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US Customs: It Has The Right To Seize any .com, .net or .org

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month Best Post Of The Month

Msg#: 4426061 posted 3:39 pm on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

US Customs: It Has The Right To Seize any .com, .net or .org [wired.com]
When U.S. authorities shuttered sports-wagering site Bodog.com last week, it raised eyebrows across the net because the domain name was registered with a Canadian company, ostensibly putting it beyond the reach of the U.S. government. Working around that, the feds went directly to VeriSign, a U.S.-based internet backbone company that has the contract to manage the coveted .com and other “generic” top-level domains.

EasyDNS, an internet infrastructure company, protested that the “ramifications of this are no less than chilling and every single organization branded or operating under .com, .net, .org, .biz etc. needs to ask themselves about their vulnerability to the whims of U.S. federal and state lawmakers.”

But despite EasyDNS and others’ outrage, the U.S. government says it’s gone that route hundreds of times. Furthermore, it says it has the right to seize any .com, .net and .org domain name because the companies that have the contracts to administer them are based on United States soil, according to Nicole Navas, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman.



10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4426061 posted 1:09 am on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

What people replying to me don't understand is I'm sick of criminals being coddled by bleeding hearts under the guise of protecting freedom.

I'm a libertarian in case you didn't notice. And for those uninformed, that is not the same as liberal (even if the words sounds similar)

In china and russia they don't have that bleeding heart attitude. Maybe you could go there where the 'good government' defends you from the 'bad guys' without having to worry about 'rights'. I'm sure everyone here who believes in freedom and due process will not miss the 'anti due process' camp moving to a place where there is none.

BTW, very 'adult of you' to first discuss facts, and when the facts are too much for you, hidding behind 'feelings' (that is what you did) But don't worry, most american's are with you; which is why we are in the state we are in.

Believe when I say I know of what I speak. Further, the burden of proof is on the suspect(s) that funds obtained from an illegal activity were not used to obtain/maintain the assets or property in question. Until such time the suspect(s) can prove otherwise, the government can hold onto those assets indefinitely. This is nothing new and dates back long before the Patriot Act, Homeland Security, and even computers.

I'm totally against that statute (because it violates the principal of the presumption of innocence). But even then, the government didnd't follow due process, even with taking into account that statute. See, when property is seized under that statute, the person whom it seized it from has the right to:
1- Know what charges are involved in the case
2- Be able to contest the confiscation throught an Adversarial preliminary hearing

Both of these rights were VIOLATED in the confiscation. So as my school teacher would say; stop ASS-Uming. It only makes an #*$! out of you and me.

Call me a bleeding heart, but I prefer that we prove the person has actually done something criminal before treating them like a criminal.

We live in sad times indeed when this opinion is the minority in the 'land of the free'.


WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Msg#: 4426061 posted 1:48 am on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Call me a bleeding heart, but I prefer that we prove the person has actually done something criminal before treating them like a criminal.

Excuse me?

When people are caught RED HANDED there isn't much wiggle room.

What do we need these days, a video posted on YouTube to prove guilt?

When it's purely circumstantial evidence, I'm all for more due process. But when you catch someone with their hand plainly in the cookie jar, everyone can see the hand in the cookie jar, you slap on the cuffs right away, seize the domain, etc.

I didn't say a little burden of proof wasn't a good thing, but swinging too far to the point that it's impossible to stop people is a bad thing.

FWIW, I've known a couple of good people spend a stint in jail because everyone involved lied and when the liars, the actual criminals committing perjury recanted, the government (DA) ignored them so due process doesn't work either. If you think due process works, it's a delusional dream, just ask my railroaded friend who now has irrational fears of picking up soap.

On the flipside, legalize pot, now THERE's some freedom and a new thread :)


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4426061 posted 2:55 am on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm totally against that statute (because it violates the principal of the presumption of innocence).

Aside from the fact I am sure there are plenty of victims that would disagree with you, is that to say if you caught someone with child p***ography on their computer you would let them keep it until the trial was over? I think not.

And seizures are governed by The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV). Also, the Plain View Doctrine [csudh.edu] (If an officer is lawfully present, he may seize objects that are in "plain view". However, the officer must have had probable cause to believe that the objects are contraband.) allows for seizure without warrant. I do believe operating a gambling site on the internet in the US is as plain view as you can get.



10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4426061 posted 4:29 am on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

When people are caught RED HANDED there isn't much wiggle room

I don't think that there is much dispute here. I'd really like to think that the case against wasn't fabricated, although, after reading some more about the case, I think there might be an entrapment argument to be made (although probably not a very strong one).

What does leave a bad taste in my mouth is the process of enforcement, the law in question, whose interests are being served, the ramifications of this case, and what sort of slippery slope we might be on.

I do think that Bodog was in violation of a US law (but one whose legitimacy is in question). Moreover, they seemed to operate quite brazenly and openly in a legal gray area (really, what is the point in spending big $ in US advertising is your service is illegal for US citizens?), so I can't think that they couldn't foresee some sort of heat coming down on them. With these things in mind, it might be easy to not be sympathetic to Bodog or Calvin Ayre. But we must remember that his business is perfectly legal in Canada and much of the rest of the world, it just is forbidden to US citizens.

With all of this in mind, I just have a hard time feeling good about the government's seizure of the domain, or that the generic top-level domains are all under US jurisdiction. I don't think that it will set a precedent that will deter illegal online activity, but could have a chilling effect on legitimate online businesses want to develop strong branding associated with their domain.

Moreover, the legitimacy of Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act has been internationally challenged, and the WTO has ruled against the US in its enforcement of this law. This resulted in Antigua and the EU filling claims against the US. These claims were later settled via the US granting undisclosed concessions, which were not disclosed due to the fact that they were considered a matter of national security (I'm not making this #*$! up. I really wish that I was).

I do believe operating a gambling site on the internet in the US is as plain view as you can get.

I have a hard time thinking that you've thought this through for very long. Should foreign countries be able to confiscate Americans' online properties just because the properties in question happen to provide information about something that is illegal in their respective countries? We can't forget that online gambling is perfectly legal, legitimate business. I don't think that you're trying to argue in favor of broad, wholesale censorship, or at least I hope that you're not. Again, classifying information itself as "illegal" doesn't sit well with me. I can visit a gambling site, but I have to make an active choice if I want to sign up for an account and place bets.

just ask my railroaded friend who now has irrational fears of picking up soap

You should suggest a liquid soap dispenser. As a side benefit, the liquid stuff doesn't leave nearly as much of a soapy film on the tub, leading to much less frequent scrubbing.

Thanks to everyone else that's been posting. I've enjoyed reading everyone's posts and about the Bodog case in general.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4426061 posted 12:52 am on Mar 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

the extraterritorial extent of US law

I think this one can be explained, if it hasn't been already.

Both we and whatever we possess or use are subject to any applicable law in the
jurisdiction operating in. Since the .com Registry is in Virginia and VeriSign's HQ
is in California, both are bound to whatever laws apply in either one.

If any nation wants to seize, say, a .com for violating their law on something, it
has to go through that registrar or the Registry's jurisdiction. While either one of
them can choose to comply with any court order they see fit to, they otherwise
know they're not compelled to obey it unless some law in their area forces them

Where I'm having trouble wrapping my head around is this supposedly started by
Bodog's violating a state law rather than a Federal law. But I guess someone at
law enforcement got creative enough to find a way, and all that will have to be
threshed out in court in the days to come.

Your total lack of understand of due process

That's probably another issue here. While we all have our notions of what "due
process" should be, it's the one where laws apply that virtually matter. For this
specific instance, it's U.S. law's.

Rather to be expected, not many people are aware that exceptions to the U.S.
4th Amendment can allow seizures of this nature, albeit it tries to "compensate"
by imposing specific, tougher standards. While it doesn't specify domain names
are included, it doesn't say they can't be seized either.

That's a dilemma with any law: you try to cover any and all scenarios, but one
is bound to come up that's not exactly covered or is violating another law. Then
again, the law can save or screw you depending which side you happen to be on.

Let's also not forget that despite U.S. whoever law enforcement thinking one is
guilty, they're still giving you a chance to dispute your case in court. Otherwise
why bother with "due process" and all that if they don't believe in it, especially
when the law requires them to anyway?

Of course it's one thing to understand, it's totally another to agree or like that,
but no one's required or forced to do the latter. IMHO what matters is trying to
at least understand the method behind the madness to (hopefully) avoid having
that undesired fate befall him or her.

One thing I'm sure many (if not all) can agree on, though, is this definitely does
not have a good feel to it. Yeesh.


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