Skip

You're breaking my internet, U.S. Government
February 29, 2012 12:52 PM   Subscribe

Verisign today seized control of a .com domain belonging to a Canadian online gambling business operating in Canada (inasmuch as an online business can be said to be operating in Canada), on behalf of Federal Authorities.

From the first link:
But at the end of the day what has happened is that US law (in fact, Maryland state law) as been imposed on a .com domain operating outside the USA, which is the subtext we were very worried about when we commented on SOPA. Even though SOPA is currently in limbo, the reality that US law can now be asserted over all domains registered under .com, .net, org, .biz and maybe .info (Afilias is headquartered in Ireland by operates out of the US).

This is no longer a doom-and-gloom theory by some guy in a tin foil hat. It just happened.
posted by gauche (36 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Excuse me, I'm not sure "today" in the first sentence is accurate. I thought it was when I wrote it, but I should probably have left it out.
posted by gauche at 12:54 PM on February 29, 2012


Homeland Security?
posted by ODiV at 12:56 PM on February 29, 2012


Is the first link actually loading for you? It's been down for at least a few hours for me; this was posted over on Hacker News this morning, and within a few minutes was gone, apparently.

Here is a Google Cache of that link, anyway.
posted by koeselitz at 12:57 PM on February 29, 2012


It loaded for me on the second try, but without any CSS or other formatting. I guess their server is getting slammed right now.
posted by gauche at 12:58 PM on February 29, 2012


The first link loaded (eventually) for me.
posted by ODiV at 12:58 PM on February 29, 2012


Writing's been on the wall for DNS a long time. Centralized services by their nature are prone to exploitation or catastrophic failure. Not certain what's going to replace it, but I'm now certain that something will.
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:00 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


This has never been a tinfoil hat theory. If you want to do proper risk management, you have always needed to understand what jurisdiction every part of your stack falls under.

There's no such thing as "cloud servers", and anyone who thinks that where those bits hit the metal somehow doesn't matter is a fool, whether those bits are your company name, your users' data, your financial system, all of it.
posted by mhoye at 1:00 PM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure how I feel about the proposal for UN management of the internet, but you know, it sounds a hell of a lot better than America's bullying.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:03 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]




If you want to do proper risk management, you have always needed to understand what jurisdiction every part of your stack falls under.

Maciej of Pinboard wrote something about risk assessment that I thought was appropriate:
This would not ordinarily figure high on my list, but the FBI confiscated a Pinboard server in the summer of 2011. Turns out they were interested in someone else using the same physical enclosure, but that didn’t make the server any less gone.

The lesson here is not so much to fear the FBI, but rather that there’s no such thing as a
‘cloud service’. Bits have to physically exist somewhere, and strange things can happen
to them. Jurisdictional redundancy is just as important as physical redundancy.
(via)
posted by gauche at 1:07 PM on February 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


ugh. stupid line breaks.
posted by gauche at 1:07 PM on February 29, 2012


Sometimes I wonder whether the internet is really the inevitable, invincible, constantly improving thing that it appears to be, or if we'll all look back in twenty years and marvel that it used to be possible to load websites from any country you wanted, or run a server from your own house, back in those heady wild-west days.
posted by theodolite at 1:10 PM on February 29, 2012 [24 favorites]


Filesharing .com domains get seized all the time. That's why most of the big trackers and whatnot use TLDs like .me that the US does not directly control. The more this kind of thing goes on, the closer we get to the tipping point where an alternative decentralized DNS like namecoin or its ilk becomes popular. Right now there's not much of a reason to avoid DNS because it works, but the more it gets broken the more likely it is that some other way to map names to IP addresses will start getting used.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:14 PM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


@theodolite
I don't really wonder at all. Even in the last decade we've watched fences leap up and doors close.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:15 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


The unspecified US Federal Authorities for whom Verisign had to roll over should be stripped of their authority to do anything with regard to information technology.

This makes me so angry. Where is the oversight? Why are US laws being applied to entities outside the US like it ain't no thang?

Argh.
posted by mistersquid at 1:25 PM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's only illegal gambling if you haven't bought enough politicians.
posted by srboisvert at 1:29 PM on February 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


And yet right now I can legally gamble on horse racing from my computer and then watch the race on my television. Legally.

What.
posted by basicchannel at 1:31 PM on February 29, 2012


I should point out I live in California. Your state may vary?
posted by basicchannel at 1:34 PM on February 29, 2012


So, should I be redirecting my own .com domains to .ca versions? That way, in the very unlikely event that this happens to me, I'll be covered?
posted by asnider at 1:39 PM on February 29, 2012


I don't understand. The guy is Canadian. He runs his business through Switzerland, Malta, England and Canada. The domain registrar was also in another country. What right does the US Department of Homeland Security (according to the cache koeselitz linked) have to shut down a domain whose entire business is based in other countries?

Maybe I am missing something in my reading. Were there offices in Baltimore? Was there some aspect of the business that was being run from the US?
posted by brina at 1:44 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


This case isn't the first, but it's part of an alarming trend. Court's have recently begun entering extremely broad ex-parte TROs (that is, temporary restraining orders without the opportunity for the other side to be heard) in the intellectual property area that purport to bind not only the (usually foreign) infringers but also the US ISPs and DNS providers that support their websites. Thus, the ISPs and DNS providers suddenly find themselves faced with a court order requiring that they "turn over" a domain without having had any ability to participate in the process at all. It's an odd and deeply flawed process that comes out of the desire of the Courts to protect US Intellectual Properties at ALL COSTS. Eric Goldman's piece on a couple of the most recent rulings is very much worth reading.
posted by The Bellman at 2:08 PM on February 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


So, should I be redirecting my own .com domains to .ca versions? That way, in the very unlikely event that this happens to me, I'll be covered?

Via Michael Geist:
The allocation entity located in the U.S. is called ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers. Its territory includes the U.S., Canada, and 20 Caribbean nations.
Now, this was with regards SOPA jurisdiction -- which explicitly included .ca domains -- but it's hard to say. There's a claim to be made, but whether it can be upheld is an open question.
posted by frimble at 2:24 PM on February 29, 2012


Was there some aspect of the business that was being run from the US?

From the National Post:
Key to the success of the business was the movement of funds from accounts in Switzerland, England, Malta, Canada and elsewhere to accounts in the U.S. to pay winnings to gamblers, as well as to pay companies that helped promote the business, such as media brokers and advertisers, the indictment said.
Payment processors in the U.S. were used to deliver payments by wire and cheque to gamblers across the country. One company, JBL Services processed at least US$43-million for Bodog, while another company, ZipPayments Inc., processed at least US$57-million, the indictment said.


IANAL, but I guess the processing of payments had something to do with it.
posted by Kabanos at 2:27 PM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Were there offices in Baltimore? Was there some aspect of the business that was being run from the US?

They are basing their case on checks that were sent to Maryland addresses. But the American justice system doesn't much care about legal jurisdiction. They will board your vessel on the high seas in the name of the war on drugs, and arrest and extradite English teenagers to stop piracy. If they ever get their filthy mitts on Julian Assange, he'll never see the light of day again.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 2:29 PM on February 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


Gotta love this:
“The proceeds from illegal Internet gambling are sometimes used to fuel organized crime and support criminal activity,” said William Winter, special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations in Baltimore.

So his activity is criminal because if it's criminal it may lead to criminal activity?
posted by Kabanos at 2:32 PM on February 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


The proceeds from all kinds of stuff go to fund organized crime. Money is fungible like that.
posted by empath at 2:39 PM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Maciej Cegłowski's article is very interesting indeed. Almost deserves an FPP in its own right.
posted by philipy at 3:17 PM on February 29, 2012


There are a lot of vital services that could be run from anywhere but happen to be located in the USA. I was reading about a Swiss (?) tobacconist the other day who bought tens of thousands of dollars worth of Cuban cigars for his business. Swiss bank, Cuban business, but the international settlement between the financial services takes place in the USA. The money was seized because of the US embargo on transactions with Cuba.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:35 PM on February 29, 2012


This system seems arbitrary and the harm inflicted on the target business, its employees and customers seems to outweigh the public good. The good news is that Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, etc seem to understand that the current situation poses an unacceptable risk to their businesses and executives.
posted by humanfont at 4:09 PM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


The good news is that Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, etc seem to understand that the current situation poses an unacceptable risk to their businesses and executives.

Bully for those upstanding corporations and their steadfast moral compasses, ever vigilant against encroachment upon the interests of ordinary citizens by jackbooted G-men. *adjusts monocle* Quite.
posted by LiteOpera at 6:27 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Stagger Lee writes "I don't really wonder at all. Even in the last decade we've watched fences leap up and doors close."

Yep, and it's really pissing me off. It's kept at a slow simmer every time I accidentally follow a link to a Daily Show clip and am prevented from viewing it. That link to information can be considered illegal is asinine in the extreme.
posted by Mitheral at 7:24 PM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Local governments clash? Countries seemed quaint when I was a child. In the 1980s. Can't we please abolish them already?
posted by Eideteker at 5:44 AM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The World Wide Web is not licensed for viewing from your country.
posted by Goofyy at 8:31 AM on March 1, 2012




Watch this video this guy explains most of the problems with sopa
posted by BobS13 at 2:29 PM on March 22, 2012


http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/defend_our_freedom_to_share_or_why_sopa_is_a_bad_idea.html
posted by BobS13 at 2:29 PM on March 22, 2012


« Older "My name is Robert Dow. No relation to Dow...   |   Austerity Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post