For months, the US Government has issued court orders in order to seize and shut down sites — even when the domain names are registered abroad. Now it has made its position on domains perfectly clear: if it ends in .com, .net, .cc, .tv and .name, we can seize it.
Under “Operation Our Sites”, the United States has been using its control over the world’s domain name infrastructure to shut down sites it claims traffic counterfeit products. But, recently, the government has expanded its crackdown of sites abroad to include sports gambling sites — most notably by shutting down the Canadian-based gambling site Bodog.com — on the grounds that the site violates US gambling laws.
Internet activists cried foul, and as Threat Level reports, the government responded by making a very broad statement about its control over .com, .net, .cc, .tv and .name domains. According to a representative for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the US can seize the domains because the root infrastructure of those top-level domains is controlled by the US-based Verisign. The government intends to do it from the root on its home turf because it doesn’t trust the authorities in foreign countries to comply with its desires.
The government’s statement isn’t all that surprising, as it has asserted its authority many times. Still, this is the first time we’ve heard the government come out and take such a strong stance, which could mean it plans on further widening the net of its seizures in the future. [Threat Level]
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