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Microsoft Says It Never Meant To Knock Cryptome Offline 176

Posted by timothy
from the to-err-is-corporate dept.
CWmike writes "Microsoft withdrew on Thursday its demand that Cryptome.org yank the 'Microsoft Global Criminal Spy Guide' document from the site, and said it had never intended for the whistleblower's domain to be knocked off the Web. 'In this case, we did not ask that this site be taken down, only that Microsoft copyrighted content be removed,' said a Microsoft spokeswoman. 'We are requesting to have the site restored and are no longer seeking the document's removal.' The document, a 17-page guide to law enforcement on how to obtain information about users of Microsoft's online services, including its Windows Live Hotmail, the Xbox Live gaming network and its Windows Live SkyDrive storage service, was published by John Young, who runs Cryptome.org, on Feb. 20. Earlier this week, Microsoft demanded that Young remove the document from his site, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. When Young refused, his Internet provider shut down the site, and Network Solutions, the registrar of Young's domain, put a 'legal lock' on the domain name. The last prevented him from transferring the URL to another ISP. Computerworld blogger Preston Gralla dug into the document today in his 'Leaked Microsoft intelligence document: Here's what Microsoft will reveal to police about you' post."
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Microsoft Says It Never Meant To Knock Cryptome Offline

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  • Re:Openness (Score:5, Informative)

    by moco (222985) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @03:59PM (#31277548)

    The site is back up. Facebook's equivalent document is already there http://cryptome.org/isp-spy/facebook-spy.pdf

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @04:05PM (#31277618) Journal

    Network Solutions did what is required of them as a service provider under DMCA. It's either that, or be liable themselves for any infringement.

  • by drDugan (219551) * on Thursday February 25, 2010 @04:07PM (#31277636) Homepage

    DMCA takedowns follow a very clear an explicit process on what providers have
    to do and how... as I understand it, "locking out" the domain at the registrar
    level is far beyond both the spirit and the letter of the law.

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday February 25, 2010 @04:08PM (#31277650)
    The chain of events is nothing newsworthy. 1. Microsoft claims copyright on its internal guide. 2. Microsoft sends DMCA takedown letter... site refuses. 3. Microsoft sends DMCA takedown to server provider, server provider must take on the liability or take down the whole server, server provider decides to down site. What's newsworthy is that Microsoft is now saying "sorry" and letting the document stay up now. If you didn't know there was a law enforcement back door in everything Microsoft does, well, here's your proof.
  • Re:Openness (Score:3, Informative)

    by megamerican (1073936) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @04:21PM (#31277840)

    http://cryptome.org/ [cryptome.org] is back up and has dozens of different companies similar documents from the likes of yahoo, facebook, paypal, myspace, aol, skype, et al.

    Since coming back online he has made all of those available at the top of his website because of the interest generated from his temporary censorship.

  • Re:Openness (Score:5, Informative)

    by megamerican (1073936) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @04:28PM (#31277934)

    I should have added that Yahoo had tried taking down their lawful spying guide but wasn't as "successful" as Microsoft. I say "successful" because Microsoft claims they only wanted to take down the document and not the website. However, it resulted in the takedown of the website and thus generated much more interest in the document and had the opposite effect of what they wanted.

    Thankfully for us most corporations and governments don't realize this. If MS had done nothing the majority of people would have never read this because most people don't visit cryptome or other whistleblowing websites on a regular basis.

  • by ashridah (72567) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @04:29PM (#31277952)

    Calling this a 'back door' is a bit disengenuous. That's data that Microsoft has collected about you, through your use of their services. If a law enforcement agency has the appropriate request (supoena or warrant, etc), then it's either "provide a way for them to collect it, in such a way that protects every other user of the service from undue scrutiny" or "let them walk in and take the servers, and screw everyone"

    You're making a big mistake if you think that law enforcement agents won't do the latter if you refuse to give them the former.

  • Re:Wait wait wait. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 25, 2010 @04:34PM (#31278030)

    They can copyright their cafeteria menu and issue a DMCA takedown on that if they really want to.

  • by billstewart (78916) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @04:46PM (#31278230) Journal

    The DMCA requires that if an alleged copyright owner alleges that specific material on a site infringes their copyright, the web hosting provider needs to disable access to that specific material, unless notified by the user that he disputes the allegations of the alleged copyright owner, and there are some detailed timelines for the actions. It doesn't require that the web hosting provider disable the whole website, or that the domain name registrar prevent the domain owner from changing the IP addresses for the website, or that either the web hosting provider or domain name registrar erase all backups, destroy the hardware with thermite, shoot the user's dog, or nuke the city from orbit.

    Unless I'm misreading the correspondence that was posted on Cryptome's backup site, Microsoft asked Young's web hosting provider, Network Solutions, to disable access to one specific file under the DMCA, and Network Solutions, as the hosting provider, decided on their own to disable the entire cryptome website, and their evil twin, Network Solutions the DNS Registrar, decided on their own to place a lock on the domain name. I don't know if Netsol-the-registrar's contract with ICANN lets them do that, but I'd be surprised -this isn't a trademark dispute about the name cryptome, it's a copyright dispute about material on the site.

    The DMCA deadlines haven't expired yet, so Network Solution's Other Evil Twin, Cthulhu Inc, have not yet completed the aforementioned other activities and slunk back in to the ocean, but it's possible they'll do it anyway just for fun.

  • by bugnuts (94678) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @05:17PM (#31278718) Journal

    It's either [disable the site], or be liable themselves for any infringement.

    You are incorrect, in my non-lawyer's opinion from what I know of the DMCA.

    The owner of cryptome.org sent a DMCA counter-claim, under penalty of perjury. This means he acknowledges the accusation and bears the responsibility. NSol cannot be held responsible, and is granted immunity from prosecution by the DMCA. MS cannot file another DMCA claim at this point; they can only take him to court.

  • Re:Wait wait wait. (Score:3, Informative)

    by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot@pitabre ... org minus distro> on Thursday February 25, 2010 @05:20PM (#31278750) Homepage

    Just because it's within their legal rights doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. I'll bet that lawyer has a lot of splainin' to do to the boys upstairs about this egg on their face. The document was leaked, and the DMCA was never intended as a censorship tool, so abuse of it really hits Microsoft in the reputation department. That's why there's this quick turnaround on spinning things.

  • by dch24 (904899) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @05:28PM (#31278870) Journal
    When was this brought into a court? Did a judge even issue a summary judgment?

    Yeah, didn't think so. And Microsoft backed down. [computerworld.com]

    In the mean time, the DMCA does not allow for a "Legal Lock" on a domain name.
  • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 25, 2010 @06:07PM (#31279304)

    A whois [domaintools.com] on the domain indicates it's old enough that it was created when Network Solutions was the only real registrar available. Remember, in the 'old' days Network Solutions had a monopoly granted it by the NSF to run the 'American' domains. While 1999 was just at the cusp of the change over, it was still a long while before Network Solutions was finally forced to play fair and real alternatives to them that people could trust showed up.

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