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DHS Seizes 75+ Domain Names 529

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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  • DHT? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @03:50PM (#34359334) Journal

    I'm not from the Americas, but I thought the DHT only dealt with national security issues, terrorist threats, natural disasters, and other high priority issues that affected the country. I'm not quite seeing torrent-finder.com as that, a torrent site I haven't even visited despite being a pirate. Is this honestly the same organization behind providing supplies to Katrina victims, as protecting private businesses against business models in crisis?

  • insert subject here (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2010 @03:54PM (#34359370)

    So, are there any alternative DNS servers that I can user that will still point to the non-seized addresses?

  • by Skal Tura ( 595728 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:00PM (#34359410) Homepage

    mod parent something like +trillion insightfull.

    I for one fear of this, and am now forced to take .fi domain for our business and simply make our .com a forwarder. We operate torrent seedboxes, nothing illegal in them itself, but many users seem to use it for illegal purposes, as DMCA requests for our US servers is "quite frequent", despite we are not US business, using US provider forces us to follow DMCA for the servers in question. Operating within completely in the legal domain, doing everything legally, does seem to provide us little to no safety against the whims of US goverment.

    Yes, our market is likely to be used for illegal purposes. So are the tools of locksmith or the common kitchen knife possibility to be used for bad. And what the article shows is one of those.

    The business plan of MAFIAA is outdated, and should be updated, but whenever new technology comes around something like this happens, but this is the first time actual tangible efforts has happened afaik.

    I'm sick of this, the world is crazy. What matters is what the average person thinks and does, and businesses as well as goverments SHOULD fear the population. It's the only way for humanity to get the most out of our lives, and the most progress.

    You cannot stop progress. I sense a darknet to rise if this becomes too common.

    Anyone know the domain registrars in question? Is it everything ICANN controls or specific domain registrars? That would show which registrars to avoid.
    I'm also curious why they did not shut down piratebay etc. as well? what is the pattern on the sites closed? ie. what is the pattern by which they do the seizing.

  • by maccodemonkey ( 1438585 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:03PM (#34359426)

    The government wouldn't have anything to do with internet enforcement. It would only be tasked with preventing other companies from regulating traffic. Net neutrality, at least in the form proposed, wouldn't at all give the government the ability to do this sort of thing.

  • by dwlovell ( 815091 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:09PM (#34359470)

    You don't get convicted/punished until proven guilty, that doesn't mean they don't shut down the operation when it's obvious they are actively selling fake goods right now. It is the courts job to decide what criminal charges may exist. Perhaps the shop owner didn't know they were fake? Just because the owner may not be the person criminally liable, that doesn't mean you allow the operation to continue.

    It was obvious these sites were selling fake goods and distributing copyrighted works. They shut them down and the owner's get to plead their case about how they didn't know or whatever their case is. The site still gets shut down now if they are breaking laws now.

  • by jhoegl ( 638955 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:15PM (#34359520)
    Zip and RAR and PAR are used to distribute illegal software, WAREZ, etc. as well as legitimate business items. It is ironic that they were not targeted, unless you think through the logic here.
    Torrents are the major backbone of the definition "cloud", or a distributed network of systems with full or partial files contained on them which can be pieced back together to form the whole.
    This too is ironic, since "cloud" is the big hype currently surrounding the IT world. (Of course this is laughable, "Cloud computing" has been around for a long time)
    Because Torrents are difficult to remove due to the distribution method, they target the tracking sites instead.
  • Re:DHT? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by maiki ( 857449 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:19PM (#34359556)
    Is it just me, or does the piracy thing sound like a cover? It seems the gov are trying to prevent access to the Wikileaks release. Or perhaps it's time I got me a tinfoil hat.
  • Billions (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Nihn ( 1863500 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:30PM (#34359648)
    Wow......and to think, these jackasses run this country. How pathetic. I'm starting to see why the rest of the civilized world thinks little of this place. People who produce shit are wanting laws to protect said shit which ensures they get paid for said shit. What happened to the costumer is always right? If what you serve me is below my standards what makes you think Im gonna pay you for it. These places that are "bootlegging" are 3rd world countries. They have shit for capitol and can't afford "american" prices. Supply and demand becomes the absolute law when concerning capitalism. If I want something I now have many places to look. I don't have to go to a store anymore, I can order from Amazon, eBay, or any other online retailer. But that is not enough for more discerning people who want to test drive before they spend their hard earned cash. Industry people are no longer needed, the days of the street markets are slowly coming back, and individuals...not companies..are making a few dollars to off set the ever increasing prices of standard living. Maybe if the pay wages were increased to compensate people would be more than happy to throw their money away on useless rehashed shit. But thanks to the laws of the stock market the companies will continue to suck the life's blood out of everything that can be sold with no concern to the damage they are doing to the little guy.
  • by turtleshadow ( 180842 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:54PM (#34359818) Homepage

    Not to wear tinfoil but it sounds like a Law Enforcement dry run for bigger operations. .gov is "testing" to see how their methods are going to work in real life, if things will stick, how the public reaction to be.
    When the horse bolts out of the barn, you better have to grab a pre-tested lasso before data gets to far out.

    No one will admit how much data leakage happened since the late 90s with p2p flooding data out of .gov, R&D, and medical offices in the West.

    You don't think the intel community never caught on? Lives and reputations are continuing to be be jeopardized with wikileaks... you think people are lying around for it to just happen to them?

    Likely a lull as they regroup see how to improve things, then another round.

    Politicians & Bureaucrats are not techies, but they tend to hire really smart companies and individuals for consulting and executing their work.

    Similar methods which today were used to down some .mp3 or girlie picture site will be in the future be used to down leaked data out of Gov, IBM, Apple, Boeing, Dow Chemical, ....

    As for US constitution, we have met the enemy and they is us. Peer Jury? I don't trust to be driving on the road with most of the people around me let alone have 12 decide my fate.

    When certain crap is impelled through the fan certain plans are going to be set into motion. They were approved already by people voted upon and installed into power by peaceful means, and will "reflexively" activate.
    If the US .gov goes out of control it is because of the citizens of the US, past and present actions, not because of anyone's future action.

    Why was I groped at the airport? Someone who was elected or appointed by someone elected perceived a credible threat of real person(s) who can't be identified and "found." instituted a response to that. Whoever that person who wants other people to be hurt or die for whatever reason; will use whatever means and opportunity they have to do it. That is a situation of intractable security.

    From a classical point of view; its means, motive and opportunity. US citizens can only react to means , increase/reduce opportunity and fuel or dowse the motivation for any kind of activity criminal or otherwise.

    When was the last time anyone asked "why somebody needs a new 32-64GB for their videos, pics & songs?".. that's a whole lot of cash on top of the equipment -- I'm sure they could produce each cassette, cd, dvd or print magazine and the receipts proving they bought license it and they didn't DL it off somewhere for free.

    We have met the enemy and they is us - greed, apathy, indifference, do it as long as nobody's hurt or if the "Big X" gets hurt even better. Enough of this kills a Constitutional democracy (big C little d)

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:56PM (#34359842)

    Except that this enforcement emphasis is biased in favor of protecting the rights of a collective (the MPAA/RIAA) at the expense of the individual. And this is worse than (theoretical) communism, where the collective represents the people.

    The government is taxing me to protect the property rights of a small group. The least they could do is to levy a tax on intellectual property* and use that to fund enforcement. Instead of picking my pocket in the name of national security and diverting that revenue to someone else's benefit.

    *Which raises the issue yet again of why, if IP is property just like my house, the gov't doesn't assess a tax on it.

  • I know... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TDyl ( 862130 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:00PM (#34359876)
    this will probably be modded down, but I do find it unbelievable that in the U.S. there are org's (Sea Org's ?) that are so powerful that both domestic and foreign policy (ACTA, ITO etc) are held-up as examples of "good practise" to the extent that what they want becomes law.

    Where's Alan Shore when you need him?
  • by Dthief ( 1700318 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:27PM (#34360064)
    And pease explain why torrent-finder.com is more at fault than other search engines such as google, bing, yahoo, etc, and why the websites listed were not equally "taken over"
  • by X.25 ( 255792 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:29PM (#34360088)

    The websites in these cases amount to a storefront to distribute fake goods or copyrighted materials. When this happens with physical storefronts, they get shut down. I don't really see how this is any different.

    This isn't about free speech, no liberties were lost, this is about people breaking the law and reasonable steps are being taken to stop them. You shouldn't fear the government as a result of this. Take off your tinfoil hat.

    So, a torrent search engine is now a storefront for distributing fake good or copyrighted materials?

    You're smarter then you keep your mouth closed and finger far from the keyboard. Really.

  • by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:53PM (#34360238) Homepage

    The majority of the sites were selling knock-off physical goods - it's quite easy to make a distinction there. I only saw one site on the list that was piracy-related, torrent-finder.com, although it looks like a number of sites were selling DVDs of pirated material which you could make a valid argument about either way (I'd argue they're like counterfeits; those sites tend to target ignorant people looking for a deal, not slashdotters with a bittorrent client).

  • Unconstitutional? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nailer235 ( 1822054 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:58PM (#34360284)
    The Supreme Court has already decided that prejudgment seizures of property are unconstitutional if not accompanied by notice and a hearing on the merits. See: Fuentes v. Shevin I don't see why this wouldn't apply to domain names as well. Wonder how long it will be before this statute gets challenged.
  • Re:Google next? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Xtifr ( 1323 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:14PM (#34360414) Homepage

    It's a matter of intent, something the law can and does take into consideration. Google et al. are shielded by the Betamax decision, because they're not promoting illegal uses. Incidental illegal uses (even if they constitute the majority of actual use) are not a problem, legally, but, as the Grokster case established, once you begin promoting the illegal uses, you've crossed the line.

    I have no idea whether Torrent-finder did promote illegal uses, but that's the question this is likely to hinge on.

  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:15PM (#34360420)

    businesses as well as goverments SHOULD fear the population.

          I just finished watching a video of stampeding bovines at Target, trampling a few people to get a small discount. After seeing something like this, I understand why government and business hold "the people" in such contempt.

          I'm also fascinated at how the great revolutions of history actually managed to get started. Perhaps it was because of the lack of things to do in a world without electricity and telecommunications that would lead the people to grumble and unite far sooner. Now it's just bread and circuses, every day. The politicians that get elected are not the smartest people, but the best showmen. So long as people have their Miller lite, their big screen TV's with ESPN and reality shows, their porn, and every now and again they can pretend to vote, they will be happy.

    The smart ones among us will just be left to despair - or turn to the dark side and run for public office.

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm ... minus herbivore> on Saturday November 27, 2010 @07:26PM (#34360916) Journal

    If you would have bothered to RTFA you would have seen other than that one torrent site nearly all of the ones shut down were selling things like "Windows 7 Ultimate just $25! Passes WGA!" and "iron Man 2 DVD just $2!" and that kind of shit. They were the classic KIRF knockoffs and counterfeiting sites and NOT a concerted effort to take down torrent sites.

    So unless you are really down for home burnt Windows copies with the malware conveniently added for you and Romex watches I don't see what the big whoop is. You try to sell fake Windows discs and counterfeit DVDs on the street corner they shut you down, how is this ANY different?

  • by Chaos Incarnate ( 772793 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @08:25PM (#34361240) Homepage

    Creating an extra digital copy of something, as in pirating, does not impede anybody's access to the original.

    Hijacking someone's domain does deprive the owner of access to the original, which certainly qualifies as "harm" in my book.

  • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @10:38PM (#34361882)
    This is one of the complaints about ICE and DHS.. they tend to exempt themselves from silly things like courts and constitutional amendments because they claim things that cross the boarder are not protected. This is why they can do things like search your laptop without cause even though normal police can not do this.

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson