* Posts by John

1 post • joined 23 Jul 2008

Registrars turn blind eye to sites selling illegal steroids

John
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A note from LegitScript

This is a pretty natural follow-on to Bob's email, above. I also consider myself to be a strong privacy advocate (hence our insistence that online pharmacies have strong privacy protections, for example) and this isn't about forming an Internet police or ministry of truth. This is about the registrars following their own policies, which allow for termination of websites that are engaged in illegal activity. (The language in each User Agreement varies, of course, but they basically all allow termination, and many require it, for illegal activity.)

The report we released actually addresses all of the points raised above. To take one point (about steroids being legal without a prescription in some countries), remember that these sites are specifically marketing to the US, and the default shipping option in many cases is to the US. None of these sites are marketing primarily (or in most cases at all) to their home country. Reaching a conclusion that there's nothing illegal or harmful going on here requires some convoluted logistical acrobatics. Anyway, I encourage anybody with questions about the logic behind our argument to read the report (which I just don't want to retype here in this little comment box).

Also, some background about LegitScript might be helpful here. We don't charge the pharmacy websites to be verified. If they are legit, then they're legit. They shouldn't have to pay extra money to prove it. It's essentially a project to create a "whitelist" of the legitimate actors, which helps consumers and businesses. As far as why LegitScript should do it (regarding and earlier post asking, who gives these companies the right to say who is legit?) our standards are actually recognized by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. (The Boards of Pharmacy police the pharmacies and pharmacists, so in fact, we have the ability to say who is legitimate or not, at least related to pharmacy websites.)

More info available to those who want it, but the bottom line is, I don't think that anybody really wants true anarchy on the Internet without serious attempts to keep the spammers, phishers, and other bad actors (including rogue Internet pharmacies) at bay. And, it sounds nice and politically correct to say that "registrars aren't supposed to police the Internet" but actually, their User Agreements sort of give them the ability to take action against the bad actors. And as Bob said, registrars are supposed to verify WhoIs data and shouldn't give a domain name to somebody who hasn't provided accurate information.

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