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Saturday, March 10, 2012

US Government Admits It Has Seized Hundreds Of Domains Registered Outside The US

from the this-has-been-happening-for-a-while dept

After the US seized, we pointed to a writeup by EasyDNS that has created quite a stir, claiming that this was the first time that the US had seized a domain that was registered through a non-US registrar by going straight to the register (in this case VeriSign). But as wepointed out, that's simply untrue. Back in 2010 we wrote about how most of the federal government's domain seizures went directly to the register

For whatever reason, more and more people keep picking up on the EasyDNS piece, including interesting questions about whether or not these seizures could be seen as declarations of warby seizing foreign property. 

I'm glad that people are up in arms about this, but it's important to remember that this simply isn't new. In fact, the feds themselves seem bewildered by all these claims. In an interview with Wired, ICE spokesperson Nicole Navas admits that the government has seized approximately 750 domains this way, with the vast majority of them using foreign registrars:

Such seizures are becoming commonplace under the Obama administration. For example, the U.S. government program known as Operation in Our Sites acquires federal court orders to shutter sites it believes are hawking counterfeited goods, illegal sports streams and unauthorized movies and music. Navas said the U.S. government has seized 750 domain names, “most with foreign-based registrars.”
So, sure, speak up about this, but please, please recognize that this isn't new. It's been going on for at least three years. Hell, it's so common these days that PIR, who runs the .org register,has a dedicated page listing out all the domains they've handed over to the feds.

Original report