back to article Unprecedented domain seizure shutters 84,000 sites

The federal government's unprecedented practice of confiscating internet domain names in secret court proceedings took a new and ominous turn last week when it resulted in the closure of as many as 84,000 website addresses. The power grab came last Friday, when the mooo.com, an address a service called Free DNS used to resolve …

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  1. raving angry loony

    class action?

    So, 84,000 lawsuits anyone? Ah, right, it's the US government, they're immune to actually facing the consequences of their actions. Fascism forever!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wow!

      Godwin's on the first post, my hat is off to you.

      While this is bad, and make no mistake - it is - it's hardly fascism. The domains were returned and a whole storm of condemnation has started. If this were a fascist state the domains wouldn't have been returned and there certainly would be no condemnation of state agencies.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Flame

        It's pretty much that.

        A shadowy bureaucracy with the name "Homeland" in it, seizes goods under "morally imperative" pretensions pretty much arbitrarily, doesn't care what anyone says or whether anyone is inconvenienced, casts a general chill along the lines of "we are watching you" and will it do it again in a heartbeat?

        Yeah, no fascism here, move along. On second thoughts, show me your papers.

        [And a "class action suit"? Defended by taxpayer money of course. Suckers.]

        [And it's not like child rape is not state sanctioned anyway. Yes, they stopped a Lynndie England.]

        1. Tom 13

          Actually, the AC is right and you're wrong.

          What you are describing is bog standard tyranny, not fascism. Fascism is what The Big 0 has been promoting for the last couple of years and what all of you Europeans have actually been living under for the last 40 or so: Government control of the major business decision making processes.

          But you've fallen victim to the Internationalist communist propaganda that Fascism = Nazism and therefore can't differentiate between the two.

          1. Azure_DDi
            FAIL

            "what all of you Europeans have actually been living under"

            Your lack of insight would prompt moderation were I, a "European" to reply bluntly, so I'll sugar-coat it with a vague reference to a suspect education rather than cite some politically incorrect statement ending in 'hic'.

            On topic, what is of greater concern is the inherent hypocracy behind this action - it is oft stated, at IGF and other forums, albeit under Chatham House Rules (u can google this term), that China and other custodians of net censorship use the evil of child pornography as a pretext to justify their draconian measures that extend far beyond the issue itself... and this seems to be exactly what the US are doing here. 84000 child porn sites? really?

            The real question is were the FBI shooting from the hip on orders from an ignorant figure in departmental/judicial authority, or was this part of a wider strategy under a politically convenient banner?

      2. byrresheim
        FAIL

        Sorry, wrong application of Godwin's law.

        Look up

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bishop_Galen#Protests_against_euthanasia.2C_Gestapo_terror.2C_forced_sterilizations_and_concentration_camps

        to see an example of real fascists retreating in the middle of a real war.

        Thus your argument doesn't cut it. Try another one.

      3. hplasm Silver badge
        Headmaster

        No Nazis-

        No Godwins'.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Megaphone

        Wow! indeed

        Incorrect citation of Godwin's Law, on the first reply, my hat is off to you.

        From the Wiki:

        "Godwin's law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies) As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."

        There was no mention of Nazis in OP's post. You're sort-of right though, it isn't fascism until 84,000 domains are seized for criticizing the Coca Cola Company.

    2. Martin Usher
      Stop

      Actually, they're not

      Its just an expensive and long winded process. But 84,000 affected people constitute a good sized class so there's enough room to go after them.

      Out of control Federal officials are a big problem in the US. The Feds do feel they're above the law with the result that confidence in the Federal government as anything except "the enemy" is currently at a low level (which is exploited by anti-government populist groups like the Tea Parties which, ironically, are stooges for even bigger and more oppressive government!).

      Right now it looks like we need to P2P the routing domain and routing information, get it out of the area where our "little Hitlers" can screw with it.

  2. Kevin Fields

    Painting a target on their backs

    I'm sure Sen. Ron Wyden will be very interested in hearing the Feds explain shutting down 84,000 sites.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You know...

    ...sometimes I used to voice my disgust at things like this, and people would say, "Yeah, well, wait until YOU have children!"

    Well, I've got a son now, and I'm still disgusted.

    I'd rather - and I'd rather have my son - live in a world that's slightly more dangerous and much more free, than the other way around. People tend to take for granted that increased safety is worth whatever cost - whether it's being fondled in airports, having our emails read, or finding that our web sites have disappeared. I disagree.

    Even if we supposed that these measures made us all perfectly safe, and guaranteed our lives until disease or old age took us - what would we be alive -for-?

  5. Oligova
    Paris Hilton

    Great idea - if they think further..

    ..they'd have to arrest all their soldiers and federal agents immediately beacause some have been convicted of rape and/or murder and many other hideous crimes...and wouldn't that make the world a better place

  6. GuyC

    Who in the hell

    Would have this phrase as a registered trademark

    “Our government is going into court with half-baked facts and half-baked legal theories and shutting down operations. This is exactly what we thought the government couldn't do. I'm scratching my head why we aren’t' grabbing the pitchforks.” ®

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    “Our government has gone rogue on us”

    That sums it up nicely. Not that it is my government, but I'm sure mine wouldn't be averse to similar behaviour. It seems it is easy to effectively turn off chunks of the internet : is Hilary really happy about this?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No

      86400 is the number of seconds ina day for that calculation

    2. Andy Barker

      3% out

      OK, they were out by a little under 3%. Surely it doesn't make it a FAIL?

    3. Raumkraut

      Number interpretation fail

      86400 is the number of seconds in a day. 172800 is the number of seconds in 2 days. The summation of those numbers you quote indicates the (maximum) time before the domain records in question will be re-requested; ie. the maximum time those _84000_ affected sites will remain inaccessible to some people.

    4. TakeTheSkyRoad
      Grenade

      Lets not bicker about details

      The point is that the action was wrong, I think a small percentage margin of error can be forgiven.

      ANY nunber of sites taken down (or effectivly inaccessible) is wrong.

    5. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Who in the hell

      That is how El Reg signs off its articles.

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: Who in the hell

        Haha! Priceless.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm not at all sure

      You'd find pitchforks in many third world banana republics, no matter how much money they have.

      We ARE talking about a third world banana republic, aren' we?

      Sure looks like the activities of one.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Err?

      Isn't the 86400 a 24hour TTL, not the number of records?

      172800 = 2 days

      86400 = 1 day

      1 + 2 = 3 days

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      RE G2

      To quote the article

      with all due respect: 'fuck off'

      The number of sites is NOT the issue here. The issue is the method employed to do this by a government agency that thinks it is above the law

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Black Helicopters

        Actually...

        ... the number of sites *is* the issue here. If ICE had taken down one domain, or a dozen, or even a few hundred, then that would be acceptable insofar as they had narrowed the range of investigation before acting. What is unacceptable - and unconstitutional - is ICE's blanket squashing of every site associated with mooo.com to look for a handful of criminals who they didn't even know for certain were there.

        1. EyeCU
          Unhappy

          Flawed logic

          So according to you it would be ok for them to completely ignore the correct procedures as laid down in law, which have been upheld in court many times as long as it only affected a small number of domains.

          1 or many the law still applies

        2. Tom 13

          Right conclusion, wrong logic.

          The number of sites is important because it makes it unmistakeably clear that the process puts everyone's liberty at risk. With a smaller number it could have been swept under the carpet, which still wouldn't have made it right, but then they might have gotten away with it.

    9. Jedit
      Coat

      The other way around

      I think we'd all prefer a world that is slightly more dangerous and much more free than one that is slightly more free and much more dangerous.

      Yeah, yeah... I'm going...

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      I'm glad they f'd it up this badly

      ...maybe this will finally get enough attention on this behavior to get them to stop.

    11. Chris Parsons

      Why do I need a title to reply to a post?

      But, as the Mirror would doubtless say...if it saves the life of one child...

      To be honest, I don't think the life of one child is worth all the crap we have to put up with these days in the name of child protection...but I'm a miserable old sod, and I don't care.

  8. Tron

    The USG pissing on their own constitution (again).

    They are not the good guys and you cannot trust them.

    I hope the inevitable EU anti-perv legislation states that when they find cheese pizza they block THE IMAGE not the website, host, ISP, and DNS service.

    Come on guys. Don't stoop to the level of the USG. That would be embarrassing.

  9. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Pint

    Operation Protect Our Children?

    Why not call it by it's real name, "Operation Won't Somebody Think of the Children!", it's obviously designed with Daily Express/Mail/Sun mentaility types in mind, stir up a bit of the old peado-geddon ruckus again!

    You can imagine the DHS meeting. "So we need to take down a few sites with the CP on it yes? Why don't we just pull the plug the whole domain? So a few people with some pictures of their pets go offline for a few days, so freaking what?! Yeah threaten the domain owner with the CP laws and 30 years in jail, he'll snap and we can make ourselves feel big and push our point home far quicker."

    1. Tom 13

      No they aren't. You obviously haven't been paying attention.

      They told you the Constitution means exactly what THEY say it means, even if what THEY say it means contradicts what is clearly written in it. See the Kelso decison.

  10. Simon Round
    Flame

    Mathster! Mathster! The villagerth are resthleth!

    "Eric Goldman, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law said. “Our government is going into court with half-baked facts and half-baked legal theories and shutting down operations. This is exactly what we thought the government couldn't do. I'm scratching my head why we aren’t' grabbing the pitchforks.”

    I now have visions of the US Government living in a dark castle at the top of the hill with the US citizens marching up with pitchforks and flamming torches to burn them out.

  11. Danny 14 Silver badge
    Stop

    the answer is simple

    vote with your feet. dont use anything hosted in america. Plenty of other providers out there.

    simple.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      +1

      mind you i dont think i would Ever use American hosting UK all the way baby !!!!

      I eat British Beef and Use UK Providers (made in taiwan :/ cant have everything)

    2. Pirate Dave
      Pirate

      As an American

      I can only say "If it were only that simple..."

    3. Disco-Legend-Zeke
      Megaphone

      Fuk Pitchforks, The Bill Of Rights...

      *

      ...was written "in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added"

      This might have set a record for most rights trampled in a single action.

      First Amendment: Not Just speech, but peaceful assembly. This is why dictatorships want a kill switch.

      Third amendment: By a tiny stretch, linking a government webpage is like quartering a soldier.

      Fourth Amendment: Yep.

      Fifth Amendment: Flipping a switch, or worse, bullying someone else into flipping it is hardly due process.

      Sixth Amendment: Jury Schmury.

      Seventh Amendment: We don't need no stinking civil law, we are the government.

      Eighth Amendment: IF it were MY website down, the angst and hours listening to on hold music would be cruel and unusual.

      Ninth Amendment: This was the poster child for mission creep.

      Tenth Amendment: We know we can't do this, but think of the children.

      So, with a little help from legal acrobatics, we can demonstrate that Certain agencies of our Government have managed to activate all our Bill of Rights protections except the Second... Oh, wait... Pitchfork Upgrades.

      *When Magaphones are outlawed, only outlaws will have megaphones.

      1. Tom 13

        And why exactly the short shrift

        for the Second?

        because that's the one that will enable us to carry the pitchforks when the time comes.

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Coat

          Pitchforks?

          I thought *this sort of thing* was the reason, the only reason, above all else, so help me Jeebus, for every man and his dog, to own a fucking gun.

          Pitchforks.

          Perhaps that is all the 'citizens' can handle now? **

          Sad.

          *Down with this sort of thing!

          **Careful now.

          I'm off, before I cause offence...

      2. Jeff from California
        Black Helicopters

        When megaphones and keyboards are banned…

        …they can pry mine out of my cold, dead fingers. Though I expect they'll more likely use black Suburbans than black helicopters.

    4. BongoJoe
      Go

      I do, already

      "vote with your feet. dont use anything hosted in america. Plenty of other providers out there."

      Try and have a properly run horse racing rating site hosted in the Land of the Free. Ha!

      No, the UK for me all the way. Whilst the Monarch of the Realm owns a few horses, has a few punts then we're going to be safe for a while from fascist nannyisms.

    5. streaky Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      titletitletitle

      You think that hosting, dns + domain registrar outside the US protects you from this? The USG holds all the cards. If they want your site down they'll get an order to have your (or your provider's) domain delisted and you got even bigger problems because you don't have ACLU/EFF et al types jumping up and down on Obama's head to get the service back up. You're instead relying on the company - say they're British - hiring lawyers in the US to make this somehow work, and the US consititution doesn't actually apply because you're not a US company/citizen.

      Now you're instead trying to get the WTO or something to try to get the US govt to fix this, all your customers are freaking out and going elsewhere, the British govt can't do anything and probably wouldn't even if they could. Hell the FBI probably told them you like pictures of children by now anyways so you've got other concerns.

      What it actually needs is for the domain and IP system to be decentralised from the US - but the problem with that is it gives them power to wield so obviously it'll be over their cold, dead bodies.

  12. Cameron Colley

    Wow, the US is oficially now as bad as Australia and China.

    Well done!

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      WTF?

      Waddya mean, "oficially [sic] now as bad"?

      Where have YOU been the last decade?!?

  13. Raumkraut
    Unhappy

    Panem et circenses

    "I'm scratching my head why we aren’t' grabbing the pitchforks."

    A. Bread and circuses.

  14. Magnus_Pym

    Franklin

    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

  15. Miek

    Pitchforks

    " I'm scratching my head why we aren’t' grabbing the pitchforks."

    What good is a Pitchfork against the armada of lethal weaponary the US government has ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      They thought of that one...

      Fortunately the US Constitution supports the right to bear arms precisely so that people can take them up in revolution against an unjust government...

      1. King Edward I
        Stop

        And yet...

        ...they will continue to sleepwalk into a dictatorship, just so long as the government doesn't touch their right to bear arms.

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Didn't happen under the last one-

        But then again, depends on which side has all the bear arms?

        Arm the bears!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Right to bear arms

    Isn't this exactly the kind of thing the gun lobby keep insisting the gun laws are for - so you can protect yourselves from an oppressive government? Well, get on with it or accept that argument is pure bull, and reform your gun laws so that not every stupid redneck with a he-man complex can arm themselves to the teeth while shouting 'it's my right'. You might find it reduces the amount of innocent deaths every year.

    Off topic I know, but I think it makes a good point

  17. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Meanwhile

    Meanwhile the US - being as enlightened as they are - are taking great care to point out to the governments of Egypt and Bahrain that they must allow their citizens free speech.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But it's true

      what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.

      blah blah blah.

      The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Patriots? Pah.

        "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants."

        Hokum for hard-men.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Oscar Wilde

          "Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious"

    2. g e
      Big Brother

      Right to bear arms, OK, but...

      A few thousand armed demonstrators excercising their right to bear arms wouldn't last long against a bank of military miniguns, teargas and skincinerator rays.

      Then they'd be labelled terrorists and their families hunted till the end of time by the NSA/DHS or some other TLA.

      The right to bear arms is already meaningless in the good ol US of A. You'll just get mown down by your Govt. for trying.

      Big brother, cos his minigun is wayyyy bigger than yours

    3. JRallo
      Joke

      No title here...

      A comedian put it nicely once (don't recall which one) "..see, we have the right to bare arms to protect ourselves from an oppressive government. When created, it was muskets verses muskets. Today its still muskets, only muskets verses M1 Abrams tanks an nuclear war heads."

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Political Dislexia

        It seems that

        "The right to bear arms to protect ourselves from an oppressive Government."

        seems to be read as

        "The right to bear arms to protect ourselves from a Government that is not run by us."

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      there is a slight difference...

      ...In that journalists and citizens can discuss this without being beaten and shot, and in that the entire internet hasn't been blacked out.

      And in that actions like this -can- and -will- be fought successfully in court. As they have been.

      My post above makes clear my feelings on this - but breathless (and dare I say it, daily mail style) hyperbole help nobody. If the response to this is just, "we're all doomed and it's just like China now" then what have we to fight for? Might as well give up.

      But it -isn't- like China, we -can- do something, we -do- still have the constitution, and we -must not- give up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        I disagree

        ".. and in that the entire internet hasn't been blacked out."

        Sorry, but a chunk of it was, actually. That's the point of the story or did you miss that one?

        "And in that actions like this -can- and -will- be fought successfully in court. "

        Yes, but it didn't stop them doing it in the first place and it won't again.

        "But it -isn't- like China"

        Yet. Some would say that the difference is not that great actually. Yes, there is freedom until you do something that the government doesn't like and then they shit on you. Pretty much like China actually. The difference is only a question of scale.

        "...and we -must not- give up."

        The only thing that you said that I agree with.

        1. david wilson

          @Skelband

          >>"Yes, there is freedom until you do something that the government doesn't like and then they shit on you. Pretty much like China actually. The difference is only a question of scale."

          Sure, from one perspective it *is* a quantitative difference, but as Uncle Joe one said, quantity can have a quality all its own.

    5. John F***ing Stepp
      Happy

      No, they let us carry so we can protect ourselves from

      An invasion by the Canadians.

      (and now I will have to write a strongly worded letter of apology.)

  18. DominicSayers
    Big Brother

    51st State

    Hello, people slagging of the US Government:

    You do realise that UK police are also in the business of seizing domains without judicial oversight? Over 1,200 in December 2009 alone.

    http://www.nominet.org.uk/digitalAssets/45676_Dealing-with-domains-associated-with-criminal-activity.pdf [PDF]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      This story is about America.

      If it were about Britain we would be slagging them off, but it's not.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @DominicSayers

      The subtle difference is that we don't have a written constitution guaranteeing our right to freedom of speech and protecting us against unlawful property seizures.

      OK, we sort of expect that our government will play the game and not be dickish about things like that, but then we hit puberty and realise how things really work.

    3. Cameron Colley

      True, but the UK is not "The Land Of The Free! (TM)(R)(C)".

      The UK doesn't have a constitution for our government to piss on either, which I suspect they're unhappy about.

      Don't get me wrong, I despise what has become of my country of birth and am not proud of it -- but the US does rather make a fool of itself pretending it's free.

    4. Tom 13

      Um, that only proves the British tyrants are pikers

      who can only pull off a piddling 1,200 seizures, not the the Americans are following a just course of action.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Troll

        Following a just course of action?

        See icon

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: 51st state

    Yes, I think we're equally critical and ashamed of our own police state's actions over recent years and aren't claiming any moral high ground on that front.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    EGYPT anyone

    All Americans move now to the front of the whitehouse and start a revolution

  21. g e
    Coat

    Right to bare arms

    *Rolls sleeves up...*

    OK, I get my coat

    1. Pirate Dave
      Pirate

      no, no, no

      It's not the "right to bare arms", it's the "right to bear arms".

      Which the bears are none to happy about, by the way...

      1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
        Grenade

        but, but, but...

        I thought is was "the right to arm bears"...

        Can a grizzly pull the trigger on an AK47?

        Grenade, in case they can't...

  22. Cyclist
    Coat

    Whoops

    "What good is a Pitchfork against the armada of lethal weaponary the US government has ?"

    I read that as Amanda. Didn't make sense.

  23. The Beer Monster
    Coat

    Right to arm bears

    Ok Boo Boo, pass me the ammo box, cunningly disguised as a pickernick basket...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    The bigger issue

    It that anyone who tried to visit any of those 84,000 domains was redirected to the government site displaying the warning implying the domain and it's owners were child pornographers. That is grounds, in the US, for libel. Given the huge number of domains, it is grounds for a class action libel suit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I dunno.

      For some reason i thaught of the chick on Stargate

      1. Someone Else Silver badge
        Coat

        ...or an old Boston song...

        Got it... moving along...

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        You don't need a reason...

        mmmm

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      @Cyclist -Whoops

      At least they have backups!

      ......

      It must be friday

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was a "Victim" of "Operation In Our Sites"

    I live in Europe and use a site called rojadirecta.org to watch English Football.

    Don't worry, you can click it, it's SFW. No problem

    It supplies links to people broadcasting games via Veetle or Sopcast, whatever.

    On visiting the site, I was shocked to see a "This domain has been seized by ICE - Homeland Security Investigations". You can still see it now.

    What do you think?

    I have mixed feelings. "Why don't you buy a Satellite Football Package?" you could ask. Fair enough. But I only like to watch games from my small club. Anyway...

    What I don't like is the US heavy handedness and sanctimoniousity.

    Why slap this massive banner across my screen?

    Why not be a little more discrete.

    Don't act like Judge and Jury.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “Our government is going into court with..."

    "...half-baked facts and half-baked legal theories and shutting down operations. This is exactly what we thought the government couldn't do. I'm scratching my head why we aren’t' grabbing the pitchforks.”

    You expect action from the Facebook generation?

  27. Neil Stansbury
    Thumb Down

    "Our government has gone rogue on us"

    No they haven't, they have done what they have always done.

    Western "Democratic" governments are more than happy to advocate democracy and freedom of speech - just as long as they agree with it and it suits them. When it doesn't, the "law" gets changed or the people involved classified as terrorists or kiddy fiddlers.

    Bait and switch, divide and conquer - it works every time.

  28. asdf Silver badge
    FAIL

    9/11 victims

    pushed so damn hard for the creation of the most crap political stupid unnecessary dangerous agency yet, Homeland Security which has become the 21st century American stasi with nothing to do but f__k with the homeland. What the hell does taking down news group binary search sites and counterfeit good vendors have to do with homeland security? Oh that right another taxpayer leach self important fiefdom agency to protect the ultra rich. Yep don't have enough of those.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      Most of the victims that survived actually tried to sue the government

      But then the rest of the U.S. decided they were more victims than those that were actually there. And told the victims to shut up for being un-American.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wanna bet?

    What do you want to bet that the reason the service was restored PDQ (within a day or two) was because it hosted the sites of some influential bozos (major campaign contributors) or their family members who subsequently yelled loudly to their government underlings?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      If you had the tech to control the whole internet...

      Why would it take more than 2 days?

  30. Christoph Silver badge
    Pirate

    Wait for the obvious hacker reply

    Which will be the first US Government website to get their own takedown notice, including the direct implication that they are involved in child pornography, hacked onto the front page of the site?

  31. John Savard Silver badge

    Immunity

    The problem is that the innocent owners of sites affected by this won't be able to sue the Department of Homeland Security for libel, since the message it caused to appear on their web sites would doubtless leave some people with the lingering impression that those entities were somehow involved in child pornography.

    The trouble is that the government is able to violate the principle that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law", because 'deprived' and 'due process' and 'law' are not quite defined as well as they need to be. For example, taxes are legal, even though the people who have to pay taxes may not be guilty of any crime.

    So someone is being deprived of property, before having been convicted of theft, assault, or fraud. Because it's allowed to pass laws that say people have to pay taxes. Which sort of short-circuits the whole principle.

    I don't mean that taxes must be abolished, but simply that there needs to be an explicit Constitutional limit to those sorts of exceptions, which does not exist at present.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      I think anyone with an internet connection...

      That would go to those sites, may actually have access to news and be able to find out this information... it's not like it was wiki-leaked. Unless those sites are the only sites they visit, but I find it hard to believe that that particular host had many exclusive news outlets under it's control. The few people left in the dark I'm sure will find out the truth at the water-cooler on Monday. Or, even more bizarrely, may even see it on the news on the talkie-box, you know that strange gadget some people sit in front of that talks news at them around meal times.

  32. Andus McCoatover

    “Our government has gone rogue on us”

    No.

    I think your Government (using the term loosely) has gone Feral. And, has for a long time.

    1. Mephistro Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      @ Andus McCoatover

      Yep. We'd need a Paladin to Protect people's rights. :-D

  33. Tom 13

    Re: "...why we aren’t' grabbing the pitchforks."

    That's actually easy: because you and the rest of your type have been more interested in indoctrinating students than in teaching them actual critical thinking skills. If you taught them those skills, you'd be out on your ass faster than Steve Jobs twitters "Flash sucks."

  34. The Unexpected Bill
    Flame

    As the author of the cited blog post...

    ...I felt I ought to weigh in here. When I first became aware of this event having taken place, I was engaged and much of what you read was written in the heat of anger. As such, there are some corrections and amplifications due in the blog post. In due course, I should revise it. In particular, COICA is seemingly not a law just yet. The EFF has some very good information on it, so you may wish to look that up. The actions taken by ICE and the Department of Homeland Security aren't necessarily a part of this law.

    I know that many of you are very busy people, but I'd like to ask you do something, just like the blog posting says. If you are a citizen of the United States, I'd hope that you will take a few minutes and write a letter to Mr. Morton and ICE if you feel it appropriate to do so. Do I know that it will help anything? No, I don't. Being the optimistic type, I'd like to think it would. If nothing else, it might produce a good indication that we are paying attention to what the people in our government are doing. While I can't tell you what to say, I would ask that you not do anything stupid or illegal should you plan to contact him. Keep it factual and to the point.

    Please also write your elected officials and explain the situation to them. COICA is a dangerous law and just another pebble falling out of a slippery slope.

    I'm glad my site is back online. What other action I may yet take is uncertain. I've already written a letter to the attention of Mr. Morton because I feel the least he can do is apologize and possibly consider the ramifications of taking action before actually doing so. I hope that he will. (Again, what can I say? I am definitely an optimist.) (If he'd like to take me to task for telling him to f-off, he's certainly welcome enough to do so. I can't say that he would or would not have done the same were he in my shoes. Again, heat of anger and all that.)

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    (disclaimers and such: I don't speak for anyone but myself, nothing here is legal advice, don't be stupid, don't do anything stupid, think before you act, and consult with qualified counsel if you are planning legal action. Thank you.)

  35. Michael C

    unp[rescedented...

    ...levels of poor understanding....

    1: You don't point at a DNS registrar using a DNS name, you use an IP. If mooo.com went offline from an alternate top level DNS, servers using mooo.com as their DNS should not have been effected.

    2: The only way these sites went offline if if the sites were mooo.com/<my site> If mooo.com was simply a DNS provider, then loosing mooo.com would only have meant that <mysite>.com would only go offline if the ONLY DNS locations it was listed at were within mooo.com's database, and only for other servers using mooo.com's DNS that could see them in the first place, and only if some error in mooo.com's configuration caused their systems to crash and not respond to IP requests because they could not resolve their own DNS?

    3: the government did not seize 84,000 addresses, they seized one, and some error with that one caused customer disruption to (potentially) 84,000 BADLY CONFIGURED web services.

    No, this is about a "Pirate DNS" being taken out, or a service hosting internally (on its own servers) child pornography. A DNS service catering explicitly to assist those hosting services they feel might be targeted by the law. My understanding is mooo.com was a hosting site on some level, so saying they took out 84,000 sites is like saying they'd seize 100 million sites if they seized facebook.com. This service is part of Afraid.org, a service catering to those hosting illegal content online. Those hosting there KNEW what they were posting was illegal, and mooo.com knew it was too, thus the plug got pulled.

    1. Pablo
      Stop

      Exactly

      “My understanding is mooo.com was a hosting site on some level, so saying they took out 84,000 sites is like saying they'd seize 100 million sites if they seized facebook.com.”

      And would that be an unreasonable thing to say? Would it be right to deprive 100,000,000 people of a constitutional right because a few of them broke the law?

      I don't pretend I completely understand what happened here. But whether it was hosting, DNS, or what have you, it's clear that ICE acted without any regard for the collateral damage they were causing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Coat

        Yeah... damage?

        How many lost their livelihoods, or lives due to the 2 days of downtime?

        And if the issue is a government overstepping it's powers, who do they answer to again, us??? Since when? They stopped caring about our votes a while ago :-P

        I can guarantee 99% of the people posting here have never even heard of this domain before now, when they uncover what they found in the actual criminal case they were investigating people might have a change of heart. Plus the more publicity this gets, the more public the governments reasons will become, then most people here would feel like asses I bet, but then again... we have a habit of never admitting we were wrong, but we demand those same admissions we won't give from an equally human government.

        The contradiction is almost funny, if it didn't seem to end in violence of some kind.

        Does anyone remember what the police were ready for during the anti Bush-Wars demonstrations in NYC? They had some crazy tech, but they didn't use it, because the protesters weren't crazy. The current anger brewing in this country might lead them to turn that crap on. It's the same gear they show on Future Tech, and many news shows, you should watch the show sometime, They have a LOT of less than lethal gadgets in stock.

        CHILL people! If we can't vote them out, we'd just end up against our own people, or should we disown our families in the military and civil services, do we seriously need another civil war?

        I'll be in my house frantically waving my American flag around like an Immigrant after 9/11.

        1. Phil Hare 2

          @AC - Yeah... damage?

          That's a well thought out line of reasoning. I have only one question:

          Where's the line?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Really?

      I think it is your lack of understanding of the actual issue - namely a government agency acting without following any kind of lawful procedure. If you can't grasp that no wonder you are such an Apple apologist, you don't see what they do wrong either

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Megaphone

      Stop talking reason, dammit! Me ANGRY!!!

      How dare you explain the realities of the situation, you make everyone sound like they are making a mountain out of a mole-hill.

      Pitchforks and torches!!!! GRRRRRR!

  36. Stephen Sherry
    Coat

    HOLY CRAP, no they didn't

    The government is using whatever means they think is necessary to do whatever they feel is necessary... is this new? It's because we're lead by filthy humans who are guided by emotions. How dare they do things we might disagree with? They should have taken their sweet time taking down those child porn sites, so as not to disturb those innocent webizens, forcing them from their web homes, out into the web cold. It was web raining. When the world loses access to a web log, I mean blog, for 2 days, an angel dies.

    How dare they use the technology they have told us they have, "Carnivore" to keep an eye on EVERYTHING that passes over the ether, and an off switch built into every device? Doesn't anyone pay attention to the things the government says they are doing... 10 or 20 years ago? Or was I dreaming it all?

    You think Egypt, or Iran, or China invented the technology? If this is what makes people stand up and shout, I'm going to join the alien overlords in the thinning of the human race by just sitting back and watching everyone crazy themselves to death.

    I do understand the hypocrisy and contradictions in politic speak, but that is politics. It is like supporting one party over another, then screaming about how your team is acting like politicians. I'm not saying there isn't something wrong with the brutality of how things are being implemented in the name of progress, but no one seems to have a perspective on what to actually get angry about, or if it is worth the effort to be more than annoyed at the lack of a "heads up, things are going to suck for everyone the next couple decades." Though I can't say they haven't done that, because all we've been getting from politicians are warnings of bad things coming, they just don't give specifics on the time and the nature of the bad things. As far as I can see things have sucked since the 80's, looking at history, things have generally sucked for millenia.

    What is the future supposed to be, and what isn't it supposed to be? That's what I want to hear answers for, not a lot of bitching and moaning, and NOT a lot of killing and raping. People around the world who think they are being abused by their governments only seem to take it out on each other. Where I live, it's all "down with the government, bomb all the Arab countries," or "Down with the socialist nanny state, but keep your hands off my medicare," People need to focus and chill the hell out. If it is judgment day, we're not doing enough to pass the test, we're failing fatally and taking everything around us down along with ourselves.

    There are some people who run governments that legitimately disrespect their people, and all people in general, enough to abuse them to nightmarish extents, but taking a domain down???

    WTF?

    When the sun goes all crazy active, do we go to war with it for taking out all our tech? That will make the domain issue seem as unimportant as whether it is cloudy or not. More likely we'll fight each other, as usual. That's what we seem to do when we fear the future, there's no pause button, no undo, so we panic and become angry and violent (Grrr, change BAD!). Change is the result of the passage of time, not just a slogan used for political rhetoric. It is inevitable, for better or worse. This NWO ball has been rolling for decades, and some countries want to clean house before things get too bad. If we expect the worst and hope for the best, maybe we'll be ready for a best case scenario, instead of reacting angrily ahead of time to a not yet reached worst case one. As far as I'm concerned, we're in the middle of the worst case, but it could always be even worse if we let it. If civil war becomes popular enough, everywhere will become part of the nightmare.

    Maybe they set the government up to become so unpopular that we force them to disband and ask for the constitution to be removed, while welcoming martial law as an improvement to the current system. But if they said that out loud we would immediately oppose it and promote the government that doesn't work instead. It's no wonder they don't tell us anything.

    I have a better idea, if the sun does go bat crazy on us, the government should just sit back and wait till it happens, then try to help us with no working infrastructure while we fend for ourselves like cavemen, because most people don't have the skills to survive without technology.

    Or even better, they could tell us now the sun is going to go bat crazy and we all have to move to city-states and go to rationing resources and immediate population control due to the lack of ability to support so many people. Yeah, with a population that thinks the world can't end except by the hand of God? Or that "ending" means no one survives, and the world explodes in fire or something? I'd say most people would be violently skeptical, to say the least. Remember, Change BAD! Then if we find out they weren't lying, then what? "Sorry for trying and/or successfully killing and/or raping so many people. Thought it was the rapture and I was left behind and had nothing to lose, my bad."

    Maybe if enough people got together to try to find out what they would do in the governments situation and then gave the idea to the government they would take it, but with all honesty, and the few pieces of the puzzle I've been able to collect, I'm hard pressed to think of an alternative, if it is the worse case that is coming to us. And again, worst case doesn't mean no survivors, but probably a LOT of suffering, and a lot of people not surviving. If we HELP each other instead of fighting each other there is a statistically higher chance for the most people to survive as possible. But we're already fighting each other... based on what we think are secret government decisions we don't understand. People will fight each other because they disagree on the basis of their "conspiracy theories", regardless of the possibility they could both be wrong. With as much conviction as a religious war.

    I need medicine to live myself, so if the tech system falls apart, and they cannot make pharmaceuticals, I'm pretty much screwed. But I'm not going to go on a hedonistic, hate-fueled, rampage just because things aren't going my way. The next generation is actually important to me, and I'm willing to make the sacrifice if it means that they will be taken care of. I'm not immortal, and I'm not going to act like I should be treated like one. We live for the next in line, we should start acting like it. We've been able to be self centered to the point many parents can't even relate to their children anymore. They and, through their example, their children believe it is normal to not be able to understand each other, which is crazy.

    God help us from ourselves, because someone has to. We've lost our minds.

  37. JaitcH
    FAIL

    "Our government is going into court with half-baked facts ..." if done by anyone else ...

    is called misleading the court or perjury.

    The U.S. Constitution isn't worth anything now, unless you have an extreme case of rectal irritation, as successive governments have ridden roughshod over it's provisions, starting with The Patriot Act (sic).

    And in trying to fit Assange up with a charge they are attempting to breach the constitutions provisions with respect to making legislation retroactive.

    The U.S. is no better than the countries it continually bellyaches about abusing peoples rights.

  38. TAGK

    Half the story?

    One suspects that this is just half the story. The users of those 84,000 websites have probably been added to government lists of probable users and purveyors of child pornography. Has that error been corrected? Probably not.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Worldwide Revolution Against Tyranny!

    Now is the time for all of Humanity to stand up to Tyranny, regardless of our country of residence.

    There is absolutely no reason why we should not ALL be out protesting in the streets with "pitchforks" in hand, just as millions are across the Middle East.

    Those responsible for this blatant act of "Misuse of Official Powers" need to "Go to Hell" both figuratively and literally.

    When our own government acts against the people without 'Due process of Law", they cease being our government. What ever "contract" we had with them becomes null and void.

    Remember, as Americans, it is not only our right, but our duty to overthrow an unjust government. This is the primary reason for the Second Amendment.

    I say let these Tyrants take arms against their countrymen and let the whole world see and judge them for what they are.

    We either "Hang" together, or seperately. Either way, we still hang. It's only a matter of degrees between this confiscation of property and total dictatorship.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: There is absolutely no reason

      It's cold out, and it looks like rain ...

    2. david wilson

      @AC

      >>"It's only a matter of degrees between this confiscation of property and total dictatorship."

      And the difference between someone smacking their kid's hand and that person beating the kid to death with an iron bar is only a matter of degree, as are any number of other differences.

      Personally, I think exaggerated comparisons often make things worse - they can end up making the smaller thing look insignificant compared with the bigger one, and also make it easy for some people to dismiss everyone complaining as just overreacting.

      If I was trying to do something a bit oppressive, I'm not sure that I wouldn't want some people to decry it as TEOTWAWKI.

  40. rc
    Dead Vulture

    Operation Protect Our Children... *cough*

    I don't know how it works on El Reg's side of the pond. But here in the U.S., if they talk about "protecting the children", you should check your wallet and/or your freedoms. (Preferably before you run away screaming and flailing.) You're sure to find something missing.

    Other happy code words include 'patriot' = ignoring the constitution, 'security' = removing guaranteed freedoms, 'investment' = stealing the fruits of your labor.

    Obviously, child porn is evil. But that net was a little too wide methinks.

    -Tombstone, for freedom of speech...

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gob-smacking incompetence ...

    There are few things that shock me these days, especially when it comes to government incompetence, but to label 84,000 site holder as pedophiles and to redirect their visitors: family, friends and customers to a site that insinuates that those people have been distributing child pornography should simply result in criminal prosecutions for all those involves. These organisations seam to float above the law though so unfortunatly I think the best we can hope for is that the claims lawyers have a field day on this one.

  42. niya blake

    JaitcH

    And which law are the making retro active to go after Assange ? Because those laws on leaking classified data pre-dates the net .

  43. Tempest
    FAIL

    Obama makes even George Bush look good

    Here we have this lawyer who had a golden opportunity to do good but his Wall Street friends have persuaded him to look after them.

    Now this lawyer is deliberately floating the law, again, by seizing property with due process involving both sides.

    And Obama wonders why he has 'domestic terrorists'?

  44. Narwhal

    84,000 web sites. How mant registrants?

    Lads.

    Please give the USA a break. How many of your goverments would have relaesed the internet to its people?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet#History

    "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

    Love you all. Wish you had our freedom.

    Charlie

  45. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Won't find out

    "The few people left in the dark I'm sure will find out the truth at the water-cooler on Monday."

    Well, where I used to work, with other IT types, it DEFINITELY would be discussed. General public though?

    " Or, even more bizarrely, may even see it on the news on the talkie-box, you know that strange gadget some people sit in front of that talks news at them around meal times."

    Not a chance. We don't have something like BBC in the US (except for the actual BBC broadcasts.) By the time the "news" shows weather, sports, ads, a little more weather, and a few fluff pieces, they don't have time to cover most of the actual news (I timed it at one point for one of the networks, the supposed news managed something like 6 minutes of actual news in a 30 minute show). And when they do cover anything Internet-related, they obviously don't have anybody on site that knows anything about technology, they get it so wrong when they try that is' pretty useless.

    I mean, surely a lot of these people will figure it out, but it's still libel, big time.

    Well, this is just a good reason to vote libertarian. Don't vote democrat, don't vote republican, they BOTH support these unconstitutional actions (and while they LOVE to behave like big opponents with different political views, in "big picture" terms they both support huge, expensive, oppressive government while just disagreeing on details.0

  46. Sam Therapy
    Flame

    Whether it's Fascism, Tyranny or whatever are you really surprised?

    Governments - *all* governments - allow certain "freedoms", or the illusion thereof, just as long as it is convenient for them to do so. Any action taken by them which contradicts these freedoms will be justified/covered up/beaten into you/ignored. Any and all governments break their own laws on a daily basis, justified by the catch all of "national security" or some such bullshit.

    Those in power are exactly that. In power. They have long since forgotten they are there to serve *us*, not the other way round.

  47. bugalugs

    remember to have your say about plod doing this in blighty

    drop a line to laurah@nominet.org.uk

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