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Police to gain powers to seize UK domains

Domain names in the UK to be seized without court order

     

graeme_p

6:43 am on Feb 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I know there are a lot of British people here, so presumably I am not the only one to whom .uk domains matter.

I find the proposal to let police seize domains without going to court very worrying. Its wrong in principle. In addition we all know that when the authorities are given power that they promise to only use for serious crime, it need to stay that way (e.g. "anti-terrorism" powers abuse by local councils).

If we make it this easy, we could end up losing domains on unproven allegations, because the police do not like a website, or even because of administrative mistakes.

Your chance to tell Nominet your views is here: [nominet.org.uk ]

piatkow

10:19 pm on Feb 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Suspend not seize.

Still pretty dodgy but it doesn't seem to provide for them to take the ownership away from you.

Samizdata

3:28 am on Feb 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Suspend not seize

Thanks for clarifying that.

On the other hand, owning a "suspended" domain is no use to anyone - and presumably you would have to go to court to get it unsuspended (which will be time-consuming and expensive).

Plod as judge, jury and executioner can never be a good thing.

...

graeme_p

9:01 am on Feb 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thats something, piatkow, but as Samizdata says you could lose a lot of money while sorting it out.

There is also no reason not to have a judicial process. It could be a fast and relatively simple process like the issue of a search warrant or an arrest warrant.

piatkow

9:51 am on Feb 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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the only real difference is that they can't sell valuable domain name over your head.

Of course if a site displaying kiddie p-rn was left open until the case went to court the tabloids would have a field day.

Samizdata

8:05 pm on Feb 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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if a site displaying kiddie p-rn was left open until the case went to court the tabloids would have a field day

It is not a matter of waiting for a case to get to court.

As graeme_p says it should be a similar process to a search warrant, which requires judicial authorisation but is very fast - where prima facie evidence of criminal activity is shown a warrant will be granted, often by a judge in chambers.

Judges are not police, and police must never be judges.

...

graeme_p

3:45 am on Feb 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I doubt many criminal sites will depend on possessing a particular domain. Criminal activity is by its nature covert, whereas the point of the domain name system is to make it easy for the public to find stuff.

Samizdata

5:07 am on Feb 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Fair point - but if there is no criminal activity, why would the police be involved?

To be fair to them, they have plenty of work to do already.

...

graeme_p

12:35 pm on Feb 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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That goes back to your earlier point: by the time it comes to something like this the police should be required to convince a judge that there is criminal activity. That is still the important principle.

I was making a subsidiary point that I do not think it is an important tool for the police to have.

graeme_p

6:36 am on Feb 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Open Rights Group are responding. Pirate Party UK are doing something but seem less effective.
 

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