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U.S. ISP Cut Off For Alleged "illegal, malicious, and harmful content"

 1:02 pm on Jun 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

U.S. ISP Cut Off For Alleged "illegal, malicious, and harmful content" [news.bbc.co.uk]
An American ISP allegedly involved in distributing spam and images of child abuse has been thrown off the net.

The US Federal Trade Commission asked for Pricewert LLC's net links to be severed after it had gathered evidence of the firm's 'criminal' connections.

The FTC alleges that Pricewert had created one of the "leading US-based havens for illegal, malicious, and harmful content".

Pricewert denied the allegations and said it would fight them in court.



 3:42 pm on Jun 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

If the allegations are true, GREAT! Although it will just be temporary, as the SPAMMERS will quickly move to another ISP (if they haven't already). But it may at least server as one more small deterrent for ISPs knowingly hosting SPAMMERS.

It is very unfortunate for the collateral damage of any legitimate sites that happened to be hosting there.


 5:41 pm on Jun 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

the SPAMMERS will quickly move to another ISP

Correct, but isn't this a way to plug up some of the proliferation of abuse, attack the sources that enable them? They'll still have access to compromised computers, but if every ISP around the world gets the message that this could happen if they don't run a clean house, it's going to close a LOT of doors. True, it will drive them underground (see "drug industry") but doing SOMETHING is better than doing nothing.


 6:07 pm on Jun 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Completely agree. Sorry if I sounded like I was against the action.


 8:13 am on Jun 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Kinda sucks for the innocent people involved with them though.


 9:24 am on Jun 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

We're in a Catch-22 situation. Should the ISPs be private police, ie. monitor their customers, or should the law go after those doing the illegal acts? Upon notice of illegal/malicious acts an ISP should investigate and ACT against the accounts noted so that their legit customers are not impacted.


 10:59 am on Jun 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Should the ISPs be private police

I think it should act when notified (spam reports, etc), but not be forced to police. However, going the extra mile and putting in place some measures to detect abusers before getting reports would be a commendable behavior as a responsible netizen.


 1:00 pm on Jun 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

The problem with this is that it is punishment without trial.

If they were really deliberately helping distribute child #*$!, why have no criminal charges been brought against the ISP, its staff or its customers? That is the right way to deal with it: the courts, not the executive should decide who is a criminal.


 1:45 pm on Jun 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Agreed - it does not sound good that an ISP can be cut off the net by some government agency. That should be for a judge to decide.


 2:50 pm on Jun 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Here is the Box, Here is the IP.. GO

Unfortunately some ISPs AUP it exactly just that or is there just to be visited by a Bot. They put a $ sign before the word “Here” and then we expect the 'IT Clueless Judge' that has 'Other things' to worry about like a 'half backed MySpace-aware' lawyers from ISP company. And that just takes time. But it is tooooo late by then. Someone already got the *ill/*orn/*irus, what ever.

hmm.. new letter combination: ill-orn-irus!


 2:55 pm on Jun 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

I thought the DMCA put the liability on those who post the content, not the ISP.
But that's copyright, this is criminal - must be distinctions.
Still, it does impose a "guilt by association" penalty on the legit users of the provider.


 3:06 pm on Jun 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

The problem with this is that it is punishment without trial.

The shutdown was ordered by a federal court, not by the FTC.


 6:30 pm on Jun 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Kinda sucks for the innocent people involved with them though.

For webmasters, that means we have to be extra careful where we host, checking Spamhaus statistics and searching for the any bad press. Perhaps if we all did this it would give ISPs an incentive to stay clean.


 7:39 pm on Jun 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

The real problem seems to be that law enforcement seems to be incapable of rounding up the culprits in an international scene and put them behind bars (well away of any net.access).

Instead they find an ISP and take them offline, resulting in nearly instant teaching of two lessons to the bad guys:
- they learn to move their operation fast.
- they learn to spread their "assets" better.

I for one rather have the bad guys behind bars instead of learning these lessons.


 10:22 pm on Jun 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

The ISP was ordered shut down by the FTC, not a court. More info here:


The ISP was ordered shut down by a court, not the FTC. More info here:


Who to believe at this time? Though it does seem that the ISP was cut off from the net either slightly before or at the time of court.


 11:13 pm on Jun 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

According to the FTC, Pricewert was shut down by a federal district court:


Pricewert is complaining that it wasn't alerted ahead of time, which sounds a bit like a suspected drug dealer complaining that he didn't have a chance to contest an arrest warrant before the cops showed up with handcuffs and interrupted his business transactions on the streetcorner.

I for one rather have the bad guys behind bars instead of learning these lessons.

Shutting down an ISP that harbors criminal activities and seizing its assets doesn't mean the bad guys can't be arrested and tried. It's just one weapon in the arsenal.


 11:22 pm on Jun 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

So far, the FTC has not been able to identify who was behind Pricewert. Although its servers are based in the US, it is registered as a business in Belize and many of its employees are thought to be located in Eastern Europe.

This company was clearly out of order and probably had few, if any, legit customers. Most likely, it's owned by some or all of the clients.



 8:54 am on Jun 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

My objection is not to this particular company being shut down: it is not possible to decide that without knowing a lot of of the details than we have available.

My objection is to the decision lying in the hands of the executive rather than the judiciary.


 2:40 pm on Jun 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

If the ISP did not know about the activity, they should be left alone. I think ISPs should be treated like the owners of a strip mall. If their tenants engage in illegal activity, the property owners should not be held liable unless it can be proven that the owners had knowledge of the activities (and were paid off, for example).

Having said that, any decent host should monitor server activity (not necessarily content) and notice when several sites send out a gazillion emails. This should cause some red flags to go up.

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