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Police Demand Summary Domain Takedown, Traffic Redirection 251

Stunt Pope writes "This morning, Toronto-based domain registrar easyDNS received a request from the City of London (UK) police demanding that they summarily take down a BitTorrent search site based out of Singapore — or else they would 'refer the matter to ICANN' — suggesting easyDNS could lose its accreditation. The police further directed easyDNS to point all traffic for the domain to an IP address that promoted competing commercial online music services based out of London, UK." easyDNS raises some important questions in the blog post they put up after receiving the request. Quoting: "Who decides what is illegal? What makes somebody a criminal? Given that the subtext of the request contains a threat to refer the matter to ICANN if we don't play along, this is a non-trivial question. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought it was something that gets decided in a court of law, as opposed to 'some guy on the internet' sending emails. While that's plenty reason enough for some registrars to take down domain names, it doesn't fly here."
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Police Demand Summary Domain Takedown, Traffic Redirection

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  • by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @03:42PM (#45074209) Homepage Journal

    Go to the ip address in the complaint []

    It's got the message from the police, along with a bunch of logos of commercial companies, like the BPI.

    So it's evident who they are working for.

  • by _Shad0w_ ( 127912 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @04:02PM (#45074483)

    The City of London is actually older than England. Just to confuse people more.

    And then you have The Temple...

  • Re:Easy answers (Score:4, Informative)

    by NoxNoctis ( 936876 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @04:10PM (#45074575) Homepage
    This couldn't be more true. Paris, France threatened to sue me if I didn't turn over my domain to them. Somehow they won the UDRP complaint when the requirements include not having threatened to file suit. Thankfully some rather fantastic lawyers helped me keep my domain. It's a scary world and the people with money don't make it any better.
  • by ljw1004 ( 764174 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @04:13PM (#45074623)

    Read the actual police request. It says:

    We request that you review your processes to see if you provide a service for the identified domain(s). If so, we would ask you to review the terms and conditions on the basis of which that service is provided and withdraw or suspend the service if you are satisfied that the terms and conditions have been breached

    And the police helpfully highlight the relevant line from EasyDNS terms of service:

    easyDNS Terms of Service: easyDNS reserves the right to revoke any or all services associated with a domain or user account, for policy abuses. What constitutes a policy abuse is at the sole discretion of easyDNS and includes (but is not limited to) the following: ... copyright infringement ...

    But now the easyDNS got on his drama-queen high horse. Here's what he wrote:

    Who decides what is illegal? What makes somebody a criminal? Given that the subtext of the request contains a threat to refer the matter to ICANN if we don't play along, this is a non-trivial question. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought it was something that gets decided in a court of law, as opposed to "some guy on the internet" sending emails

    Well the answer's clear. From his own terms of service, HE is the one who decides whether easyDNS should terminate service, at his discretion. Not a court. The police's request was solely that easyDNS should themselves determine whether this user had breached their own terms of service.

  • Re:Douche-o-matic (Score:5, Informative)

    by Urza9814 ( 883915 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @04:16PM (#45074659)

    This is a DOMAIN REGISTRAR, not the host of the content. They don't give you this information, they just tell you where to get it.

    It's like someone walking around saying "JOHN DOE IS A RAPIST". Which in most places is perfectly legal as long as it's a factual statement. There's generally nothing illegal about telling people who is committing crimes.

    If you want a more similar example -- there are entire websites whose sole purpose is to broadcast which neighborhoods in which cities you're most likely to find drug dealers -- yet nobody is shutting those down....

  • Re:RCMP (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @04:29PM (#45074865)

    I used to get all kinds of demand letters while working at a registrar based in Canada. I just told them to go get a Canadian court order and we'd be happy to oblige. Never heard back from a single one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @04:30PM (#45074873)

    Using the raw IP address should bypass any DNS redirection but we STILL get the police message. Have they taken over the actual web server too or even worse, somehow got the routing changed? How the hell did they manage that??

    The IP address provided above is the site they want them redirect it TO, not the "Criminal" site in question

  • Re:Douche-o-matic (Score:4, Informative)

    by Blue Stone ( 582566 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @06:05PM (#45075861) Homepage Journal

    From the City of London Wikipedia page:

    Author and journalist Nicholas Shaxson argues that, in return for raising loans and finance for the British government, the City "has extracted privileges and freedoms from rules and laws to which the rest of Britain must submit" that have left the corporation "different from any other local authority". He argues that the assistance provided to the institutions based in its jurisdiction, many of which help their rich clients with offshore tax arrangements, mean that the corporation is "a tax haven in its own right". Writing in The Guardian, George Monbiot argued that the corporation's power "helps to explain why regulation of the banks is scarcely better than it was before the crash, why there are no effective curbs on executive pay and bonuses and why successive governments fail to act against the UK's dependent tax havens" and suggested that its privileges could not withstand proper "public scrutiny".

    In the past, the Labour Party has pledged to abolish the corporation. Former British Prime Minister Clement Attlee wrote, "Over and over again we have seen that there is in this country another power than that which has its seat at Westminster. The City of London, a convenient term for a collection of financial interests, is able to assert itself against the Government of the country. Those who control money can pursue a policy at home and abroad contrary to that which has been decided by the people." When he became Prime Minister he nationalised the Bank of England.

    In December 2012, following criticism that it was insufficiently transparent about its finances, the City of London Corporation revealed that its "City’s Cash" account – an endowment fund built up over the past 800 years that it says is used "for the benefit of London as a whole" – holds more than £1.3bn. The fund collects money made from the corporation’s property and investment earnings.

    Source: []

    The City of London is pretty dodgy, if you ask me. This sort of thing doesn't surprise.

  • Re:Douche-o-matic (Score:5, Informative)

    by jxander ( 2605655 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @07:00PM (#45076325)

    People don't take drastic action from what they see in the news, they take action when they see it affect them directly and it impedes their ability to see a future for themselves. E.g. The Egypt situation

    Maybe not from a single report... or a few isolated incidents. But given a steady drip feed of "the other side is the DEVIL" a propaganda machine disguised as a news network can absolutely cause people to take drastic action. Even worse, it can cause a severe disconnect between reality and your own delusions.

    For example, Congress currently has an 11% approval rating [] and hasn't been above 40% in nearly a decade. During the last election, their approval rating was a staggering 14%, yet we saw a 90% incumbent victory rate [].

    This is dangerous. This is very very dangerous. We openly acknowledge that those in charge have been fucking it up royal. But the media circus has convinced everyone that "my guy isn't the problem... it's completely on the other side of the aisle." Add in a splash of gerrymandering, and we've got the makings of our very own banana republic.

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe