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back to article Police to get greater web censorship powers

Police will effectively get more powers to censor websites under proposals being developed by Nominet, the company that controls the .uk domain registry. Following lobbying by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Nominet wants to change the terms and conditions under which domain names are owned so that it can revoke …

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Is there some reason

why the police think that the normal course of law does not apply to them?

If they have information that a site is being used for crime, then go to court, and get an order to close it.

If they're not going to do that, we simply have a police state where the police censor information they don't approve of.

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Vic
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One zonefile to rule them all...

> the police think that the normal course of law does not apply to them?

If we're being rigidly fair about this, this controversy is not the fault of the Police - not entirely, at any rate.

From the article:

"Police will effectively get more powers to censor websites under proposals being developed by Nominet"

Note that, assuming the article is accurate, this is all Nominet's proposal, not the Police's demand.

Granted, Nominet have faced "lobbying by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency". That might have amounted to "would you like to do as you're told, or would you rather come and have a look at how steep the steps are in our nick?"

Vic.

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Re: some reason

If Nominet suspend your domain registration under these proposals, without bothering to take the evidence to a court, that is basically a public declaration on their part that you are a crook.

Have these idiots not heard about UK libel laws?

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Big Brother

And so the screw begins to turn

and the State thinks it is finally starting to censor the 'net, when all they are doing is obscuring the Web.

Stupid.

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FAIL

Is it a crime to take photos?

Just wondering what will happen to all of those sites shamelessly hosting photos taken in a public place, evil people like Damian Green/Chris Galley, or even Policemen blasting random Brazilians in the face.

Obviously, taking photos ... that's a terrorism and public order offence innit?

And then sites being rude about policemen... them too. Oh wait... I'm really sorry, I think I might have just caused a problem.

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Big Brother

Can't wait...

I can't wait until they pull google.co.uk, because the domain is being used to support criminal activity.

Others to be investigated:

direct.gov.uk

hsbc.co.uk

tesco.co.uk

and so on and so forth...

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Anonymous Coward

I forsee the rise...

...of one massive darknet.

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Sir

All it would require for a Darknet to become an Internet is a peering agreement and someone to dish out IP addresses and domain names.

The powers that be REALLY don't understand technology do they?

oh, and whilst we're at it..

"By working through Nominet, however, it would be much easier for police to block such efforts centrally by revoking the domain name of any website republishing the allegedly illegal information"

..can you imagine the shady shennigans to be had by hacking a public site with 'censored info' so the police order it taken down. A new kind of DOS.

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Vic
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Not even that.

> All it would require for a Darknet to become an Internet

> is a peering agreement and someone to dish out IP addresses

> and domain names.

All it would require is a single[1] DNS server that enough people were prepared to consider authoritative...

The Internet sees censorship as a fault, and routes around it. DNS is no exception.

Vic.

[1] Granted, it would be shit with just one server - but others could join very easily.

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Anonymous Coward

alt TLD?

Do you mean, say, an alt TLD? For example: www.theregister.co.uk.alt

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Vic
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Re: alt TLD?

> Do you mean, say, an alt TLD? For example: www.theregister.co.uk.alt

Possibly. That's one way of doing it.

Alternatively, if we're just looking at dealing with Nominet, we use an unused .uk zone. So, for example, I could set myself up as the registrar for all .dark.uk domains. I could maintain a simple zone file that delegates to other nameservers[1]. To join this darknet, you either put my IP address in as one of your DNS servers, or use somebody else who does.

Users who are slightly sharper than the average bear can set their resolvers up to query me only for .dark.uk domains. This reduces the load on everyone, but is an optimisation, not a requirement.

Vic.

[1] except for the domain "vic.dark.uk", which would be mine, natch

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hosts file

To begin with there were the IP addresses. Then came the hosts file which was shared and duplicated all over the place. Then came the Domain Name Service. Anyone can run one, many probably have a local bind server doing just that and referring to the big domain servers when it don't know the answer.

It was designed to get round these problems. So all you have to do is start a DNS and backup registry service that complements and feeds off of the main ones. Everyone can hook their own DNS into this, that's whats supposed to happen. The DNS could be extended to include tor sites and P2P and VPN type stuff.

However I expect simply building such a thing would be deemed illegal simply because of what it could do. If you are not already one of the big boys of the Internet then forget it, those pioneering days are gone. (or are they.....)

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No proof required...

...it simply requires some oik at Nominet to "believe" a domain's being used to commit a crime and - WHAM - sentence is carried out.

You have been judged, citizen.

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Punishment first, trial some time maybe

Given 'reasonable grounds' they are going to kill someone's domain? And perhaps destroy their business?

No need for a trial, or a chance to confront the accusers.

And they are going to take down any domain which republishes information? Exactly how will they do this for domains not ending in .uk?

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Exactly how will they do this for domains not ending in .uk?

That's where all the stuff about forcing ISP's to filter content comes into play.

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Silly me.

Thinking that a court room was the place where criminality was determined, rather than upon the whim of the police.

Interesting concept: the judiciary as an option, perhaps even an annoying quango.

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if the incident was urgent ?

Oh look, all requested take downs are now 'urgent'.

I'm sorry my cynicism is showing again.

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FAIL

So criminals will simply...

... move to other registries. Plenty others out there that Joe Public "trust" - .com being the obvious one.

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Big Brother

do wake up Jason

I came here from prisonplanet.com, they were complaining how the US were taking down sites in this way. Someone posted a link on

http://www.prisonplanet.com/homeland-security-shuts-down-dozens-of-web-sites-without-court-order.html

"Hombre Says:

November 27th, 2010 at 10:41 am

What a coincidence (is it?): UK police seek powers to shut websites.

"

It's the NWO doing this so don't think the grass is greener, it's the same grass. Look at smoking, all smokers now stand outside in the cold to smoke, not just in the UK.

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Anonymous Coward

Well thought through

What a great idea - letting the police censor the internet at the drop of a prejudiced hat. No scope for abuse there, I mean its not like they've taken a dozen other powers and put them to uses never intended by the authors, is it?

I look forward to an internet where police once again become the lovable bobbies of old, replete with public admiration and with ne'er a bad word said against them, whatever the reality.

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Police making the laws?

This does not sound good if police are by-passing the courts and the laws of the land. There is a little thing called due process and it should be up to the courts to decide if someone is breaking the law.

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Goodbye web

It was nice while it lasted, but the authoritarians have taken over now.

Off to find another Temporary Autonomous Zone.

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FAIL

I say 'FAIL' and you say 'yes sir, how Epic?'

"By working through Nominet, however, it would be much easier for police to block such efforts centrally by revoking the domain name of any website republishing the allegedly illegal information."

No, it wouldn't. It's still a pointless game of whack-a-mole, and there are scores, maybe hundreds, of other domains and sub-domains that could be pointed to a web server, which will remain accessible globally regardless of what domains point to it. Epic, epic fail. And that's not even factoring in torrents, emails or sneaker-net. You CAN'T BLOCK THE FLOW OF INFORMATION. It's like trying to stop the tide coming in, it cannot be done. How much money are the government going to waste trying? How many eggs have to be wasted before they see the albumen dripping off their face?

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WTF?

Nominet said it will consider creating an appeals process

Before they create an appeals process, how about they create a process where they actually *LOOK* at the sites that the Police want to censor and *CHECK* to see if anything illegal is going on there instead of saying "Yes Sir, Three Bags Full Sir, we'll take it down right away on your say-so and then deal with the poor sod on the other end whose business might end up being wrecked"

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Pirate

Rule of law

This would be the same Nominet that since the Digital Economy Act 2010 can be taken over by government if "...the registry, or any of its registrars *or end-users*, engages in prescribed practices that are unfair or involve *the misuse of internet domain names*"? (My emphasis.)

Just checking.

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Anonymous Coward

They're cutting police numbers.

So there are fewer plods on the street.

Those that aren't on the street are surfing the net all day looking for sites to take down.

Meanwhile, students run rampage, Hoodies terrorise neighbourhoods, various ethnic groups shoot and stab each other and cyclists go through red lights.

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Big Brother

UK Police

While I agree with nearly all of the previous commentards, I feel that things will only get worse. The police have grown used to their dislocation from the public, now believing it to be within their rights to demand action from or restrictions to the public. without the obvious inconvenience of going to the courts.

Our politicians seem powerless to control their excesses, or spineless in their acceptance of these abuses.

Individuals can no longer take out private prosecutions against police forces or individual officers as, by law, the CPS must take over all criminal prosecutions. The police themselves will not control their own officers, using delaying tactics or other legal tricks to prevent one of their own from being brought to justice, even for murder / manslaughter. Should officers get caught committing fraud, such as using their constabulary credit cards for personal uses, then they let off. Too many officers involved to prosecute was the official reason. These self same officers would be happy to charge a few thousand ordinary people for doing the same thing though.

The actions of ordinary officers, and all of the levels of their management are continuously bringing the police service into disrepute. They are no longer fit for purpose and should be cleaned out top to bottom.

Control of the constabularies must be returned to the local communities.

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There... fixed that for you.

"Our politicians are complicit in encouraging their excesses, and accepting of these abuses"

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Well, there goes eBay.co.uk ...

purveyor of, allegedly, pirate and/or nock-off.

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the big sites are fine

ebay already does whatever someone big tells them to do. The police will never hurt ebay. It's a fascist police state. The big companies are part of the policing process. Anybody not willing to act as plastic police will get policed. It's all to persecute we the terrorists.

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Anonymous Coward

SOCA wins a level in lawless, nominet shown clueless.

Creating an appeals process effectively turns the burden of proof around -- get slapped then scramble to prove a negative. Who says you'll be shown the "activity" that triggered the killing of your domain name so that you can actually defend yourself?

Besides being pointless hassle for the defendant, it's also a pointless hassle for nominet. If they had any clue they'd insist on a court order and let the courts sort the whole mess out. From an administrative standpoint for them, that's easier. It's also --presumably-- fairer and SOCA cannot really object against the due course of law, can they?

Any complaints of "but that's too slow!" and the like are a separate problem and need fixing *in the justice system* and may not be cause or excuse for supposed upholders of the law to circumvent the judicial system they're there to enforce.

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WTF?

I find myself spluttering in disbelief

I'm stunned, nay flabbergasted, at the breathtaking ... well.. EVERYTHING... of this idea...

But... but... Innocent until proven guilty?

But.. .. due process?

But.... um isn't the internet INTERNATIONAL?

But... isn't the internet ultimately based on IP ADDRESSES not domain names?

But.. .can't you have mutiple domain names pointing to the same place?

But.... isn't DNS distributed and cached anyway?

But.... hasn't this kind of thing been repeatedly proved pointless?

but..but.. but...

Oh please please go win a Darwin award or something you silly silly nominet people! (AND the people "pressuring" them for this drivel)

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Big Brother

War is peace, ignorance is strength, copying is a crime. Trust the computer.

"At present, there is no specific obligation under Nominet's terms and conditions for owners to ensure their domain names are not used for crime."

I would say that doesn't need to be in T&C, really.

"Despite this, in December, at the request of the Met's Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU), Nominet revoked the domain names of 1,200 websites it said were being used to sell counterfeit designer goods"

That's a _crime_ nowadays?

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Anonymous Coward

Circumnagivating the Law

Why are the police allowed to do this? It's like the ANPR camera network was established without any legislation; there was never any public discussion if we wanted thousands of cameras reading & storing our number plates. Maybe there is an argument for this, but it should be decided on & voted for in Parliament (if that itself means much democratically now). Too much has become law or de facto law by bypassing our democratic institutions via means like this or so-called statutory instruments.

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Anonymous Coward

Share your concerns with Nominet!

I understand why there are grave concerns over this, it's very worrying indeed. The best step for us to take is to share our concerns with Nominet here:

http://www.nominet.org.uk/policy/issuegroups/current/domainsassociatedwithcrime/

After all, we can lobby too.

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Alert

Oh, Look! Police State!

Their list headed, "Who would usefully be involved in the discussion?" is very telling:-

"Who would usefully be involved in the discussion?

Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)

Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU)

OFT Cybercrime Unit

HM Revenue & Customs

Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

Health and Safety Executive

Trading Standards

Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS)

Home Office

Registrar representation

ISP representation

Nominet representative

Confederation of Business and Industry

Federation of Small Businesses"

Looks like the sort of list you'd draw up if you really did want to be part of a fascist police state. Police and the like come first, followed by government. Ordinary citizens come right at the bottom of the pile, and even then only get recognised if they're in business.

And what about actual justice? The Home Office and Department for Business Innovation and Skills are there, but not the Ministry of Justice, or anyone else who might represent justice or the judiciary. Justice, it seems, is nowhere to be seen.

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Re: Oh, Look! Police State!

Let me summarise that list for you:

A Bunch of police types that have an interest in an easier life and controling what you do

A bunch of government types with no clue and a vested interest in "doing something"

A bunch of organisations that can make money from the deal

1 guy to represent the interests of everyone to be shat on so that he can be duly shat upon.

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WTF?

and find yourself listed as a political subversive

Help build the polices list of political subversives by simply emailing in your details when you oppose anything they want to do.

The lobbying is simply because SOCA are too rubbish to actually prosecute criminals for real, rather than do that they want to issue take down notices as its easier than stopping the real criminals.

So given the dodgy goods on the various online tat bazaars whats going to happen to the .co.uk address's ? I doubt they will take on big business when it comes to that aspect.

And thats before you look at the censorship aspect, criticise a named police officer and thats got to be a breach of the harrassment act Nominet so take it down etc etc ad infinitum. Nothing has to be proven in a court of law, its just the word of a "law enforcement agency" that a crime may be being committed.

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Unhappy

I'm beginning to feel sick.

" ... It also sees closer cooperation with law enforcement agencies as a way show the domain industry is capable of self-regulation."

No : it shows that they are lily-livered and chicken-hearted. How about taking their guidance from the law, not simply from the heavies leaning on them?

This is more like the rule of The Mob.

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FAIL

Soon......

The Police and Judiciary have done a marvellous job of alienating themselves from the public. They police with our consent. The day will come very soon when the population will no longer stand by and idly watch some injustice, or brutality at a demonstration. More of us than there are of them. Wonder if they'll wonder why the public just watched as they are beaten to death by angry crowds?

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Pirate

Raytheon etc - police will have better weapons than the public.

"Wonder if they'll wonder why the public just watched as they are beaten to death by angry crowds?"

Technology ensures that probably won't happen, at least not to the point of a total loss of control of the public.

Future police etc., probably wouldn't have much trouble obtaining (perhaps secretly without public knowledge) and, if need be in times of "national emergency" (which could be just about any situation) actually *using* stuff like:

The "sonic deathwave cannon... for riot pacification":

<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/19/israeli_sonic_cannon/>

and Raytheon's "riot-roasting raygun" which "The United States is to export... to an unnamed foreign ally":

<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/07/silent_guardian_export/>

Yeah, so maybe using that stuff wouldn't be exactly democratic in some people's views, but authorities do all sorts of strange things to combat perceived threats against their "national security" etc., and angry mobs destroying the police would likely qualify as such.

So don't hold your breath waiting for the next revolution - the police and militaries will always have better weapons and better technology.

The public doesn't stand a chance, unless something were to take out *all* electronic devices and communications and revert us back to the stone-age temporarily... which, given the fragility of modern electronics, might not be that hard to do, with sufficient funding (probably provided by some *other* nation-state or 'terrorist' group that has money to invest in researching such things).

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FAIL

Police will censor the truth about their corruption

Just like with section 44 of the terrorism act, and section 5 of the public order act, the police (scum that they are) will just use the new powers to harass people, and stop public criticise of them, just like they do now.

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Troll

"illegal advice"?!

The UK is a police state! You fascists always think you're the worl's policeman, you arrogant... Uh... arrogant people! Plus, you had an obnoxious state leader and supported an unjust war!!

Ack, sorry - don't know what came over me there.

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WTF?

"iilegal advice"?!

@David W

next you'll be suggesting the law chambers of Mrs Blair will be acting in the appeal of someone convicted under Mr Blair's "freedom of speech - not your speech though, just mine" legislation.

You couldn't make it up, could you?

Well, not in 45 minutes, anyway.

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45 minutes!

I am sick of their lies. Mind you Nigel Farrage was very convincing when he told Von Rumpie what a liitle weazel he is, sorry how badly the Euro is f***ked up and how he told him so last year.

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"Illegal Information"

A concept I'm not keen on.

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