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The Courts Government Privacy United States News

State of Kentucky Seizes Control of 141 Domain Names 505

ashmodai9 writes "In a rather interesting (read: insane) decision, a district judge in the State of Kentucky has awarded control of 141 online gambling domain names to the governor of the state. Most of these are hosted offshore, and very few are registered under US domain name registrars, let alone registrars in the State of Kentucky (are there any?). You can check out the press release here, and confirm that the Commonwealth of Kentucky does in fact now 'own' these domain names by performing a WHOIS search on any of the domains listed here."
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State of Kentucky Seizes Control of 141 Domain Names

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  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:15PM (#25153721) Homepage Journal
    ICANN will be handed over to U.N., resulting in whole lot of mess.
  • Interestin'.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UncleTogie ( 1004853 ) * on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:16PM (#25153749) Homepage Journal

    Cue the lawsuits in 3....2...1...

    Is there ANY legal precedent for this, or does the KY AG just brain-fart regularly?

  • Jurisdiction? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Oqnet ( 159295 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:17PM (#25153771)

    Arn't the offshore sites and registars a little out of the juridiction of the state? I could understand(well not really even then) if it was the government of the United States doing this. But the state being able to take things from people over seas just because they accept american gambling? How is that different then shutting down a store in Africa because they run a store that is illegal by american standards and accept US currency? By a state no less.

  • Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by doctor_nation ( 924358 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:17PM (#25153777)

    I am just completely flabbergasted that this can occur. By this logic, China could sue every website that posts anti-government information and seize all of their domains. Including something like google. This is really blowing my mind- can someone smarter than me explain what the judge was smoking, and why this isn't actually going to happen?

  • by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:20PM (#25153813) Homepage

    Seriously what is the issue here? Given that the biggest gambling Mecca in the western world is in the US (Las Vegas) which has the biggest gambling sporting events (Boxing) what is the issue with online gambling?

    I'm a Brit, our issue was that we couldn't tax it so they went offshore. Our solution? Change the tax rules so they want to come back onshore. So far society hasn't collapsed and it appears that doing online poker is less risky than trusting your money to a bank right now anyway. I have friends who work in the sector who get nervous when they fly to the US even though they are developers, its just madness that the US seems to thinks gambling is a massive evil, in a country that things gun ownership is a right.

    Given the current banking collapse and the way the Fed have clearly gambled on things (house prices going up for ever) it is ranking up there with a Kim Jong Il moment as weirdest things that a government could do.

    The scary bit is I don't see anyone pushing back on it, not McCain, not Obama, not congress and certainly not the President. So please someone tell me

    What the hell is so fundamentally wrong with gambling?

  • by paradxum ( 67051 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:22PM (#25153835)
    This is EXACTLY why we (the US) should not control this resource. I love living in the US, and think it is a great country (yes, we make mistakes... but other countries do too.) But I don't think any 1 country should control this resource for exactly reasons like this.
  • NSFW (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:23PM (#25153863) Journal
    Websense blocks it.
  • by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:24PM (#25153879) Journal
    One word. Taxes.
  • Re:Jurisdiction? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by orclevegam ( 940336 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:24PM (#25153893) Journal
    Simple, the judge is out of his god damned mind. It's becoming increasingly clear that the legal and administrative bodies of the US government have only the most tenuous of grasps on the way the internet works, and absolutely boneheaded rulings like this one only go to reinforce that opinion.
  • by mr_mischief ( 456295 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:26PM (#25153919) Journal

    ixwebhosting's parent is Ecommerce, Inc. in Kentucky, USA and Austria, Europe. With them you can host, register a domain, and get a credit card merchant account.

    It's a big state with roads, universities, and ... actual cities. Just because there are parts of the state that are isolated and backwoods with people who are isolationist and backwards doesn't mean nobody in the whole state has an Internet connection.

    In related news, not everyone in the state of New York is a tough Italian mafia soldier or Jewish writer with an overbearing mother. Not everyone in California is a beautiful, sexy, wine-making goddes under 50 or a Silicon Valley millionaire.

    The same applies to people descended from different places who have immigrated. Not all Germans are engineers, and not all Persians sell rugs or drive taxis. Not all Mexicans are illegal immigrants, and not all white men are rich or powerful.

  • Re:Jurisdiction? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Oqnet ( 159295 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:28PM (#25153959)

    So, they went to a site out of the country to do it. Are you saying that you should ban everything in amsterdam just because some guy from kentucky decided to go there?

  • by night_flyer ( 453866 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:28PM (#25153961) Homepage

    have you been paying attention to the global markets lately? It wasnt people investing that caused the meltdown but unadulterated gambling...

  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:33PM (#25154049)

    It's wrong that the various state governments cannot collect taxes from it. If you pay close attention, most states have state lotteries. That's gambling. But it's legal because the state gets all the proceeds. Online casinos, however, are not, because they don't share their revenue.

    It's really a money grab masquerading as morality. Sad, I know.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:36PM (#25154087)

    1. Religious people dislike it. Here in the US, they hold sway in places like Kentucky and there are enough of them to get the Federal Government to placate them most of the time.

    2. There are people in the middle class and up who gamble for fun. There are people in the low-middle and lower classes who gamble as an attempt to make money. They typically don't succeed and this leads to worse poverty which leads to stronger gambling. Rinse, lather and repeat. So the claim goes anyways. Gambling targets the poor, the minorities, etc. To "help" them we must limit their access.

    3. Gambling is still linked to crime in many people's minds. Kind of like how marijauna is a gateway drug, gambling leads to all kind of bad things. Las Vegas is still perceived as a place run by crime behind the scenes by these people.

  • Re:Jurisdiction? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by corsec67 ( 627446 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:43PM (#25154179) Homepage Journal

    That doesn't answer how Kentucky has jurisdiction.

    That should be the federal governments jurisdiction, since that really is interstate (or international) commerce.

  • pot, kettle... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scotsghost ( 1125495 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:47PM (#25154251) Journal

    Beshear said Kentucky loses tens of million of dollars a year to online gambling, which is illegal in all 50 states. And, he said, the illegal activity has repercussions far exceeding its monetary losses to the Commonwealth:

    • Unlicensed Internet gambling significantly undermines and threatens horseracing, Kentucky's signature industry and a key tourism industry, by creating unregulated and untaxed competition;
    • The accessibility of the Internet, and the unregulated and private nature of Internet gambling, creates conduits for youths to log on and place wagers;
    • The anonymity of the Internet and sophistication of encryption devices make it difficult to trace online laundering schemes; and
    • The unregulated gaming lacks consumer protections to ensure that individuals who choose to gamble are actually paid for their winnings.

    So the most significant problem with online gambling, in Kentucky's eyes, is that it decreases the pool of money available to the horse track. Of course, they can tax that. They're really whining about the drop in tax revenue.

    The last point is a good one, but it's as applicable to internet shopping as to internet gambling. Anytime you give someone money over the 'net, do it with a credit card. Any problem with the transaction, for any reason, call your card issuer and issue a chargeback. It's that simple, and it's the only thing that works. Government hasn't figured out a better way to deal with e-commerce yet, and they aren't likely to anytime soon.

    The others are just a state who can't deal with new technology -- they're whining about how the Internet works, for chrissake. Welcome to the 21st century, Kentucky. Can we move forward now??

  • by geoffspear ( 692508 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:48PM (#25154277) Homepage

    russia, perma member of the council, and has veto power. and, run by a mafia mob.

    And if the UN controlled ICANN you just *know* decisions on domain names would be brought before the Security Council.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kabocox ( 199019 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:53PM (#25154347)

    I am just completely flabbergasted that this can occur. By this logic, China could sue every website that posts anti-government information and seize all of their domains. Including something like google. This is really blowing my mind- can someone smarter than me explain what the judge was smoking, and why this isn't actually going to happen?

    You don't understand. We can do what we want to them. They aren't allowed to do anything to us. If they try to do anything to us, then they are evil war mongering terrorists or some other label that we've yet to make up. We'll get away with everything that they let us.

    This applies equally to everyone.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by einer ( 459199 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:54PM (#25154365) Journal

    I second this request for clarification. Did we really just send up a sign that says "If we don't like your site, we'll jack your domain because it's our internet. Love the USA." Via what process and mechanism of authority was this allowed to occur? Did the governor log into the root servers himself and update the named.conf? Is there some kind of gui-rific web2.0 webapp that only our statesmen have access to that allow them to direct traffic on the tubes? Do states actually have the authority to jack domains that violate their laws? How has thePirateBay been allowed to exist for this long?

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:58PM (#25154413) Homepage

    "Highrollerslounge.com" is currently registered to "Commonwealth of Kentucky Justice Cabinet" and not currently resolving. The registrar was eNom, a favorite registrar of bottom-feeders. Enom is behind "Club Drop", with dozens of dummy registrars to pick up expiring domain names; they're a bulk registrar. Since Enom deals with many slimeballs, their policy [enom.com] is "If we are sued or threatened with lawsuit in connection with Service(s) provided to you, we may turn to you to indemnify us and to hold us harmless from the claims and expenses (including attorney's fees and court costs). Under such circumstances, you agree that you will, upon demand, obtain a performance bond with a reputable bonding company or, if you are unable to obtain a performance bond, that you will deposit money with us to pay for our reasonably anticipated expenses in relation to the matter for the coming year." So, unsurprisingly, that domain was transferred to Kentucky.

    On the other hand, "Bugsyclub.com" is still connected to a gambling site. Their registrar is "Fabulous.com PTY LTD." "One of the leading domain monetization programs". "Fabulous.com" tries to be anonymous on their web site, but they're incorporated in Brisbane, Australia, and hosted in Santa Clara, CA. They used to be "Domain Intellect Pty Ltd", in Melbourne.

    "sportsbook.com", once a major gambling site run from the UK, now a lesser site run out of Malta, is still up, and registered with Network Solutions. Sportsbook had some previous problems with the state of New Jersey [wikipedia.org] over similar issues.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:58PM (#25154423)

    Please don't believe that this action by the governor is motivated by some religious conviction. In the state of Kentucky, horse racing is king. The state is looking at legalizing casio style gambling but only allowing the horse racing industry to run it. Follow the money (and read the press release). This is all about someone in the horse racing industry not liking the competition.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:03PM (#25154497) Homepage Journal

    The difference? ICANN is in the US, not China. If it was in China, exactly what you said would be happening. But then, the rest of the world would wake up, and ICANN (or it's international-except-china equivalent) would not be under the exclusive control of a single nation)

    I wonder how many people need to get screwed before ICANN goes properly international.

  • Re:Chicken (Score:2, Insightful)

    by turtledawn ( 149719 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:19PM (#25154719)

    Have you ever BEEN to Virginia? Hell yeah they think their shit doesn't stink...

  • Re:Confirm? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:35PM (#25154959)

    It's just as likely that you don't have a clue either. Any idea what "cache" means?

  • by geoffspear ( 692508 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:33PM (#25155869) Homepage
    Sure, but no one petty dictator has all that much influence over a given UN agency. A system subject to the whims of some random county judge can't be significantly better than a system subject to regulations reached by international consensus, even if a lot of the countries reaching that consensus (most of which, really, probably don't really care much about domain name squabbles) aren't all that admirable.
  • Re:Jurisdiction? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by number11 ( 129686 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:38PM (#25155931)

    They are taking bets from people within Kentucky in violation of state law. If the African store was selling drugs to Americans, the same thing would happen.

    And if an American provided pictures of unveiled women to someone in Saudi Arabia, would Saudi Arabia have jurisdiction over the domain involved?

  • by Amouth ( 879122 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:50PM (#25156145)

    if i offer up a service.. that i run(serve) where i am and is legal for me to do.. and you want to partake in it.. but it happens to be illegal to do where you are..

    why should i be punished if you do it? i mean really? think about it..

  • Re:Wow. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Wizzo1138 ( 769692 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @04:08PM (#25156417)
    Even if everything you say is true of these websites, Kentucky still has no jurisdiction to remove them from the internet.
  • by Venik ( 915777 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @04:24PM (#25156735)
    Neocon ideology is not tied to Bush and Cheney, or even to the GOP. It's an expression of US nationalism and superpower mentality. Many Russians will argue that Clinton administration with Albright's "new world order" was a far more potent realization of neocon ideology, while Bush represents a limited - albeit more militaristic - form of neo-conservatism. Historically, USSR and later Russia found it easier to establish common ground with Republican administrations in the US. Not to mention that Bush with his idiotic foreign policies probably was more instrumental to Russia's economic recovery than Putin, who just provided political stability while aptly exploiting America's numerous foreign policy flops.
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @04:30PM (#25156847) Homepage Journal
    russia is run by a REAL mob. analogies dont hold. cia, bush et al would look like a brutal bureaucracy compared to the back alley mob that is ruling russia.

    anyone raises their voice, even in some positive tone of criticism, they GET KILLED no later than 6 months or so.

    in contrast, michael moore is still going around the country without getting clubbed to death accidentally by a lone police officer in usa.

    that should tell you the difference.
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @04:34PM (#25156913) Homepage Journal
    that 'new world order' of albright and clinton gave us the free internet.

    world has never been the same again. see, you and me, talking together, im here, god knows where the hell are you.

    that kind of world order is preferable to any else you mentioned.

    russia's economic recovery is SOLELY due to selling of energy resources, and its stability is due to the fact that whomever opposes anything kremlin or the mob does, gets killed in 6 to 12 months.
  • by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @05:34PM (#25157877) Journal

    Because that's how the law works in the US. Part of that has to do with the sovereignty of states. Want to engage in an illegal transaction with a US citizen, simple, make sure no part of the transaction takes place with in the US.

    By your logic, if I order some Cuban cigars online, we should invade and shut down the manufacturer? Or what about if I post on an Iran website that I hate Islam that that's against their laws. Do they get to come over here and arrest me? Get real, your logic sucks.

  • by Kagura ( 843695 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @05:39PM (#25157963)
    Or if it's a government that is opposing the motherland, then Russia shuts off natural gas to that country until said country is absolutely forced to capitulate.
  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @06:32PM (#25158605) Homepage Journal

    Hey the UN put China on the Human Rights Counsel so what could wrong?

  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @07:13PM (#25159099)
    Why do people automatically assume the UN will fuck it up, when the UN has operated the international phone network competently for decades? Is it just this weird anti-UN propaganda that the people in the USA are subjected to?

    The U.N. doesn't "operate" squat. They have oversight over the international standards body that specifies how the various national phone systems interact. That's about it.

    The two situations are not comparable: it's hard to subvert a phone system the way DNS can be subverted. Phones either work ... or they don't. There's no reason for the U.N. to have any real involvement in international telephony. The Domain Name System is an entirely different kettle of fish, and I'd say the probability of U.N. members screwing it up for some perceived political advantage approaches unity.

    Furthermore, what I don't understand is why some Americans are so eager to hand over control of what has become critical infrastructure for us (and, I might most of the rest of the industrialized world including our allies) to a fundamentally corrupt organization like the United Nations.

    DNS works, it works pretty well, and I've yet to find an overriding reason to change that, in spite of ICANN's essential incompetence. Better a group of fumblers running the show, than someone with the will and the ability to do real damage. Remember, the reason we're even discussing this is because control of DNS is power, power on a global scale. A lot of people want it, a lot of people will abuse it ... and we'd ALL best acknowledge that fact. The only reason I've heard to date for the U.S. ceding authority over the root servers is that it's "unfair" that we have it. My attitude is ... tough cookies. Life isn't fair, and frankly, I don't trust most of the rest of the world to do a better job than we have so far. Neither should you.

    I see no reason to take the chance (and it would be a hell of a risk) to let any multinational organization take over the root servers. The only reason that China, Russia, Libya and other similarly-inclined entities haven't been able to bend DNS to their will is because we won't let them. Sure, they can fuck with the system within their borders all they want, but they can't screw with anyone else. Consequently, I think it would be a serious mistake to do anything precipitate: if it ain't broke don't fix it.

    Obviously, stupid judges are a problem. A better, less dangerous approach would simply be to limit what the judiciary can do regarding domain name transfers to those domains registered to U.S. citizens. Congress would have to do that, I suppose, but that's what it might take. That's what treaties and diplomats are for.

    Or is it this weird anti-US propaganda that people in other countries are subjected to?
  • by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @10:11PM (#25160661) Journal

    The more fundamental question is, where should the line be drawn? Without a "great firewall of X" acting like customs, there's no way of stopping information crossing boundary's. If something posted by a citizen by county A is uploaded by an ISP of country B, to a server located in country C, which is owned by someone in country D, breaks a law in country E, what exactly should happen?

    I'm hoping your smart enough that it was a rhetorical question, but just in case... the only sensible answer is that each party involved should be prosecuted by their own country (or not prosecuted if there was no crime against it in that country). Country A should not be able to punish someone in Country B if by country B's laws there was no crime. Exceptions can be made for diplomacy of course, but in general that is the only logical way to go about it.

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.