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US Government Domain Seizures Failing Miserably 132

Posted by timothy
from the dog-bites-man-sun-sets-as-usual dept.
ktetch-pirate writes "Operation In Our Sites, a US Government-led domain seizure action to deal with piracy, is pretty much a failure. TorrentFreak has examined a significant number of sites that have gone on pretty much unhindered, despite the seizures. Already some questions have been asked about the constitutionality of the seizures, and the evidence used as justification, but it seems the end results weren't as good as boasted either."
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US Government Domain Seizures Failing Miserably

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    • But it can still be un-lawful. The big difference is that the government itself determines legality via it's legislation and courts, whereas the law is discovered in the tangible and natural reality, not the governments verbiage. It is unlawful to take another persons life, it is legal to do so if your legislation justifies it as assassination. It is still un-lawful. It is unlawful to steal another persons property, but it is legal if the government calls the stealing taxation. Legalizing crime is not
  • tl;dr (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Monday April 04, 2011 @05:27AM (#35705878) Journal

    In summary, what this article seems to be saying is, "The lobbyists are not doing a good enough job of pushing for pan-governmental Internet control."

    You should also check out just how free the states were 150 years ago from Federal control.

    But this is Internet speed.

    Give it 15 years.

    • Re:tl;dr (Score:5, Informative)

      by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Monday April 04, 2011 @06:00AM (#35705980)
      I think what you mean is:

      "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." - John Gilmore.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by cpu6502 (1960974)

        The censorship in Egypt proved him wrong. They shutdown the internet to local citizens completely, just by telling the ISPs to go offline.

        • The censorship in Egypt proved him wrong. They shutdown the internet to local citizens completely, just by telling the ISPs to go offline.

          Really, that's only half true.

          http://www.securecomputing.net.au/News/246707,egyptians-turn-to-tor-to-organise-dissent-online.aspx

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The censorship in Egypt proved him wrong. They shutdown the internet to local citizens completely, just by telling the ISPs to go offline.

          And how'd that work out [dweebist.com] for them?

          The government that tried it a couple of years ago got away with it, but the next one was overthrown, and the third one has a civil war on its hands.

          Pulling the plug on the internet is a crappy way to stay in power. It just doesn't work.

          • by JWSmythe (446288)

            Pulling the plug on the internet is a crappy way to stay in power. It just doesn't work.

            It may be a poor way to stay in power, but it is a proper military tactic. Disrupt their essential services (power, water, food) and communications, and then the enemy is blind and becomes desperate. If the enemy is an attacker, they are more likely to retreat. If the enemy is a defender, they will be more likely to surrender or suffer a total loss.

          • by mldi (1598123)
            Kind of like blowing on hot coals?
      • Re:tl;dr (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Monday April 04, 2011 @07:22AM (#35706226) Journal

        Government interprets freedom fighters as terrorists and shoots into them.

        The missing ingredients are technology and jurisdiction.

        Slashdotters and the like are providing the former; lawyers and politicians the latter.

        • by OzPeter (195038)

          Government interprets freedom fighters as terrorists and shoots into them.

          Except when they are supporting them.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          Sometimes there are good governments and bad people.
          Sometimes there are bad governments and good people.
          Who is good or bad is in the eye of the beholder.

        • Re:tl;dr (Score:4, Insightful)

          by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday April 04, 2011 @09:26AM (#35707052) Homepage

          The only difference between a "freedom fighter" and a "terrorist" is that a freedom fighter is on the same side as the speaker, while a terrorist is on the other side.

          Similar rules apply to the difference between "torture" and "enhanced interrogation", and a host of other terms regularly used in news and politics.

          • No. A terrorist attacks people that have nothing to do with the military or government in an attempt to cause terror in the public. A freedom fighter MAY also be a terrorist, but not necessarily. One that randomly targets and assassinates military and/or government targets only is not a terrorist.

            • A terrorist attacks people that have nothing to do with the military or government in an attempt to cause terror in the public.

              Such as those who engaged in the bombing of Dresden [schoolnet.co.uk]. A couple of shock-and-awe questions for you:

              (1) Can you name one group in the last century which has declared war but which has restricted itself to military and government targets?

              (2) Which residents in a country have nothing to do with the military or government?

              But the distinction between civilian and soldier is overrated, an artificial construct to dehumanise soldiers and make war seem somehow civilised.

              "Terrorist" is a god-disguising synonym for "inf

            • by dkleinsc (563838)

              That's not at all consistent with how the word "terrorist" has actually been used.

              Some recent attacks generally considered to be "terrorist attacks":
              Bombing the US Embassy in Nairobi (government target)
              Shooting rockets at the USS Cole (military target)
              Shooting at Fort Hood (military base)
              Hamas bombing Israeli checkpoints (military / government target)

              By contrast, these are not generally considered terrorism, even though they would meet your definition:
              US drone attacks on apartment complexes in Yemen and Pak

          • by lwsimon (724555)

            I disagree. "Terrorist" implies that non-combatants are targeted, using terror as a tool against the general populace to meet a political goal. "Insurgent" would be the non-friendly version of "freedom fighter".

      • by cultiv8 (1660093)
        Not for those of us who operate a legitimate online business. I couldn't imagine what my customers and clients would say if one day they came to one of my sites and saw a domain seizure image [torrentfreak.com], even if the government did it on accident [slashdot.org].
        • by GeorgeS (11440)

          I couldn't imagine running an on-line business and not having some sort of back-up plan in place in case the US government did make a mistake or just decided to seize my registrars servers for some reason.

          Full disclosure before I continue....I run 2 of the Cesidian Root Servers [cesidianroot.net]

          I also know that as long as my site has an IP address and a net connection my "customers" and the rest of the Internet will be able to access my systems. I am NOT dependent on ANY US based ICANN root server to keep my sites on-line an

  • Rojadirecta.es (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cigarra (652458) on Monday April 04, 2011 @05:30AM (#35705888)
    Of course it's a failure. Everyone I know went from using Rojadirecta.com to Rojadirecta.es to watch soccer games online. Not a problem at all.
    • by Inda (580031)
      Same with Empornium.

      One day I find it's been taken down. Googled "Empornium", found a news item with a list of 15 other trackers I'd never heard of.

      Sometimes you cannot fight fire with fire, you have to use water.
    • Of course it's a failure. Everyone I know went from using Rojadirecta.com to Rojadirecta.es to watch soccer games online. Not a problem at all.

      Where 1 gets taken down, 10 new ones emerge.

      Fell one giant tree, 10 new trees start to grow.
      Kill Napster, and 10 new download programs emerged.
      Kill tvshack, and 10 new streaming databases emerge. Fastpasstv.eu, project free tv, etc.

      p.s. I didn't know Rojadirecta :-)

    • I've never heard of this site before. Streissand effect?

      Oh, wait, I don't watch football. In fact, I hate football. Does that mean that I am a case study for the effects of piracy on sales figures? If I watch a match on that site, it is certainly not a lost ticket sale / sports package subscription / PPV fee.
    • You see, when kids grow up playing Whack-a-mole at such places, the game plays with limited run time, and if they whack enough moles before the time runs out, they win some tickets or whatever. This gives a false impression that whack-a-mole is a game worth playing, and these kids grow up to be politicians.

      It needs to be changed, for the good of mankind. The game should run forever and never give out prizes, and the moles should laugh at the player, like the dog from Duck Hunt. Kids should be allowed to wal

      • We don't need to go quite that sadistic, and we can still make it realistic.

        Here's my version: It starts with one mole. It comes up or goes down, on a random schedule. If you hit it, you now have two moles, and they tend to stay up more. Hit one of them, same thing happens again.

        Prizes go out if there are no moles up at the end of the set timeframe.

  • by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@ u b e r m00.net> on Monday April 04, 2011 @05:37AM (#35705910) Homepage Journal

    As if they care about actual results. The people behind this will commission their own review with their own predetermined successful results when they're ready to ask for more funding.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday April 04, 2011 @05:46AM (#35705942) Homepage

    The practice of seizure of land, cash and other assets based only on suspicion of connection with illegal drugs is still going on to this day. It is riddled with constitutional problems and yet here we are, decades later, the practice still going on.

    The airport screening efforts, though more "formalized" only exposes the stupidity of the whole thing. By most definitions, a failure but it continues.

    It's nice to identify things as not working, but it has to be admitted to be a failure by the people who made it happen and then stopped. It is not a failure as it represents to the public "we are doing the best we can" so that the question "why didn't you try something?" gets asked, they can point to this -- failure or not -- as an attempt to "do something."

    • Unlike with the war on drugs, the war on piracy has no mothers to say "look what happened to my son!" and demand explanations, there are no mafia-funding drug-dealers and no junkies with sharp things. The only ones demanding explanations are corporate lobbyists and the occasional filthy rich superstar. As far as the public goes, the parts who know and care at least, hundreds of millions of people are being persecuted globally because a few overprivileged rich guys want their stupid business models protected
      • As far as the public goes, the parts who know and care at least, hundreds of millions of people are being persecuted globally because a few overprivileged rich guys want their stupid business models protected.

        That sounds a lot like the Federal Reserve [bloomberg.com] banking system.

        • by aekafan (1690920)
          D@#m, you mean there actually is someone on this government kissing website that actually understands how poisonous some government institutions are? Wow, wish I had mods points. Thank you, sir, for giving a little bit of hope for the human condition.
      • by Hatta (162192)

        As far as the public goes, the parts who know and care at least, hundreds of millions of people are being persecuted globally because a few overprivileged rich guys want their stupid business models protected.

        Unfortunately, the ones who know and care are a very small minority. Look at the public opinion on most gaming sites on Sony vs Hotz, for instance. Bunch of dumb kids blaming Hotz for cheating on online games, and ready to sacrifice basic property rights to deal with it. Sickening.

    • if you ever going to defeat any of the issues you complain about you have to develop a philosophy slighter deeper than "the government is evil, man"

      the war on drugs has nothing to do with piracy. nothing. unless you are a stoned philosophy major. yes, then of course, it is the same thing. but if you understand how and why we are talking about different issues, you can begin to change the world. but if you continue to insist on the most broad of equivalencies, you're just another idiot who will never make a

      • the war on drugs has nothing to do with piracy. nothing.

        Unless you consider that they are both tyrannical government programs that target participants of a black market in order to protect wealthy special interests, then, yes, you're right.

        • when someone is skewering a uselessly broad way of thinking about problems, it helps not to respond to their comment by being "exhibit a" of exactly the kind of idiot they are talking about

          • by WNight (23683)

            You said they had nothing to do with each other. You were proved wrong.

            You're evidently some useless crackpot who can't tell "similar" from "same".

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        It comes down to profits, which is EXACTLY what he was saying! The prisons? They're being privatized, and they don't make money on empty beds. More prisons, more profits, which equals more kickbacks. And how do you think certain three letter agencies pay for their dirty off the books black ops shit? Give ya a hint, they were landing C130s filled with sacks of coke and flown by the military in Mena AR in the 80s. profits from that coke? That don't show up on any congressional reports, they can do with it wha

        • i'm trying hard to figure out if you are satire of the useless "government is evil, man" crackpot i am talking about, or an actual crackpot. people need to label their sarcasm nowadays. on the internats, there's no way to tell lampoon from reality

        • by lwsimon (724555)

          Any citation on that reference to Mena?

          I live fairly near there, and have several close friends in the area. Never heard of such.

          I *have* seen some interesting things in north central AR - but I've always chalked that up to being a Cold War-era storage facility being in the area. Lots of covered 2.5 ton trucks driving by at 2:00 am, and coming back unloaded an hour later.

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            Sure thing friend, here you go [ezinearticles.com]. Now this is a review about a documentary covering the Mena CIA drug trade, but I'm sure if you hit the torrents you can find the original source. I know it was pretty common knowledge amongst the cops and my friends working in the military, and it especially pissed off the cops as it caused a shitload of high quality coke to flood the market causing ODs all over the place.

            But hell I don't need documentary to tell me what's what, I see it every week. My old building is right i

  • FTP Warez Servers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I remember back in the day when you had to hang out in IRC channels and share FTP warez server lists. Maybe it'll revert back to that.

    • by westlake (615356)

      I remember back in the day when you had to hang out in IRC channels and share FTP warez server lists. Maybe it'll revert back to that.

      When was the last time you saw anyone but a geek install an IRC chat or FTP client?

      "Security through obscurity."

      A return to a level of complexity the masses abandoned along about the time dial-up AOL was in its prime.

  • To sum it up (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04, 2011 @06:02AM (#35705988)

    - Violation of the right to due process: domain owners who are victim of the US government are not given explanations and they are expected to prove their innocence if they want their domain back. Not only is this unfair, but whatever country you live in you really do need to worry when your government rapes its Constitution and laws and decides it can do as it pleases. On top of this, it created a huge loophole where those seizures could be used to target specific people, businesses or websites for reasons those seizures were not made for.
    - Too many errors, some very serious. Not only were innocent websites taken over, but some of them were outright falsely accused of hosting pedophile content - this damage is impossible to fix, even if a judge rules the accusation was a mistake your reputation will forever suffer from this.
    - Taking over "US-owned" domains failed miserably - foreign 'illegal' websites were still doing fine (as the present article says)
    - Taking over domains was inconsistent and arbitrary: some were prime targets while others were ignored for no apparent reasons. I don't know about the USA but many countries require the authorities to treat crime equally and logically. In those countries more serious offenders can get priority, but it would not be OK to seize a domain because the website hosted one song while another websites that hosts thousands of songs is ignored. Selective Justice should not happen, everyone must respect the same laws and must respect them equally.

    • by decora (1710862)

      everyone must be under the same law? how quaint!!!

      trailer park moms with a few ounces of pot get years in prison,

      cocaine using prostitution beating hedge fund managers who rip off 500 million dollars get mansions and hang out with Bill Clinton

      • by Anonymous Coward

        everyone must be under the same law? how quaint!!!

        trailer park moms with a few ounces of pot get years in prison,

        I about choked on my dinner the other day while watching Fox News. Bill O'Reilly was whining about Willie Nelson getting out of another possession charge. His Legal pair of token breasts, err I mean "Commentator", said "It's just a minor possession charge, all he had was a few ounces."

        Now, in most states even a single ounce is a Felony quantity, and in some cases anything over an ounce is legally assumed to be "for distribution or sale" which is a whole new pile of charges and penalties.

        Just goes to show if

      • cocaine using prostitution beating hedge fund managers who rip off 500 million dollars get mansions and hang out with Bill Clinton

        If you are referring to Jeffrey Epstein, he is also legally a pedophile (although I believe that technically the correct term would be pederast). Of course, I am pretty sure the reason that he got off with just a slap on the wrist is because so many influential people probably also had sex with some of his underage "servants" and if Epstein had received the sentence he deserved it is likely that he would have revealed who all made use of the services of those girls.

        • pedophile, no he liked them young, but not pre-adolescent, (13-20). pederast, no they were female. I think the word for were looking for is ephebophile. (an adult that predominantly is sexually attracted to 14-19 year olds.)
        • jeffrey epstein actually had an investment with one of the Bear Stearns hedge funds that blew up in 2007... those funds were filled to the brim with shitty CDOs and were one of the first signs that the industry was coming unglued.

  • With all the side-channels, like Twitter, available these days, it's trivial to communicate a change of domain to your users, but if you're creative then you don't even have to do that. A few sites now, notably Newzbin.com have started using Tor hidden services [torrentfreak.com] to make domain seizures a non-issue.

    As with any arms race, all you really achieve is creating some really neat new technologies and methods to get one over on the other guy.

    • As with any arms race, all you really achieve is creating some really neat new technologies and methods to get one over on the other guy.

      As with any arms race, the "defender" is one step behind the "attacker". New technologies have to be invented before they can be countered, as a general rule.

  • So this campaign not only targeted sites that weren't offending, but was also ineffective against the actual violators?

    There we are, I guess.

  • i guess a two trillion dollar black hole in the world economy is not as important as some kids ripping brittney spears songs

    • by Narcocide (102829)

      Please. Most if not all of that "two trillion" dollars is caused by megacorps like GE avoiding their taxes. The system only works if everyone plays by the rules, and blaming all the damage caused on some children stealing media they wouldn't be otherwise able to afford anyway is a pretty pathetic attempt to pass the buck and you know it.

      • by BoberFett (127537)

        How is GE avoiding taxes? If congress wanted GE to pay taxes, they shouldn't have carefully and specifically crafted a law stating that they don't have to pay taxes, donchathink?

        • by Narcocide (102829)

          http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/business/economy/25tax.html [nytimes.com]

          Its all over the news. Not just NY Times either. If you're gonna lambast me for the accuracy of my post at least get it right and lambast me for not knowing what a CDO is before popping off, instead of splitting hairs about something they've *all* been doing since well *BEFORE* such a law was explicitly put into place and that needs to be marked [citation needed] anyway. FYI I now agree with the original post having been informed of my lack of

  • Well, duh. It should come as no surprise that trying to seize entire domains to crack down on a single offender would fail both on an operational and PR level. Can you imagine what would happen if the police tried to stop crystal meth trafficking by shutting down entire neighbourhoods based on the mere suspicion that someone might be renting a room to a meth lab? The criminal would have no trouble relocating in a hurry, leaving dozens of irate home owners to vent their fury on the public place.
  • Seizing the domains would be like an operation to cleanup the drug problem. Have the Postal Office change the address of all of the crack houses. Then no one can find them anymore. Problem Solved
  • First, this hasn't just been targeting Piracy, AnonOps.ru was briefly seized as well (DHS logo and everything), but it seems to be back up now.

    Second, how did the sites continue? Just move to a new domain name? Tell people to go straight to the IP address?

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