and abandoned. It may not be recognized by the crown

    • by fishbowl (7759)
      >It would be similar to the United States
      >attempting to annex Cuba by extending the border
      >a further 90 miles south.

      We seem to have no problem establishing prison camps for our political prisoners there. To me, that has been among the most troubling aspects of the post-2001 world.

    • Sealand's "rulers" basically know perfectly well they have no real claim to sovereignty - as is. The moment they cross the line by too big a margin, a small squad will be dispatched to chuck them off and that will be it.

      They daren't do anything too illegal (under British laws), hence why they refuse to host extreme objectionable material.

      Their plan seems to be (or rather, has been) to make little advances, pushing the boundry each time. A good example of this is the warning shots they fired off. This wa
    • It would be similar to the United States attempting to annex Cuba by extending the border a further 90 miles south.

      Oddly enough, I can see that happening. The coast guard finds 1 too many ships with Cuban cigars and Bush sends a carpet bombing campaign for 3 weeks straight to "liberate the oppressed masses". This of course done concurrently with a law stating the waters are extended temporarily to 300 miles "in order to protect America from impending terrorism".

      Hey, it could happen. I never thought in
    • Just a few other mentions of sealand from other sources:

      When asked about the status of Sealand, the British Home Office (Britain's equivalent to the Department of Internal Affairs) has, for thirty years, referred people to the Foreign Office as Sealand wasn't considered part of the United Kingdom. Until the HavenCo announcement on June 5 last year.

      Free radical [freeradical.co.nz]

      A paper [harvard.edu] discussing jurisdiction as it pertains to sealand.

      This all goes back to jurisdiction. If you go by the ruling in the 25 November
  • by mblase (200735) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:13AM (#6624892)
    They're short on money, but I'm sure someone would be willing to send them a few million to keep afloat.

    They're just another victim of the dot-com fallout, really. Yet another company that completely missed the boat.

    I mean, their business directors must really be lost at sea as to how to resolve these problems.

    Perhaps they'd succeed with a new software strategy? Say, pier-to-pier filesharing?

    Oh, I kill me....
  • by bayers (155001) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:31AM (#6624990) Homepage
    get them liquored up and invade Sealand?

    What would happen?
    • You'd probably get shot.

      Sealand was founded by a WWII vet.

      You wouldn't be the first one to try though. Years ago, some guys from Geramny came over and took over the island, and held his son hostage. Prince ? then rented a helicopter, got some guns and took the island back by force. He held the Germans captive until Germany sent diplomats to negotiate for their release.

      Basically, I wouldn't try it if I were you.


      All the above info is from memeory, so it's probably not 100% accurate.
    • Well, should you succeed, and not suffer the international outcry for attacking another 'esteemed' sovereign nation, you could live on a rusted-out fortress the size of a basketball court, rather than in some small number of rusted-out trailer homes in a trailer court. I'm not sure if that counts as a step up, but you would still have access to Jerry Springer style TV...
  • God its small (Score:4, Interesting)

    by isorox (205688) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @08:43AM (#6625063) Homepage Journal
    Every time I fly over the Thames Estuary I look out for sealand, I've never seen it. Does anyone know if it really exists?
  • Can't be...

    From this article [krev.org]: "LONDON (Reuters) -- Microsoft, the world's largest software company, announced today that it will move its headquarters to the world's smallest nation, the Principality of Sealand." ... "According to a company spokesman, in order to escape the Justice Department's breakup, the software giant will legally move its headquarters to the tiny offshore jurisdiction, though the actual staff will remain in Redmond, WA, because space is at a premium on the tiny platform a few miles o
  • If I were a CEO, I'd just jump all over the opportunity to hire a CTO that blabs company laundry to the press after they leave.

    In bizarro land.
  • by djtack (545324) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @09:20AM (#6625329)
    While I'm not surprised that HavenCo is in trouble, I find it weird just one month ago there was a slashdot headline proclaming HavenCo Doing Well [slashdot.org]. And Lackey himself posted [slashdot.org] some interesting comments about his upcoming DecCon talk. So rdl, if you're out there, what's changed?
    • by rdl (4744) <ryan&venona,com> on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @09:43AM (#6625513) Homepage
      Different YEAR.

      My Defcon 11 talk describes the problems and why I've gone public (I have more responsibility to the public than to HavenCo, once management begins to engage in fraud)

      I'll be at Linuxworld Expo today, if anyone wants to talk about this...should be easy to spot. (I'm on BART right now)

      I'm posting an in-depth story for slashdot in a day or so, using objective proof of my claims, so there won't be any more "it is this way" "no it isn't" "yes it is" press release communication :)
  • Is anyone really shocked this company is going under? Let's see....let's start a company whose aim is to make money by flaunting the laws of othr countries by offering you a place where you can do pretty much anything for a price. Then let's taunt said countries in the press . Then headquarter that company on a glorified gun turret in the north sea, while "Prince Roy" makes decrees in a "country" about as big as a basketball court....

    Yeah, the millions should be flowing in any day now.

    I'm only surprised a
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @10:02AM (#6625689)
    for all those who want to know where sealand is, i found maps.

    on the sealand website it lists the location as:
    51 53' 42" N;
    01 28' 51" E;

    which is roughly ten miles southeast of Ipswitch, or twenty miles northeast of london.

    the only place I could find a map of that area was on this site, where it is simply labelled "rough twr":

    zoomed in map [multimap.com]

    zooming out we can see it's location relative to the coast:

    [multimap.com]

    zoomed out map

  • by magarity (164372) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @10:11AM (#6625764)
    another problem was the Sealand family's tinkering with the network connection

    Well, duh. Have you seen a picture of the place? It's two concrete pilings with a construction shack on top. WTF else is there to do after someone puts in some server racks with a fibre optic network uplink?

  • Anyone have the defcon slides handy? I looked at them on the plane home, but let someone borrow my CD. They are EXCELLENT slides, too bad I missed the presentation. I'm sure the one I went to instead was not worth it.

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