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JotForm.com Gets Shut Down SOPA-Style

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the it-was-nice-knowing-you dept.

Security 188

itwbennett writes "In a post on the company blog, JotForm.com cofounder Aytekin Tank alerts users that 'a US government agency has temporarily suspended' the jotform.com domain. He explains that it is part of an 'ongoing investigation' of content posted to its site by a user. Although which user and what content haven't yet been disclosed, there is speculation about forms used for a phishing attack on a South African bank. JotForm hosts over two million user-generated forms, and uses software to block fraudulent accounts (65,000 so far), so you can see there's plenty of opportunity for mischief."

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188 comments

Site that you've never heard of is shut down (-1, Troll)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067673)

News@11

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (5, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067707)

A lot of people haven't heard of Slashdot. Would that make it right if it were taken offline on the arbitrary say-so of some government functionary?

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (4, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067811)

Let's not say "some government" when it's always the US government.

Please mark .com as depreciated.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (2)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067863)

I think you meant deprecated, and .com is not the only one.

It's always the US government because the US government is in complete control over the DNS for the entire planet. If that is what you mean by shut down.

As for blocking, not only the US government does that. It is immensely popular in a lot of countries to do so, and most notably, TPB is being blocked by BREIN recently.

If anything the current DNS system, along with the root servers, needs to be marked as deprecated and replaced with something else.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (1)

Harry Nelson (2575925) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067923)

As for blocking, not only the US government does that. It is immensely popular in a lot of countries to do so, and most notably, TPB is being blocked by BREIN recently.

The difference is that they do it locally based on their laws. China also does. However, US is much worse in this regard because they try to control the whole world.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067931)

Let's not say "some government" when it's always the US government.

Which government do you mean? The grand and glorious one of "We The People" or the one pwned by 1%?

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (3, Informative)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067985)

Which government do you mean? The grand and glorious one of "We The People" or the one pwned by 1%?

Here, let me introduce you to regulatory capture [wikipedia.org].

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068389)

So that would be pretty much the entire government of the US (and Canada where I live) then?

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39068455)

If I hadn't used my mod points already on other posts...

I think that's one of my favorite wikipedia pages...

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068057)

Let's not say "some government" when it's always the US government.

Please mark .com as depreciated.

I don't know, the UK seems to be getting into shutting down websites too.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (5, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068127)

Goddamn right.

I'm a U.S. citizen, and I'm so fucking sick and tired of the shit my government is doing lately, particularly this shit. Since we obviously can't vote our way out of this crap (since all players are bought long before they even get their fucking name on a ballot), what's next? Half the people in this country don't even care that their rights are being shit upon and just want to go watch NASCAR or Keeping Up With the Kardashians. The rest are split between the people that still have faith in their government (although I can't see how, not anymore) and those that think the whole fucking thing is FUBAR and gave up long ago.

This country is going to end up in civil war again. If I were a foreign business that had any type of connection to the United States, I would get the fuck out ASAP.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (5, Insightful)

twotacocombo (1529393) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068405)

This country is going to end up in civil war again.

Probably not. I doubt one region of the country is so enamored with the federal government that it would be willing to take up arms and battle the rest of the nation to defend it. The first civil war was fought over states rights, among other things, and there was a pretty clear line between the industrial north and the agricultural south. Our present day issues are not so much a battle of conflicting ideologies and regional economies, but the increasing oppressiveness and financial abuse of the common man by the ruling elite. Yes, that old chestnut. So this is less likely to turn into another Civil War (or War Between the States, if you will), and more something resembling the American Revolution, if anything.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39069133)

So this is less likely to turn into another Civil War (or War Between the States, if you will), and more something resembling the American Revolution, if anything.

Think again. I doubt enough people are so upset with the Federal government that they have a snowball's chance in hell of making any headway against it. So what's it going to look like? Orwell's "boot stomping on a human face, forever."

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (-1, Troll)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068591)

I'm a U.S. citizen, and I'm so fucking sick and tired of the shit my government is doing lately, particularly this shit

How about some context asshole? They're not shutting it down, in fact, it's back online.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (4, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068745)

That has nothing to do with the fact that an entire website was nuked off the face of the internet without any judicial oversight whatsoever.

If I get stopped and searched for no reason whatsoever, when the cop decides to let me go because he had no reason to stop me in the first place, should I just say "Well, he let me go, so all's well that end's well"? Come on. That's retarded.

There's a reason why we require court orders before police are just allowed to do whatever they fuck they want, and situations like this are precisely why.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (1)

edb (87448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068641)

> Please mark .com as depreciated.

Depreciated, as in has lost value...

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067907)

A lot of people haven't heard of Slashdot. Would that make it right if it were taken offline on the arbitrary say-so of some government functionary?

Remember, this is the slashdot audience you are addressing - you could get answers of 'Yes', 'No', '[CENSORED]' or some reference to an old television show.

Agree, though, this is only a little island, like so many others. Were it suddenly to become known to certain flash-mob types it could suffer it's very own Slashdot Effect.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39067955)

Sounds like it's resolved anyway (not that it explains why it happened in first place):

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/02/secret-service-asks-for-shutdown-of-legit-website-over-user-content-godaddy-complies.ars

Update: Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary has confirmed to Ars that, after further investigation, his agency is indeed involved in the JotForm case. The Secret Service has also launched an internal review to "make sure all our policies and procedures were followed" in the matter, he added. He could not comment on any other issues surrounding the case, including whether a court order had been obtained.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (1)

Garth Smith (1720052) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067959)

A lot of people haven't heard of Slashdot. Would that make it right if it were taken offline on the arbitrary say-so of some government functionary?

I would like to add, "A lot of people haven't heard of Slashdot. Would that make it right if it were taken offline on the arbitrary say-so of some government functionary..." and based on the actions of a minority of users? Jotform actively tried to keep illegal activity away. This is no Megaupload.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39067711)

Average slashdot user of 2012 missing the point : no news at all, the world is hardly surprised anymore

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (3, Insightful)

IHateEverybody (75727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067763)

First they came for Julian Assange and Wikileaks. I didn't like Julian Assange or approve of Wikileaks' methods, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for MegaUpload. I'm not a computer pirate, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came after JotForm. I hadn't even heard of JotForm, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came after me and my blog. There was no one left to speak up....

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (3, Insightful)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067847)

And people wonder why we have a 2nd Amendment....

It's there to protect the 1st.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39067937)

Sadly, I think the 1st will be dead and buried long before Americans ever wake up and resort to exercising the 2nd.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39068039)

So what you want to see is news reports of someone shooting government officials for cutting off the DNS for his website?

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39068149)

Troll points to you, sir. Do you honestly believe the issue covered in this article comes anywhere close to the worst things the government is currently doing?

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39068161)

You'll be happy to hear that Jared Lee Loughner exercise his 2nd only last year.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (4, Funny)

kubernet3s (1954672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068081)

Let us shoot the government, using INTERNET BULLETS

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (2)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068565)

A government should fear it's people, a people should not fear it's government. I'll let you figure out where that paraphrasing comes from.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39068749)

When has the 2nd Amendment successfully been used to protect the 1st?

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (2, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068133)

First they came for Julian Assange and Wikileaks. I didn't like Julian Assange or approve of Wikileaks' methods, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for MegaUpload. I'm not a computer pirate, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came after JotForm. I hadn't even heard of JotForm, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came after me and my blog. There was no one left to speak up.

And then they kicked down my front door, and I had no way to tell anyone.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (0)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068615)

Before Julian they came for Massey Energy and the Big Branch Mine. I don't explode and kill my workers so I didn't speak up.
And they came for BP, but I don't spill oil into the Gulf of Mexico so I didn't speak up.
And they came for Union Carbide. I don't leak toxic gas so I didn't speak up.
Then they came for the meat packing plant, but I don't spill blood into rivers so I didn't speak up.
Then they came for the crack house, but I don't create a public nuisance so I didn't speak up.
Then they came for Pacific Gas and Electric, but I put dump hexavalent chromium into the water table so I didn't speak up.

Look, somethings that create value can also create problems. Sometimes those things are shutdown or fined.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (4, Insightful)

lomedhi (801451) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067785)

They host two million forms created by 700,000 users, so plenty of people have heard of them.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (2)

boley1 (2001576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067957)

This is news because it means that any cloud or SaaS site that businesses or non-profit orgs depend on can be shutdown with no recourse for the innocent users. This shows that it is not just users of file sharing sites like MegaUpload (that may live on the edge) that are in danger, but any site (with only the best intentions) but with many users,( some possibly violating the sites usage terms) is at risk. I for one used JotForms for several small sites where the application was not critical, but it could have been. When Intuit (quickbooks online) or Sales Force sites are suspended, it will be no more tragic than this is for some non-proffits and small businesses. I have empathy for the owners and users of the 2 Million or so innocent forms, and so should at least a few slashdotters IMHO.

Re:Site that you've never heard of is shut down (2)

Garth Smith (1720052) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068001)

What is interesting to me is that large websites, such as Facebook and Youtube would probably get a second look by GoDaddy or whatever law enforcement agent dealt with this case. tiny websites with no users are not a threat to anyone and fly under the radar. The way things are set up, the companies who get hurt the most are growing companies with good products, exactly the type we want to help our economy!

I hope... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39067689)

this involved a court order.

Re:I hope... (5, Informative)

Garth Smith (1720052) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067771)

SPECULATION: Jotform was using GoDaddy when this happened, and have decided to move every other domain they own off GoDaddy ASAP. The worry is that GoDaddy is following law enforcement requests without asking any questions. No idea if a court order or not. In either case, Jotform is having to heal with hundred thousands broken accounts because GoDaddy rolled over or because one judge somewhere saw only the law enforcement side of the case. The great majority of Jotform accounts are used for legitimate purposes. This is NOT like MegaUpload. You cannot make the argument that Jotform's goal is to break any law. They helped a great many businesses. It is pro big corporation actions like this that will hold our economy back, not the threat of a free internet as some politicians believe.

Re:I hope... (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067967)

I'm glad I don't have my domains with with GoDaddy. But the company I do have them with sure seems risky, too. I need to find a better place for domains.

Re:I hope... (5, Informative)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067775)

Looks like not.

Neither story covering it mentions a court order or a subpoena; one of them says that "it may have been done without a court order."

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/02/secret-service-asks-for-shutdown-of-legit-website-over-user-content-godaddy-complies.ars [arstechnica.com]

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/02/16/successful-online-startup-kicked-off-domain-without-stated-reason/ [rawstory.com]

Re:I hope... (4, Informative)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067839)

Followup: relevant paragraphs:

And it all may have been done without a court order. ...

Note the two criteria: a court order or a notification from a prosecutor. That latter category amounts to an unproven allegation—and it's what Tank believes derailed him here. "No, as far as I know, there is no judge order," he told me. "They sent a request to GoDaddy and GoDaddy complied."

Re:I hope... (5, Insightful)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067971)

sure seems to me that every CIO now has the fiduciary duty to move mission critical domains away from GoDaddy, registering with them at this point is no more dependable then running a server out of an intern's basement to save space in the datacenter

FUCK GODADDY. (2)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068655)

The problem with ongoing investigations, particularly with international ongoing investigations, is that transparency can work against you in big ways. So I really think that the outrage at the US Federal Government is really kind of baseless at this point. They made a request and... Godaddy complied.

However, it's pretty goddamn clear GoDaddy doesn't give two shits about their customers. They should be ashamed of what they do.

Re:FUCK GODADDY. (2)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068883)

While it would have been The Right Thing To Do for GoDaddy to tell the Feds to go fsck themselves, when evaluating these situations, one should look at who has the power. That is the entity with whom the primary responsibility rests. Because that's the entity that has the ability to "make an offer that can't be refused."

Re:FUCK GODADDY. (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39069599)

Mod parent up!

Seriously I am surprised Go Daddy was admitted in this story on slashdot as it is mentioned elsewhere. Did GoDaddy have a change of heart since deciding not to support SOPA. Hell no!

No other sane ISP would do this and would happily do so as Go Daddy would in an attempt to get favors for any future law that makes them money or gives them special favors over other ISPs in any future government bills.

Plus... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39067697)

It works for me...

People need to move their domains (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39067709)

away from the authority of a shoot first ask questions later country.

FUD. (0, Troll)

x1r8a3k (1170111) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067731)

This is overrating to call this SOPA-style. They were temporarily closed because it was being used to phish information from customers of several different banks.
This is more analogous to the police closing a business after a robbery to preserve evidence. They'll be back up soon enough, and are actually still operating under an alternate domain.

Re:FUD. (5, Insightful)

lbft (950835) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067761)

A legitimate business was shut down globally for an unknown length of time because one of their customers was doing something wrong. Instead of working with the company to stop it like, oh, I don't know, every other internet business ever, they shot first and asked questions later.

It's the incompetence we've all come to expect from law enforcement that either don't understand or don't care about the consequences of their actions as soon as a computer's involved.

Re:FUD. (4, Insightful)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068023)

A legitimate business was shut down globally for an unknown length of time because one of their customers was doing something wrong

Suppose someone used a Toyota automobile as getaway car after robbing a bank. Certainly you don't think that Toyota should be allowed to continue operating if their products are being used in this way?

Re:FUD. (5, Insightful)

Garth Smith (1720052) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067855)

This is overrating to call this SOPA-style.

I thought this was EXACTLY the worry that Facebook, Google, Wikimedia, etc. had. The worry was that a user posting "problem material" could get an entire site pulled without a court order. It looks like this is EXACTLY what happened here. (Though I am still unsure if a court order was made or not. It seems like there was no court order.)

Re:FUD. (1)

fwarren (579763) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068301)

Can you please explain that statement with a car analogy?

Re:FUD. (4, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068427)

You drive a taxi for a living.

While carrying your passengers to an important meeting, you are pulled over. The officer takes the tires off your vehicle without telling you why, and only returns them when a large crowd of people start muttering and taking pictures.

Unfortunately, the same crowd also uses your taxi service - or used to, until they discovered that they cannot rely upon your ability to get them from point A to point B because J Random Law Enforcement Official might take your tires again, and they'd be stuck until he decided to give them back.

Re:FUD. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39068695)

Can you please explain that statement with a car analogy?

Someone just above posted one (I'm hoping they meant to reply to you, not them, because it makes more sense here...)

Suppose someone used a Toyota automobile as getaway car after robbing a bank. Certainly you don't think that Toyota should be allowed to continue operating if their products are being used in this way?

Re:FUD. (2)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067859)

And how many CIO's will say, pull our forms from them - we can't guarantee access to our data?

It just takes once to do massive damage to reputation. And for data management / cloud companies, reputation of perfect availability of a user's data is absolutely everything.

Lose that, and you're done.

Re:FUD. (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068165)

Not really. It's the same problem of law enforcement taking the kill 'em all and let God sort them out approach. They had the option of asking an apparently legitimate business to kill the few accounts that were a problem, but instead went directly to the nuclear option, exactly what SOPA sought to enable on a larger scale.

Re:FUD. (4, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068193)

BS!

They took down the whole domain, instead of the form(s) in question. They caused grief to some part of the up to 2 MILLION legitimate business users. The company made it clear they were fully willing to cooperate. Yet this agency just disregarded that and shut down the whole domain. Calling it SOPA-style may not be an exact comparison, but it is by the means SOPA is well know to have tried to advance ... by defying due process.

When the police close down a store due to a robbery, it is just that one store that is closed and this is done while the police are on scene actually investigating.

What actually happened would be the brick and mortar equivalent of the police having the store's electricity cut off (so they can't function), and their store front boarded up (so no one can see the store signs), and then when asked about why this is done, telling the store own they'll get around to looking into it in a few days.

It it only fortunate that jotform.com did have another domain name that this agency probably just didn't realize was usable. Given that they were able to activate the jotform.net domain, it's clear the actual servers were not seized. So there wasn't even an investigate (as in trying to look for other forms that may be at issue).

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Well, which is it? It sure looks more like malice to me. Now, will you argue I should follow Hanlon's razor and just attribute it to stupidity? It's one or the other.

Least Intrusive? (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067751)

It was my understanding that in the United States, law enforcement (of any kind) is obligated to use the "least intrusive means" they reasonably can to effect an arrest or seizure.

In cases like this, blocking the domain name is so obviously the opposite of "least intrusive", I wonder if they have grounds to prosecute under 18 US 242. I know I would consider it, if this were done to me or my company.

Re:Least Intrusive? (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067817)

IANAL But I don't think they don't have grounds to prosecute. A federal prosecutor would have to file charges for a criminal proceeding to take place. What US Attorney is going to file criminal charges against another branch? Probably not many.

Re:Least Intrusive? (4, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067905)

You need to look at 18 USC 242. It applies to anybody, including Congress and the President.

If their rights were violated, they have grounds. Period. But actually prosecuting is another matter of course. Even so, 242 is used every year, and the conviction rate is very high. Much higher than most kinds of criminal prosecution.

Re:Least Intrusive? (2)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067889)

You're understanding is nice in theory but utterly failed to the nth degree in reality.

I mean, who the heck thinks of using a chainsaw to go through the front door of a house. It's not even a fast or effective way. A sledgehammer is far more efficient.

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/01/31/fbi-uses-chainsaw-in-raid-on-wrong-fitchburg-apartment/ [cbslocal.com]

Re:Least Intrusive? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067975)

Actually, she too has grounds to prosecute under 18 USC 242. To say that her rights were violated (and not even in a "reasonable" way) is pretty much an understatement. She was effectively kidnapped at gunpoint.

You missed the whole point of my post. Yes, abuses happen. But when they do, it is not only the right but the duty of the victim to sue and/or prosecute if they can. If they do not, they do everyone else a disservice.

242 is a good law, and unlike most others of its kind it has teeth.

Re:Least Intrusive? (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068907)

Any reason that you think this shutdown has anything to do with:

"such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race,"

Otherwise 18 USC 242 has no application here.

Incorrect. (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39069275)

Lots of people read it that way, but that's not what it actually means. 18 USC 242 does not cover just discrimination. As many successfully prosecuted cases prove.

There is an "or" in there that makes all the difference. What it actually says is:

"... or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens..."

So it actually applies to:

"... the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States"

OR to:

"... different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens..."

So it's deprivation of rights OR discrimination. And while IANAL, I have looked up cases and that is how the court has consistently interpreted it.

This ruin business with a quickness (4, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067787)

Even if the owners are not guilty of negligence, which it appears they are not (65K forms removed), this sort of arbitrary, no-warrant, no-subpoena, no due-process can absolutely ruin a business.

There is no way the Feds can make up for this; CIO's will say, "Well, I guess we shouldn't use them - we might not have access to our data."

Re:This ruin business with a quickness (5, Interesting)

Garth Smith (1720052) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067903)

You can even see this in the comments on the Jotforms blog. About a quarter of the comments are, "I paid you [Jotforms] for service. It is YOUR responsibility to keep your service up! It is not my responsibility as a customer to deal with the Feds." From a paying customer point of view, I can see where they are coming from. Though what they should really be thinking is, "The government think's I am customer using an illegal service."

Put your business in the cloud. (5, Interesting)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067865)

All the talk of what happens when your data is in the cloud and the business is sold or shutters itself, here is another example. Not only do you have to worry about your dates security and availability for those reasons, now the feds can shut down a service you may use for god knows what important aspects of your business, but you can bet your perfectly legal and confidential business records are now available to the feds sans-warrant. Yeah, cloud computing is the end-all be-all. Think again, get the buzz words out of your head, and your head out of the 'cloud'.

Re:Put your business in the cloud. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39068213)

When I first heard 'cloud' in the context of computing I assumed something along the lines of encrypted and distributed storage like a large Tahoe LAFS network. This could be a very good way of keeping your data up.

Imagine my shock when I learned that cloud meant passing control of critical elements of your web presence to some third party and paying for the privilege. Perhaps 'lobotomy' would be a better term than 'cloud'.

Re:Put your business in the cloud. (1)

grantspassalan (2531078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068563)

Indeed it appears that a single insignificant government bureaucrat can now apparently without a court order decide whether a business lives or dies. If there is no law that requires a court order before registrars like Go Daddy (who initially endorsed SOPA) can shut down a website on the demand of a government official, then I would recommend a mass exodus of registrations from them or any such registrar agrees to shut down any website merely on the demand of a government bureaucrat. Keeping your own data in a private secure place, may cost a little more, but if the government or anybody else wants it, they have to physically come and get it. That is definitely much harder. They can't just shut your business down with a phone call to some willingly compliant registrar who will pull the plug on your business just for the asking. Cloud computing may be cheaper and very convenient, but it means that a third-party can put a sudden end to your business without due process.

Re:Put your business in the cloud. (2)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068689)

Not only without due process, but because of a party unrelated to your business's actions. That would never have affected you had you not been in the cloud. And this even though the service provider in this case appeared to perform due-diligence to prevent illegal activity in the first place.

copyrights and patents - tools of totalitarianism (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39067987)

Copyrights, patents and all other government regulations and money counterfeiting and taxes and laws and wars that go beyond what the authorised by the people via the Constitution to the government are all tools of the totalitarianism.

Sure, YOU may believe that some of what government is pushing is good, so YOU may believe that there is a line that will not be crossed, and you will get something for nothing from the government. You think that government will stop its abuse of power once that abuse helps YOU and it will not be taken further.

Of-course you have to be a fool to believe that.

Just like in the previous SOPA story [slashdot.org] and every story - I have a perfect metaphor for this I think: government is a noose on the necks of the people.

There is another part needed to hang somebody - a noose and a chair to drop one off it.

Debt can act as that chair. [slashdot.org]

But so can regulations and laws and taxes and all of this stuff, including copyrights and patents. I am using economic hanging as a metaphor, of-course eventually there will be actual hanging (NDAA and drone strikes against anybody on the planet without a trial), again, governments do not stop abusing their power half-way. They do not stop only where it is convenient for YOU.

you should know this one better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39068391)

considering you openly worship a fascist who wants to become president of the united states, you should know more about totalitarianism. instead you write this message that shows a complete lack of understanding thereof.

Looks like a brand new DDOS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39067991)

1) Upload infringing content to site.
2) Alert copyright holders (or their "AAgents") to infringing content.
3) Wait until site gets shutdown.

Seems like you could wrap a business model around this as a gun-for-hire...

Re:Looks like a brand new DDOS (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068113)

this is actually not that bad an idea for someone with less scruples than me... Anonymous? you listening to this?

i can imagine some /b/tard hacking scientology and posting CP...

Re:Looks like a brand new DDOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39068307)

If someone posted the OT III information to Scientology's own message boards, would Scientology have to issue a takedown order on themselves?

Or would Xenu just give them pneumonia and make them roll over and die?

Reasonable Cause (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068003)

We're only getting one side of the story so it's impossible to tell if there was reasonable cause for what appears to be a search of the database. Per updates from JotForm the suspension has been lifted.

Re:Reasonable Cause (5, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068115)

Without warrant, due process or subpoena - on an anonymous accusation alone - their business was probably just ruined. Because a cloud company that loses it's reputation as a stable data location is DOA.

If one has reasonable cause, the next step is to get a court order. The above linked articles indicate that it is extremely unlikely that such was done.

Furthermore, the linked articles state that the business in question has, on their own initiative, taken down 65K bad forms.

There may have been something amiss with some of their customer's data, but there is no way in hell that this was the appropriate response. There is no way that taking down this site without due process prevented a nuclear or biological attack, or any other 24-esque scenario.

Re:Reasonable Cause (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068357)

As the other poster stated: there is no such thing as "reasonable cause".

There is "probable cause", but there doesn't appear to be real probable cause in this case.

Or rather: there may have been probably cause to take down some sites or investigate some users. But shut down the whole domain? Hell no. Unless the majority of users were committing crimes there COULD NOT BE "reasonable cause".

Re:Reasonable Cause (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068869)

Probable cause, reasonable suspicion, yes I didn't get the term right, but you got the point.

but there doesn't appear to be real probable cause in this case

Really? How do you know that? We don't know why the Feds asked to have the domain unavailable for two days.

Re:Reasonable Cause (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39069295)

Because malicious or even illegal use by some users is not probable cause for the seizure of the entire domain. That is the point everybody has been making here.

Re:Reasonable Cause (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068605)

What "search"? Unless I misunderstood the story, the Feds contacted the site's registrar (GoDaddy) and asked for it to be shut down. The website's database was obviously hosted someplace else as the JotForm registered jotform.net and pointed it to their host, putting their entire database back online.

Cloud computing could be a great thing, BUT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39068029)

...stuff like this needs to stop happening before I throw away my TB USB drives, server boxes and in-house apps and move all my stuff thereto, or rely on any services available thereon. The risk of losing access to my bread and butter because a few people I don't even know or deal with, violate copyright, or because any government decides a few people did so (right or wrong), is a risk I shouldn't have to bear. As it is, it's looking these days like there's probably a lesser risk of losing income and exposure from a fire or physical theft than from arbitrary denials of service like these.

Re:Cloud computing could be a great thing, BUT... (2)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068623)

Yeah - if they can shut down this site like this without anything resembling due process, what's to stop them from shutting down Azure or AWS because someone says that a customer has pirated music or the plans for a WMD somewhere in those clouds?

any free service will be abused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39068061)

65,000 fraudulent accounts and probably another 65,000 that they haven't identified yet. Obviously they had shitty anti-abuse controls in place or they never would have ended up with 65,000 fake accounts. If you are going to offer a free service to the Internet you have a responsibility to the rest of the community to not be a haven for abusive crap like spam/malware/phishing.

Re:any free service will be abused (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068547)

What evidence do you offer that there were another 65K malignant accounts/forms? Or is this just speculation to support a draconian action by an increasingly intrusive and rights-oblivious government?

Furthermore, one might well argue that any sort of free and/or anonymous services should be shut down by your logic. That includes email, blogs, websites, social media accounts - after all, any and all of those could be used for unethical ends.

Re:any free service will be abused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39068691)

Ok, on this one I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and just let you know that you forgot your sarcasm tags. If you meant that as a legitimate troll... I just have to say: "Well aren't you just a cute half baked nutter-ball sandwich?"

Re:any free service will be abused (1)

Garth Smith (1720052) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068703)

65,000 fraudulent accounts and probably another 65,000 that they haven't identified yet.

You are pulling numbers out of thin air. Jotform actively pulled fraudulent accounts. They didn't turn a blind eye to it.

Re:any free service will be abused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39069503)

If they had any kind of common sense after the first 5000 fraudulent accounts that might have started to get a clue and been proactive to avoid scammers using automated tools and/or cheap third-world help to create thousands of accounts.

Re:any free service will be abused (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068707)

You are assuming computers have psychic mind powers to determine the intent of people using the service. The company was running a Bayesian phishing filter, but even this wasn't perfect. What do you expect them to do?

Seriously?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39068259)

SOPA/PIPA is supposed to be used for copyright violations. What does this have to do with phishing?

Re:Seriously?!! (2)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068347)

SOPA/PIPA would have allowed takedowns without due process.

Which is exactly what happened here.

Re:Seriously?!! (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068463)

The issue is about the lack of due process. SOPA/PIPA just want to make due process totally defunct (without following the Constitutional amendment process).

Re:Seriously?!! (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068611)

As pissed as I am about the anti Government freakout by the libertards on the internet, THIS is what SOPA would do. Unilateral shutdown of sites someone doesn't like.

No surprise (3, Informative)

Blackbrain (94923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068293)

Go Daddy has a history of pulling registrations without notification to domain owners. Remember seclists.org and familyalbum.com? Those domains were redirected because of third party complaints. The complaints were not even made by law enforcement. The GoDaddy TOS expressly allows them to suspend service at their discretion and they do it at the first sign of trouble.

I'm not defending GoDaddy in the least, but people doing business with them should be aware of their history and policies.

Re:No surprise (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068423)

I'm not defending GoDaddy at all, either.

My one and only experience with them was an issue a client had with GoDaddy not putting the DNS records on correctly, even though they had been set correctly in the control panels. Now I have had this experience with other domain registrars, too. But in the case of GoDaddy, they just would not fix it because they appear to have the attitude that they don't want to communicate with their customers. I had a somewhat similar problem with Gandi a few months ago, and when I pointed it out, they actually fixed the web site code within 12 hours. No one is perfect. But they should at least respond to their imperfections and either fix them or work around them. GoDaddy didn't do this.

So my position is to just never, NEVER, use GoDaddy. Had I been a GoDaddy user, then at least I could have changed registrar when they showed their stupidity by endorsing SOPA.

I never heard of jotform.com before (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39068609)

So I can only hope that maybe this news gets them more noticed to compensate them for the losses incurred as a result of a domain registrar and/or US agency (allegedly the Secret Service) that fits somewhere between malicious or stupid (depending on which way Hanlon's Razor [wikipedia.org] swings). Unfortunately, the service they provide seems to be more oriented to small businesses rather than to the geeks that would be reading this at Slashdot and other techie sources.

And we needed SOPA why? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 2 years ago | (#39069075)

The content industry claimed that we needed SOPA/PIPA to take down these horrible sites or they'd lose millions upon billions upon trillions and zombies would rise from the grave (or some such... I tend to lose track of their doomsday scenarios if Technology X isn't stopped). We don't have SOPA and yet MegaUpload and JotForm.com were taken down just fine. This is, of course, putting aside whether or not MegaUpload or JotForm *SHOULD* have been taken down. Clearly, though, they have the capability to take sites down as they see fit so why do they need it codified in law?

Re:And we needed SOPA why? (3, Insightful)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 2 years ago | (#39069459)

Obviously, they need SOPA to force other registrars to do what GoDaddy happily does without question.

SOPA is amazing! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39069483)

I get to know all kinds of websites I've never heard before.

It's time for p2p cloud-based filesystems! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39069535)

I've been thinking about this problem of unilateral takedowns lately, and it seems to me that there now needs to be a concerted effort to converge on the use of a peer-hosted, redundant net-wide filesystem with some simple equivalents to core utils such as FTP, a web browser and perhaps email dropboxes lying on top of it.

Some quick googling around and I found this very interesting project, Tahoe-FS:
http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/08/p2p-like-tahoe-filesystem-offers-secure-storage-in-the-cloud.ars

(Demo page showing the concept here): http://bigasterisk.com/tahoe-playground/

Anyone can host their own nodes, it is erasure-tolerant (files are mirrored w/encryption to 10 nodes, only 3 need be available to reconstruct your files).

If we build a browser-like app that could traverse files in this system, no one could take down content so easily anymore. It needs to be so easy to use that -everyone- will use it, like Dropbox but without the single corporate point of failure.

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