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DHS Seizes 75+ Domain Names 529

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-for-the-gusto dept.
Many readers have sent in an update to yesterday's story about the Department of Homeland Security's seizure of torrent-finder.com, a domain they believe to be involved in online piracy. As it turns out, this was just one of dozens of websites that were targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "In announcing that operation, John T. Morton, the assistant secretary of ICE, and representatives of the Motion Picture Association of America called it a long-term effort against online piracy, and said that suspected criminals would be pursued anywhere in the world. 'American business is under assault from counterfeiters and pirates every day, seven days a week,' Mr. Morton said. 'Criminals are stealing American ideas and products and distributing them over the Internet.'" The TorrentFreak article we discussed yesterday has been updated with a list of the blocked sites.
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DHS Seizes 75+ Domain Names

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  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @03:54PM (#34359362) Journal
    Ironically, of course, grabbing 75 domain names as part of a taxpayer funded handjob for the MPAA's bottom line is a tiny; but highly visible, slice of ICE's activities and, by far, not the most sinister.

    This is an organization, after all, that has approximately 380,000 detainees enjoying its involuntary hospitality at any given time, in a nationwide network of facilities that range from "low profile" to "seriously shadowy". A fair percentage of them are undesirables of various stripes, so the public is wholly uninterested; but the process is opaque enough that their decisions aren't exactly subject to rigorous double checking. On occasion, a mysterious death or tragicomic "American citizen of the brown persuasion accidentally repatriated to some random country that he looked like he might be from, ICE tells his lawyer that they don't know where he is" story makes local headlines; but that is about it.

    I realize that Slashdot is a good headline for melodramatic techie myopia; but domain-name seizures are boy scout stuff by the standards of ICE's bread-and-butter activities...
  • by Bobakitoo (1814374) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:05PM (#34359444)
    This is a historic moment, but not for the reason you said. In 50 years the DHS will be remembered as the Americain version of the Gestapo. Seizes property, person and thought.
  • by Sepodati (746220) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:11PM (#34359482) Homepage

    Innocent until proven guilty, or even better, the presumption of innocence, only applies in the court. YOU have the presumption of innocence and your accuser must overcome that.

    These DNS entries were seized with a court order where enough evidence was shown to take action. No actual property was seized. The servers, files, original sites, goods, etc. are still in the hands of the owners. They'll have due process and the presumption of innocence if and when they are brought into court. Since I'm sure most of these owners are outside of the US, court will never happen, though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:13PM (#34359500)

    Oh and by the way, torrent-finder.info is actually a great site to find torrents.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:13PM (#34359504)

    If you made it to the 2nd paragraph of the NYT article, you would know the sites were taken down with a warrant issued by a United States District Court. I would assume these sites were investigated and found to be distributing faked goods and infringing copyrights. Hardly No due process.

    Although I admit, it is disconcerting the DHS is behind this.

  • by salesgeek (263995) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:24PM (#34359596) Homepage

    I believe it's in section 506 that criminal infringement is outlined. There is no civil suit requirement, and as in any criminal investigation, the government can seize evidence and the means used to commit the crime. In this case, it looks like the only one of the sites seized that may be problematic is torrent-finder.com.

  • Seize more sites. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:42PM (#34359754)

    Maybe they should seize the Federal Reserve domain. They steal more from Americans, by devaluing the dollar, than any pirate.

  • Re:Full Of Shit? (Score:5, Informative)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:27PM (#34360070) Journal
    This one [washington...endent.com] was pretty classy. Nothing says "due process" like denying a mental patient access to care, and then deporting him to a country whose language he doesn't even speak, and from which he isn't even descended, despite having evidence that he is a US citizen(and thus not even under ICE jurisdiction)...

    This article [sfgate.com] is rather more general. Cool thing is, immigration violations/deportations are considered to be civil, rather than criminal matters, despite the fact that people involved in them are generally detained in jail-esque conditions. No public defender for you, sucker. And proving your citizenship is a total cakewalk under those conditions...

    Googling turns up a variety of similar stories. Perhaps the snappiest is the one that begins with the money quote from one 'James Pendergraph, then executive director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of State and Local Coordination': "If you don't have enough evidence to charge someone criminally but you think he's illegal, we can make him disappear." [thenation.com].

    Obviously, if only by sheer statistical probability, ICE does manage to deport a fair number of authentic illegal immigrants every year; but they are about as callous and sloppy about it as you'd expect a bunch of jackboots with broad power and limited oversight to be.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:45PM (#34360194) Homepage Journal

    "In announcing that operation, John T. Morton, the assistant secretary of ICE, and representatives of the Motion Picture Association of America called it a long-term effort against online piracy, and said that suspected criminals would be pursued anywhere in the world

    Here, they are in , China, Russia. Now fuck off and go prosecute them after you talked so high and mighty. i would like to see you do it.

  • by toriver (11308) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:15PM (#34360422)

    Where is there any connection between the Shia Iranian government, and the sternly (as in "we hate the Shia") sunni terrorists of Al-Qaeda? "Is this another of those "WMDs in Iraq" things you people pull to justify the failed attempts at neo-colonialism?

  • by Mysteray (713473) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @07:04PM (#34360774) Homepage

    Good point. I did think I saw something about them having a court order.

    Still, the larger point is that the effects on the network are the same from the outside even if the boundaries of the system are drawn large enough to include both the DHS and some high-level courts.

  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Saturday November 27, 2010 @07:59PM (#34361098)

    The mechanism to accomplish what you state is called an injunction [wikipedia.org]. If party A is doing something that harms party B and the cessation of the activity cannot wait until trial, party B asks a judge to issue a temporary injunction. A and B show up in court, and if the judge believes B, he orders A to stop under penalty of contempt of court.

    That's how due process is supposed to work. Note that both parties have their say. What the DHS did is not due process.

  • Re:Full Of Shit? (Score:3, Informative)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @08:04PM (#34361116) Homepage Journal

    How are these people not bonafide official U.S. citizens? Because they happen to be Hispanic?

    The guy in the first article is from Puerto Rico. Citizens of Puerto Rico are, in fact, U.S. citizens and they are free to migrate anywhere to any of the 50 states, as any other American citizen would. The second guy was born in the U.S., the son of a decorated Vietnam War veteran (that's why he and his aunt had to locate his own and his father's birth certificates.)

  • by countertrolling (1585477) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @09:20PM (#34361534) Journal

    No actual property was seized.

    Wouldn't matter anyway. Asset forfeiture laws already permit seizure of real property without due process. The trick is to accuse the property (which has no rights of its own) of the crime. Pretty cool, huh?

  • by SatanicPuppy (611928) <Satanicpuppy@ g m a i l . c om> on Saturday November 27, 2010 @10:19PM (#34361802) Journal

    Little do they know it's only thanks to my magic rock that the country is reasonably terror-free.

    How do I know it's magic? Well, I've had it on the shelf for years, and not one terrorist has come within 100 miles of my house.

From Sharp minds come... pointed heads. -- Bryan Sparrowhawk

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