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Inside the DOJ's Domain Name Graveyard

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the government-cheese-dot-com dept.

The Internet 72

hugheseyau writes "Between November 2010 and May 2011, the US Department of Justice (DoJ), under many banners including the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), seized over 140 domain names from sites allegedly engaged in the 'illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works' or other illegal activities. But what exactly happens when domains are seized in such a manner? This article provides insight into the takedown process as well as providing a unique look into the DoJ's domain name graveyard."

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72 comments

intellectual property is censorship (3, Interesting)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323490)

Intellectual property is censorship. The First Amendment should be read as an implicit repeal: if only "protected speech" is protected - for example, speaking a derivative work is not regarded as protected - then there is no anti-censorship provision whatever.

No complaints here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323528)

DNS is weak, and seizing domains demonstrates its weakness. Please, continue to seize domains, so that the nerds will be more motivated to fix the broken DNS system. Google does a pretty good job already, as searching for a website usually brings up the correct domain. I would like to see a more permanent solution.

Pssssshhhh (4, Interesting)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323956)

Are you saying Google is a good solution to fixing DNS? While Chrome 13 hiding the URL [slashdot.org] says something about the state of DNS, I don't like the idea of trusting a newer, "better" DNS to any corporate entity...

Re:Pssssshhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36324210)

I agree... but Google does provide an 80% solution at this point. It's not perfect, and I would certainly like something decentralized in the long term. For example, I wouldn't be surprised if the next step for the gov't is to force Google to not list certain results (I believe they're in the process of trying to do this?). The more the gov't messes with DNS and threatens to take down sites, the more nerds will work to create a decentralized system to augment DNS.

Re:Pssssshhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36325128)

All hail the freedom box.

I Need a Tinfoil Hat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323558)

before I click on any of those links.

makes you wonder (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323594)

what they were doing that was so illicit, perhaps borntrade was selling babies.

Re:makes you wonder (2)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323638)

I would think botnets, spam servers, spam/malware websites (where you go to buy the crap they are peddling) would be higher on the list.
But, I guess scamming people is a "business"...

The list is about what I expected (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323622)

It's mostly counterfeit goods domains seized, almost nothing for online pirate streaming, though a few of those are there.

But this points out that the DNS system is a weak link, and can no longer be trusted. Something peerless should replace it, but at this point in time, anything that does needs to bridge the existing DNS system.

Re:The list is about what I expected (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 3 years ago | (#36328076)

It's mostly counterfeit goods domains seized, almost nothing for online pirate streaming, though a few of those are there.

Mostly counterfeit goods, but quite a few gambling sites (was in the news a while ago), and then things like torrent-finder.com, planetmoviez.com, filespump.com, thepiratecity.org

Re:The list is about what I expected (1)

lothos (10657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36328382)

A fair number of the seized domains weren't hosting pirated material, but linked to sites that streamed media.

Re:The list is about what I expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36328908)

http://www.bluishcoder.co.nz/2011/05/12/namecoin-a-dns-alternative-based-on-bitcoin.html

What happens over time? (3, Interesting)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323646)

Will the domain names stay 'seized' forever? Or will the DOJ allow them to be sold at some point in the future, the way other seized assets are sold off?

Re:What happens over time? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323662)

Surely they will expire at some point if they don't pay the renewal fees?

Re:What happens over time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36327270)

no when they are ON-HOLD they aren't subject to renewal fees.

Re:What happens over time? (4, Informative)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323728)

Until then, please install the MafiaaFire redirector [mozilla.org] , it handles some of domains stolen by DoJ. You probably won't need any of them and can search for the new URLs in seconds, but it's more about spreading the word.

Re:What happens over time? (3, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323768)

i got dibs on "bishoe.com"

for my bisexual shoe fetish site

Re:What happens over time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323970)

Sadly, that was what was there before. They got shut down because their models used illegal knockoff designer shoes. Um, don't ask me why I know this. Why don't I go ahead and post this anonymously.

Re:What happens over time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36325054)

Hilarious, who's taken in by this blatant propaganda?!

Re:What happens over time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36324666)

i got dibs on "bishoe.com"

for my bisexual shoe fetish site

I wasn't aware that shoes could be bisexual.

Re:What happens over time? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36325120)

i got dibs on "bishoe.com"

A ripoff of Apple's "iShoe.com"?

Your tax dollars at work (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323650)

Taxes - they WILL be used against you.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36329174)

Yes. Used against you. To build roads, fund education and healthcare, and provide a better country for us all (if only 7/8ths didn't go to fueling military industrialism and "policing the world").

sitting on page x @ google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323674)

If only my website could be popular enough to have a government takedown

*sigh*

Ignorance of net neutrality (1)

fysdt (1597143) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323688)

I really am against the policy of the DoJ. They are policing the Internet and are ignoring fundamental values that have made the Internet a great place.

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323706)

Free porn and virused WAREZ?

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (2)

fysdt (1597143) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323770)

Are you telling me that you are perfectly fine with a government that blocks domains because they do not *like* it? What's next?
- Block a domain because it has offended the president
- Block a domain because they are 'against us'
- Block a domain because of activists

and the list goes on...

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (1, Interesting)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323856)

Are you telling me that you are perfectly fine with a government that jails violent people because they do not *like* it? What's next?
- Jail a person because they have sold drugs
- Jail a person because they force people to sell their bodies
- Jail a person because they ran over someone else while drunk

and the list goes on...

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (1)

SilentStaid (1474575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323916)

- Jail a person because they have sold drugs
- Jail a person because they force people to sell their bodies
- Jail a person because they ran over someone else while drunk

One of those things is not like the other...

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (1)

bipedalhominid (1828798) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330450)

Different how? You can get dead from all 3.

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (1)

baerm (163918) | more than 3 years ago | (#36333280)

- Jail a person because they have sold drugs

- Jail a person because they force people to sell their bodies

- Jail a person because they ran over someone else while drunk

One of those things is not like the other...

Interesting, the oddball I would have picked is the one above that does not have a person actively doing something to second person that the second person doesn't want.

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (1)

SilentStaid (1474575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36333602)

I was along the same vein of thought except to me I see it as thus:

Selling drugs - for whatever reason the person wants the drugs. I'm not debating addiction, just that the both parties are willing participants. Same thing with the sex worker (once again, slavery is something else)

But hitting someone with your car while your DUI? That seems pretty damn jail-able to me.

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (5, Insightful)

fysdt (1597143) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323922)

Murder is an obvious crime. The people operating these websites did not commit crimes. For example, torrent-finder was taken down by the ICE and this website is not even close to criminal. It is metasearch engine. The DoJ is probably getting lobbied by the MPAA.

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (3, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323950)

Wow, that's an awesome strawman. I mean who else would have thought about comparing freedom of expression to violent crime? I suggest you wrap that up and put it in a field somewhere for the crows.

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (1)

fysdt (1597143) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323960)

Copyrighted material can be taken down by the owners of the websites according to the DMCA. There is no need to block domains, it is plain wrong.

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324248)

What? The DMCA does not say content can be taken down by the owners. It says that IF the owners request content to be removed, AND THE SITE DOES IT, then the site can not be charged with copyright infringement.

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (1)

fysdt (1597143) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324342)

I was trying to explain that website owners can comply with the law by taking down copyrighted material if copyrighted material resides on their website. Anyway, torrent-finder was taken down by the ICE. However, the website does not contain copyrighted material. Is an iframe to isohunt considered as copyright infringement?

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (3, Interesting)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324118)

- Jail a person because they ran over someone else while drunk

If you can run over someone in the US while driving drunk in France, it may be a comparison. However, this is the US going to France and kidnapping the drunk driver for running over someone IN FRANCE. And is still a very bad analogy.

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36325970)

Replace "France" with "Mexico", and "Drunk driving" with "shooting a DEA agent", and you have, in fact, got something the US has done at least once or twice in the past.

Or, perhaps, replace "France" with "Pakistan", and "Drunk driving" with "Organizing terrorist plots", and you've got something the US did fairly recently and made a big show of...

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36326040)

    Actually, it seems they like those. They read them all the time. Well, if they publish frequently enough. I've seen every intelligence organization I've ever heard of, and quite a few even friends in the government (current and retired) couldn't guess at. Some of them take some substantial research, but you know it's bound to be something with the US Gov't when it ends in .gov or .mil. Very few .gov's that I've seen come by are locate or state. Maybe it's because of the demographic who seems to like our news.

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (1)

fysdt (1597143) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323792)

This is plain old censorship so suppress people and misuse of power

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323966)

I really am against the policy of the DoJ. They are policing the Internet and are ignoring fundamental values that have made the Internet a great place.

I really am against the policy of the Internet. They are radically altering society and are ignoring fundamental values that have made inter-state and international business a great place.

Funny thing about changing "fundamental values". They're going to change, you're not going to stop them, you MIGHT be able to slow them down with decreasing gains, and every generation thinks they have the sole right to stop change and preserve life exactly as they had it forever. The Internet generation just got old quicker, I guess.

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (1)

fysdt (1597143) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324120)

The Internet has had a great effect on society by boosting innovation and the economy. I'm worried about blocking domains because this can certainly be misused. Suppose that a powerful organization lobbies the DoJ to block the next Google because is 'against their' policy or because 'they have a patent on it' .

Re:Ignorance of net neutrality (1)

softWare3ngineer (2007302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324322)

Considering a shady copyright claim can be made on all search results even though they are fair use. A new search engine could be easily crushed with litigation or a seizure. This pattern could be used against any site or service that collects and manages data from several sources.

Ask Slashdot: Mesh DNS Options? (2)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323802)

Hey, Slashdot; Could you clue me? What is the state of alternative DNS systems, particularly something mesh- or web-of-trust- oriented? Any live systems that are usable now? Any projects that look promising where I could lend a hand with code or whatever?

Re:Ask Slashdot: Mesh DNS Options? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36324738)

NetSuKuku - mesh and web-of-trust- oriented http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netsukuku
      Open NIC - classic style alternative http://www.opennicproject.org

Re:Ask Slashdot: Mesh DNS Options? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36326778)

For the short term, you can use MafiaaFire Redirector [mozilla.org] , which maintains a list of ceased domains and redirects you seamlessly to a working page.

Re:Ask Slashdot: Mesh DNS Options? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36328024)

Don't forget the basics before looking at alternatives. DNSSEC http://www.dnssec.net/ [dnssec.net]

Fundamentally Corrupt (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323814)

It's really hard to visualize just how fundamentally corrupt the US government is. Today's /. gives a clue - Patent Trolls, Video Felonies and a school superintendent pointing out that schools are less important the prisons.

We the people, really need to get in on the process and figure out how to buy some politicians.

Checking the list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323854)

Redtube... Redtube... Redtube...

Nope. I'm good!

Scanned for fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323948)

I remember scanning their "this site has been seized" server with a tool that would basically try to brute-force a directory tree on the server (did this through Tor of course) hoping to find something exploitable or embarassing (just for the lulz). I got bored before I turned up anything too interesting but I did turn up an Apache sample page with some icons or something.

Re:Scanned for fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36327912)

Tor is a Navy intelligence project.

http://cryptome.org/0004/tor-is-tor.htm

Re:Scanned for fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330088)

And the NSA worked on SELinux! DUMP SELINUX, IT'S A TRAP!

Maybe they'll get the joke? (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324344)

Any volunteers want to add gov't domain names to the gov't's own list of seized domains? I'm sure they'll have a great laugh about it! Note to law enforcement, I'm not volunteering!

Target (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36324384)

These DOJ dns servers should be a primary target for Anonymous.

Re:Target (1)

bipedalhominid (1828798) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330536)

Well, if they do attack the feds they might get branded as terrorists. Then the US will have to fund a war on someone, somewhere. Then some subset of the Anonymous crowd gets a missile down the ol smokestack. So, they probably wont openly attach fed sites.

viewdns.info (1)

Dynamoo (527749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36325190)

viewdns.info looks pretty nifty for a free tool.

However, it lacks a historical WHOIS tool.. and using a historical WHOS tool I can see that the domain had an invalid WHOIS record until they anonymised it yesterday...

seizedservers.com (1)

guttentag (313541) | more than 3 years ago | (#36325198)

seizedservers.com and seizedservers.net are on the list. Does this mean that the DOJ actually registered these two names, or that someone else registered them, and the DOJ seized them to prevent them from infringing the DOJ's exclulsive status as the king of domain name seizures?

Re:seizedservers.com (1)

lothos (10657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36328370)

seizedservers.com, seizedservers.org and seizedservers.net each have different owners.

Intent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36326260)

I'm more concerned about why they seized them, something tells me it'll be published as a backwater news story somewhere and will be forgotten. There is a ton of illegal shit going on on the internet mostly outside the US borders, but what put these domains over? (ex. spam, porn, scam) . There's little tid bits and pieces out there, but nothing definitive and all speculative (ex. http://torrentfreak.com/us-resume-file-sharing-domain-seizures-110201/) . This one infringed on copyright and probably pissed off the national leagues of the states. I wonder if the rest have similar stories... some are obvious because of the DN.

Re:Intent (4, Insightful)

GumphMaster (772693) | more than 3 years ago | (#36326422)

The article mentioned nothing I could see about the owners and operators of the site being convicted of any crime. That is what disturbs me. Quite aside from the potential future free speech ramifications, the presumption of innocence seems to be forgotten. This really looks like the US Govt. picking up the tab for making inconvenient sites go away so the trademark holders etc. don't have to dip into their precious profits.

Can anyone point to a conviction that lead to this action?

What TLD's can they seize? (1)

lpq (583377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36326396)

I noticed that most are .com, but I did notice 5 in .net, 2 in .org and 1 in .cc.

Does the US own .org and .cc like the own .com/.net? (one may argue finer points of ownership, but if they can do with them as they will, the point is moot).

If they the .org TLD, why would pirate-bay.org be up?

Is it a matter of what registrar they are registered with and it just so happens
that .com is almost (or is entirely?) owned by US registrars, while .net/.org/.cc have multi-national registrars?

Re:What TLD's can they seize? (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36327006)

Organization of the Internet aside, I figured they could seize them as property of someone in their jurisdiction who ran afoul of the law.

Re:What TLD's can they seize? (2)

lothos (10657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36328378)

Each of the seized domains were using a TLD/ccTLD extension where the registry was in the United States. .cc is administered by Verisign.

Re:What TLD's can they seize? (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#36331754)

All of the domains seized were essentially property owned by the company that happens to lie on US soil. If the owner of the web site was convicted of a crime, this would be fair game, but I don't think there was any court proceeding over these domains, though the vast majority of them were seized for good reason from looking at the names. Selling counterfeit drugs, designer good, and stuff like that will get you the notice of powerful people.

Pig stye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36327286)

the economic law is protecting the economy if the economic law were not
protecting the economy they couldn't rehabilitate people for economic
crimes committed because the economic crimes committed cannot be
committed without the economy
the above proves the economic crimes are committed because of the economic law ,if economic law WERE NOT protecting something(obv not bigger and greator than the ppl), economic crimes COULD NOT be committed , CAN'T WITHOUT ECONOMIC LAW, because of ECONOMIC LAW.

The stupidest action of any gov agency... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36327382)

Basically, they provided the perfect incentive for a non-centralized DNS service - and there are already people working on P2P services which will maintain copies to render such actions worthless. The US government is becoming superfluous - which may be the point. In the last two years actions by the US Government has essentially rendered the US Dollar as THE reserve currency obsolete - which is why the markets are so volatile and GOLD is going through the roof as people scramble to find an alternative. Just as Obama has rendered the Office of the President of the US - once considered to be the most powerful man on earth to be a paper tiger, and it just keeps coming on - Rome lasted for a thousand years, the US a scant 200 or so.

The ultimate power resides in the hands of the people - in the US it is in the form of the Second Amendment as a final resort - but the cell-phone and it's capability of taking photos and movies renders the actions of all oppressors open to the world to see and condemn. And the power of the Internet and numbers the power to oppose and change.

viewdns.info returns aren't very complete (1)

pevans (44803) | more than 3 years ago | (#36327480)

I entered one of my own ips and got back only 7 of the 40 or so domains hosted on that box. Most of those domains have been there for years. Any other tool I've ever tried for this before always disclaims that the results will be incomplete as they are based on using search engines.

Re:viewdns.info returns aren't very complete (1)

hugheseyau (2222722) | more than 3 years ago | (#36327696)

What are the TLD's of those domains? Whilst we have over 130 million domains in our database, we unfortunately don't have all data for all CC-TLD's. We do cover almost all of the global TLD's however. We do not use search engine data at all.

Seizure without trial (1)

dugeen (1224138) | more than 3 years ago | (#36329210)

Don't forget that in many cases there will have been no proof whatsoever of wrongdoing, just suspicion and unsupported copyright/trademark claims. We shouldn't be enabling the authoritarians by publishing puff pieces like this for their macho 'takedown' nonsense.
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