[AfrICANN-discuss] Verisign seizes .com domain registered via foreign Registrar on behalf of US Authorities.

Brian Munyao Longwe blongwe at gmail.com
Thu Mar 1 21:49:40 SAST 2012

This is very troubling. And an unwelcome precedent...

On Thu, Mar 1, 2012 at 9:57 PM, Anne-Rachel Inné <annerachel at gmail.com>wrote:

> Verisign seizes .com domain registered via foreign Registrar on behalf of
> US Authorities.
> http://blog2.easydns.org/2012/02/29/verisign-seizes-com-domain-registered-via-foreign-registrar-on-behalf-of-us-authorities/
> Written by Mark Jeftovic <http://blog2.easydns.org/author/markjr/> on February
> 29, 2012 — 29 Comments<http://blog2.easydns.org/2012/02/29/verisign-seizes-com-domain-registered-via-foreign-registrar-on-behalf-of-us-authorities/#comments>
> Share
> Yesterday Forbes broke the news  that Canadian Calvin Ayre and partners
> who operate the Bodog online gambling empire have been indicted in the U.S.<http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2012/02/28/feds-indict-former-online-gambling-billionaire-calvin-ayre/>,
> and in a blog post Calvin Ayre confirmed that their bodog.com domain had
> been seized by homeland security<http://calvinayre.com/2012/02/28/legal/calvin-ayre-indicted-by-feds-calvin-ayre-releases-statement>.
> As reported in Forbes (hat tip to The Domains<http://www.thedomains.com/2012/02/28/feds-not-only-seize-the-domain-name-bodog-com-but-indict-the-4-ownersoperators-including-calvin-ayre/>for the cite),
> According to the six-page indictment filed by Rosenstein, Ayre worked with
> Philip, Ferguson and Maloney to supervise an illegal gambling business from
> June 2005 to January 2012 in violation of Maryland law. The indictment
> focuses on the movement of funds from accounts outside the U.S., in
> Switzerland, England, Malta, and Canada, and the hiring of media resellers
> and advertisers to promote Internet gambling.
> “Sports betting is illegal in Maryland, and federal law prohibits
> bookmakers from flouting that law simply because they are located outside
> the country,” Rosenstein said in a statement. “Many of the harms that
> underlie gambling prohibitions are exacerbated when the enterprises operate
> over the Internet without regulation.”
> That is a truly scary quote but we'll emphasize that: "The indictment
> focuses on the movement of funds *outside the U.S.*" and that you can't
> just "flout US law" by *not being in the US*. What also needs to be
> understood is that the domain bodog.com was registered to via a non-US
> Registrar, namely Vancouver's domainclip <http://www.domainclip.com/>.
> So Here's Where It Get's Scary…
> [image: No Bodog.com for you!]<http://blog.easydns.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Screen-Shot-2012-02-28-at-11.22.31-PM.png>We
> all know that with some US-based Registrars (*cough* Godaddy *cough*), all
> it takes is a badge out of a box of crackerjacks and you have the authority
> to fax in a takedown request which has a good shot at being honoured<http://blog.easydns.org/2012/02/17/the-price-of-freedom-and-the-cost-of-a-domain-name/>.
> We also know that some non-US registrars, it takes a lot more "due
> process-iness" to get a domain taken down.<http://blog.easydns.org/2012/02/21/the-official-easydns-domain-takedown-policy/>
> But now, none of that matters, because in this case the State of Maryland
> simply issued a warrant to .com operator Verisign<http://cdn3.bit2host.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/BodogWebsiteSeizureWarrant.pdf>,
> (who is headquartered in California) who then duly updated the rootzone for
> .com with two new NS records for bodog.com which now redirect the domain
> to the takedown page.
> This is exactly the scenario we were worried about when Verisign
> originally tabled their very troubling takedown proposal<http://blog.easydns.org/2011/10/11/verisign-domain-takedown-proposal-very-worrisome/>.
> Said proposal was quickly retracted, but here we have the same situation
> playing out anyway. Granted, this was an actual court order, to Verisign –
> not a "request" from a governmental or "quasi-governmental" agency as
> originally proposed.
> 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<http://blog.easydns.org/2011/12/22/how-sopa-will-destroy-the-internet/>.
> 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.
> 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 US federal and
> state lawmakers (not exactly known their cluefulness nor even-handedness,
> especially with regard to matters of the internet).
> The larger picture: root monopolies and the need to replace ICANN
> The .com root will never be opened to a truly competitive bidding process.
> Verisign has pretty well ensconced themselves into the .com and .net roots
> indefinitely with built-in price hikes baked into the cake<http://blog.easydns.org/2007/04/16/verisign-raises-fees-on-com-and-net-easydns-doesnt/>.
> I recall a conversation I once had with Tucows CEO Elliot Noss, back when
> they still owned Liberty RMS (which ran the .info registry and later sold
> to Afilias) – he lamented that if the .com registry bidding process were *
> truly* competitive, you would see a registry operator in there doing it
> for about $2 per domain. At the time the wholesale cost of a .com domain
> was $6 and is now $7.85 after their latest *annual increase* which is
> hard-coded into their contract.
> I mention this because a truly competitive bidding process for the
> registry operator job would bring out both cost competition and stewardship
> competition: players who would table proposals on just how they would
> respect the rights of all their stakeholders, not to mention operators who
> may operate outside the United States.
> *Where the fsck is ICANN in all of this?*
> **They are nowhere. They are collecting their fees, pushing their agenda
> of as many possible new-top-level domains and despite the fact that SOPA,
> ACTA, PIPA et aim directly at the interests of their core stakeholders, for
> whom they are supposed to be advocates and stewards.  ICANN is conspicuous
> in their absence from the debate, save for a smug and trite abdication of
> involvement (i.e. "ICANN Doesn't Take Down Websites<http://blog.icann.org/2010/12/icann-doesn%E2%80%99t-take-down-websites/>")
> – translation: "This isn't our problem".
> And therein lies the issue. *ICANN needs to make this their problem,
> because it very much is.* If ICANN isn't going to stand up, and
> vigorously campaign for *global* stakeholder representation in these
> matters, than they are not only abdicating any responsibility in the
> ongoing and escalating crackdown on internet freedom, they are *also*abdicating their right to govern and oversee it.
> They need to be visible, they need to be loud and they need to come down
> on the right side of these issues or they need to be replaced.
> *Of course, the replacement of ICANN will never happen.* At least not by
> a non-US entity, which means we are once again headed to the unthinkable
> place that only crackpots and conspiracy theorists think possible: a
> fractured internet with competing roots. On the bright side, life will go
> on, and companies like mine will probably become exceedingly wealthy
> charging every internet user in the world fees to gain and project
> visibility across all the myriad internet roots that will someday exist
> because governments will refuse to approach it co-operatively. The only
> thing that will remain to be seen is whether we'll be deemed "criminals"
> for doing so.
> Further Reading:
>    - First They Came For The Filesharing Domains<http://blog.easydns.org/2010/11/27/first-they-came-for-the-file-sharing-domains/>
>    - Verisign Takedown Proposal Very Worrisome<http://blog.easydns.org/2011/10/11/verisign-domain-takedown-proposal-very-worrisome/>
>    - How SOPA Will Destroy The Internet<http://blog.easydns.org/2011/12/22/how-sopa-will-destroy-the-internet/>
>    - The Price of Freedom and The Cost of a Domain Name<http://blog.easydns.org/2012/02/17/the-price-of-freedom-and-the-cost-of-a-domain-name/>
>    - The Official easyDNS Takedown Policy<http://blog.easydns.org/2012/02/21/the-official-easydns-domain-takedown-policy/>
> _______________________________________________
> AfrICANN mailing list
> AfrICANN at afrinic.net
> https://lists.afrinic.net/mailman/listinfo.cgi/africann

Brian Munyao Longwe
e-mail: blongwe at gmail.com
cell:  +254715964281
blog : http://zinjlog.blogspot.com
meta-blog: http://mashilingi.blogspot.com

"Give us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand
for, because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything."
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: https://lists.afrinic.net/pipermail/africann/attachments/20120301/e5045d4d/attachment-0001.htm

More information about the AfrICANN mailing list