Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet United Kingdom News

UK Police To Get Major New Powers To Seize Domains 161

Posted by samzenpus
from the mine-now-I-take-it dept.
Stoobalou writes "British Police forces could soon have the power to seize any domain associated with criminal activity, under new proposals published today by UK domain registrar Nominet. At present, Nominet has no clear legal obligation to ensure that .uk domains are not used for criminal activities. That situation may soon change, if proposals from the Serious and Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) are accepted."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

UK Police To Get Major New Powers To Seize Domains

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Does that include Google?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    US already seizes any .com .net .org domain too.

    Thinking of it, maybe we should give this right to every country, including Iraq, China and North Korea.

    • by tomhudson (43916)
      Really? They've seized goldmansachs.com, aig.com, and countrywidefinancial.com?

      No, they only seize certain domains that make them look good to seize, in a "think of the children" sense (where the voters are child-like sheeple). It's political.

  • Game over (Score:2, Funny)

    by jethr0211 (996156)
    Well I guess that's it for the bad guys. Now they'll have no way to register their evil domains.
    • Evil domains?

      I soooo want doctor.evil and dontbe.evil.

      And maybe hearno.evil, seeno.evil and speakno.evil too.

      I'll make a fortune...

  • Laughable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by c0lo (1497653) on Friday November 26, 2010 @03:41AM (#34348104)
    TFA:

    Two weeks ago, Fitwatch, a site dedicated to campaigning against what it sees as heavy-handed practices by police surveillance units, was taken down by its UK-based web hosting company,

    With its domain name suspended, the only way for visitors to find a rogue site would be to type in its lengthy (and decidedly less memorable) numeric IP address.

    This shows how well prepared is the british police to deal with matters regarding the internet: I reckon they never heard of the hosts file or, for an URL only, favorites.

    Such simple minds... life for them must be a permanent bliss.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SuricouRaven (1897204)
      I'd have thought it more than effective to just take down the domain, thus rendering every hit for the site on google unavailable. Almost all people searching would give up at that point.
      • by c0lo (1497653)
        If their sympathizers are determined, I don't think this is going to do.
        Here: just include in the content of a page of the site an improbable search phrase and send the page to Google for indexing. All it takes is a few links from outside (say, ten sympathizers linking from 40 sites/forums/slashdot) and, together with the improbable search phrase your site will be the top of Google search.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      This shows how well prepared is the british police to deal with matters regarding the internet: I reckon they never heard of the hosts file or, for an URL only, favorites. Such simple minds... life for them must be a permanent bliss.

      They're simple minds eh? Do you know what irony [websitegear.com] is [webopedia.com]?

      Many, many rogues sites don't have a fixed IP.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        They're simple minds eh? Do you know what irony [websitegear.com] is [webopedia.com]?

        Let's see... How the solutions you listed work in the conditions of TDL DNS refusing to identify the domain as registered?
        Ah, I see, not only that you need to host your site elsewhere, but you need to raise a rogue DNS (outside the official hierarchy) and ask everyone interested in your site to trust it?

        Many, many rogues sites don't have a fixed IP.

        (methinks: the specific difference between these guys and rogue sites: their listeners. The bot herder sites can afford to use rogue DNS-es, after all the ones to trust the rogue DNS are the pieces of malwar

        • by delinear (991444)
          You are correct - Google is already sort of doing this anyway, because a large number of people type not only the name but even the URL, of the site they want to visit directly into Google, rather than using the address bar (even though it means an extra step unless you use the search bar). If people linked to the site with the URL, i.e. www.google.com then it would probably top the search results for people trying to access it that way. So long as you set up the page titles correctly so the site's "name" i
    • Also, OpenNIC.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      TFA - So your definition of a sophisticated mind does not encompass one that can deal with murdered children, mob control, terrorism or any other of the myriad issues a modern police officer has to deal with.. in your world if you are not IT savvy you are a "simpleton"? What an infantile, one dimensional little mind that you have. Grow up, fool.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dunkelfalke (91624)

        The coppers dealing with murdered children are not the same ones who are doing the mob control, and those of them who deal with internet are again different people with different specialisations.
        So those who are actually responsible for the thing this discussion is about, should be IT savvy. If they are not, then they are simpletons indeed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by delinear (991444)
        Generally different departments deal with the things you listed, so it's not like one person is expected to have knowledge of the whole gamut. Additionally, when the people murdering children, forming mobs or planning terrorist atrocities are using technology to help with the logistics or to keep ahead of the authorities, it is absolutely the duty of said authorities to make themselves aware of how such technology works, or at least have a department of geeks responsible for doing so and filter all of your
    • Or alternate root DNS servers?

      You know, that used to sound like a really stupid idea. Now I am not so sure.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by c0lo (1497653)

        Or alternate root DNS servers?

        You know, that used to sound like a really stupid idea. Now I am not so sure.

        Others [opennicproject.org] are sure of the contrary.

    • Re:Laughable (Score:4, Informative)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Friday November 26, 2010 @05:16AM (#34348430) Homepage

      I reckon they never heard of the hosts file or, for an URL only, favorites.

      Nor have most ordinary users either. Suspending a domain name is a pretty effective way of barring access to a site. Links from other sites and search engines will also fail to work until they update. Google does not seem to be very fond of sites hosting on IP addresses with no associated domain name so it will undoubtable affect the site's ranking too.

      Hopefully this will end up in court and the police will be forced to stop pulling this kind of bullshit. I'm not holding my breath though.

    • by PhilHibbs (4537)

      If you can take a step that only solves 95% of a problem, that doesn't mean the step is not worth taking. Of course this can be used for good or bad - I don't think that a site such as Fitwatch [fitwatch.org.uk] should be taken down, although advising people to get rid of the clothing they were wearing to avoid being identified by law enforcement is pretty close to the edge, but there are plenty of scam and spam sites that I would not shed a tear over.

    • by mapkinase (958129)

      Remember, they started with "Islamic extremist" websites. Like pastor said.

  • Disappointing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by antifoidulus (807088) on Friday November 26, 2010 @03:54AM (#34348142) Homepage Journal
    They haven't seized paypal yet? If the people running that site aren't criminals then I don't know who is.
  • by Centurix (249778) <centurix@noSpam.gmail.com> on Friday November 26, 2010 @03:55AM (#34348146) Homepage

    I can only assume there's a Mildly Worrying Organised Crime Agency?

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      I can only assume there's a Mildly Worrying Organised Crime Agency?

      Just MiniLuv. The Minitrue is on the way.

    • How dare you make fun of the Humorous and Organized Crimes Agency?
    • by radio4fan (304271)

      The Silly and Disorganised Crime Agency were hoping to make a proposal involving rotating bow-ties and fart cushions, but the meeting never really got past the custard-pie-throwing stage.

  • by Andy Smith (55346) on Friday November 26, 2010 @03:59AM (#34348154) Homepage

    They've already done it without legal backing. The US-hosted, UK-centric police monitoring site FitWatch was closed by the British police, by simply asking the US host to remove it. The police officially objected to a single article, so requested that the whole site be closed for 12 months. The host complied.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/16/student-anti-police-website-closed [guardian.co.uk]

    • by abigsmurf (919188) on Friday November 26, 2010 @05:18AM (#34348436)
      There's nothing wrong with the police asking. It's the host's fault for caving in without a court order.

      It's just like there's nothing wrong with police asking if they can look inside your house without a warrant. you just say no and they have to go get a warrant if they have good reason to need to search your house (unless of course there's evidence of a crime in progress)
      • Yes there is. If someone in a police uniform ask you something, you are more inclined to do it. After all, it is an official law enforcer. I'd say this is abuse of power.
        • by abigsmurf (919188)
          I am more inclined to help a police officer. But that's my choice. Plenty of people also chose not to help the police. Either way, you don't have to do what the police ask unless they've been granted the power by the courts.

          If you don't know your rights that's your problem. If you're running and ISP and you don't have a basic idea about what your legal rights are, frankly you shouldn't be running an ISP.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        There's nothing wrong with the police asking. It's the host's fault for caving in without a court order.

        Sorry, but are you really that stupid? Of course there's also something wrong with the police asking! Yes, the hoster is to blame for caving in, but the police - the ones who actually made a demand that's decidedly unethical and quite possibly illegal, one that tramples the principles of free speech, freedom of opinion, and democracy and liberty - are blameless? They did nothing wrong?

        Words fail me.

        • by abigsmurf (919188)
          Gotcha, you think police should never be able to ask anyone anything without a warrant or court order. I hope you realise how utterly unhelpful and useless that would make police officers.

          "oh sorry, we couldn't catch the guy we saw steal your wallet because he ran around a corner and we couldn't ask anyone which way he went without a court order"

          "Sorry, you got beaten up by your neighbour, we knew he was incredibly annoyed by your loud music but we couldn't ask if you would keep the noise level down u
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bedwards (1937210)

      Key phrase in the guardian article:

      The Fitwatch blogpost, which last night had reappeared on several other websites

      They had this problem a while back with the company Trafigura who tried to remove information regarding their activities that was in the public domain. It was available in hundreds of places within the hour.

      Usually people do not replicate information, instead pointing to the origional source. Only when the origional information is threatened with censorship is it replacted to the point of it not being able to be removed.

      Of course - being able to shut down domains suc

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 6031769 (829845)

      That's not quite correct. It was the UK host which complied with the police request. The site is now hosted in the USA [thinq.co.uk] for precisely the reason that the British police can't touch it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by chrb (1083577)

      It's hard to have sympathy for a site ("fitwatch") that promotes violent protest. The Guardian's perspective on violent protest is a bit hypocritical too:

      • The Guardian is strongly critical of violent protest when done by the English Defence League [guardian.co.uk]. (And they should be, the EDL is basically just a modern remake of the National Front, and is attracting the same mix of football hooligans, fascist skinheads, and other assorted nutters).
      • The Guardian does not appear to criticise the violent protests by students (
  • Police State (Score:3, Insightful)

    by im just cannonfodder (1089055) on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:12AM (#34348200) Homepage
    The imperial march further into the police state continues, soon you'll lose your right to trial by jury, be logged on some huge data base, sections of the population will be segregated, forced to move from the desirable areas into slums then the trains to the gas/torture chambers will start.......
    • Re:Police State (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 26, 2010 @05:20AM (#34348444)

      soon you'll lose your right to trial by jury, be logged on some huge data base, sections of the population will be segregated, forced to move from the desirable areas into slums then the trains to the gas/torture chambers will start.......

      Are you being ironic? Because as it happens, every one of these is the case in the UK except the gas chambers.

      Right to trial by jury - 28 day detention/recent use of this power [bbc.co.uk]/"Kettling" of students as young as 15 on demonstrations for 12+ hours at a time - did you know this particular policing technique originated in Nazi Poland to force Jews to the gas chamber? :/

      Logged on some huge database - Police DNA database (they take a sample if merely questioning you and will lie about removing the data - EU has to get involved and force them), TV licensing, DVLA, Council Tax, Electoral register, etc, etc - in most of these cases the operating body also sells an edited version of the database to private companies for targeted mailing or other purposes.

      Sections of the population segregated - Largely propaganda driven in the media against certain groups/ethnicities; in particular the Muslim population has been targeted for example [bbc.co.uk] by CCTV

      Forced to move into slums - The new government is stripping out housing benefit and cutting down the length of time you can 'own' social housing to two years minimum (previously they were owned for life) and if your earning power increases above an arbitrary threshold they'll toss you out; the Conservative mayor of London even finds this unpalatable [independent.co.uk]) and predicts that it will lead to the cities becoming the preserve of the rich and white.

      So yeah, no gas chambers just yet, but I'm sure some bright spark will suggest it as a way to cut down on the money spent in fuel subsidies for pensioners or whatever soon enough.

      Posting AC because I really don't have any faith in this country any more.

      • by Ash-Fox (726320)

        did you know this particular policing technique originated in Nazi Poland to force Jews to the gas chamber? :/

        Yes, but not to protect the citizens due to extreme risk involved as mentioned on the article you sourced.

        EU has to get involved and force them

        Honestly, if the EU can't even account for 90% of their budget [youtube.com], creates laws that destroyed habeas corpus, removed judgement by their peers [youtube.com] in various circcumstances... What makes you think that they're not corrupt enough to stop this when it's within their i

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Posting AC because I really don't have any faith in this country any more.

        Hi Dave, how's it going mate?

      • by delinear (991444)
        Scarily, as you point out, all the other things are already happening and the last point was trains to gas chambers, and just yesterday the government announced massive expenditure (in the middle of a global recession) on upgrading the train services [bbc.co.uk].
  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:14AM (#34348210) Homepage
    If a domain is really being used for illegal activity then I can support this. However: if it is just an irritant to the police/government/... then leave it well alone. Nomient is asking

    whether safeguards are necessary (an appeals process, for example)

    -- boggle! Of course there must be an appeals process.

    The UK is becoming worse, there is a proposal by the home secretary to throw someone out of his house even if there was not enough evidence to charge [bbc.co.uk]; this is going to be abused by wifes who want a divorce -- get the bloke out on made up complaints of violence; by the time that he would be allowed back in she will have started the legal process and grabbed the property and stopped him seeing the kids.

    • by delinear (991444)
      It's even worse than that where the absue is happening - the police can arbitrarily decide to ban the accused from the house, even if the alleged victim doesn't want to press charges. Do they think that throwing out an abusive husband is going to result in anything other than a severe increase in the number of abused wives who are beaten to death? How do they think these already abusive men are going to react in that situation! They already have severe issues and now they're going to see the person they tak
      • by u38cg (607297)
        Completely ignoring the widespread evidence from a number of other countries that do exactly this - you does it. Well done.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Alain Williams (2972)
        You miss my point -- all too often the abuse is claimed just to get the bloke out of the house. Very often is has not happened. If there is an allegation the police will remove the man, in 40% of cases it is the woman who is violent -- they still remove the man.

        If there is real violence then it must be dealed with, what happens today is all too often one sided.

  • Do you need to own a fluffy cat and a monocle to join?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Shag (3737)

      Those things are optional, as long as you're serious. And organized.

    • by Eudial (590661)

      I've always thought the American "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives" felt crude. Thanks Britain for bringing some class.

  • Dear police, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rew (6140) <r.e.wolff@BitWizard.nl> on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:17AM (#34348222) Homepage

    Dear Police,

    Please be informed that not just one but multiple criminals use the domains Hotmail.co.uk and yahoo.co.uk. Please disable these immediately to prevent further crimes from occurring. (and they annoy the hell out of me).

  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:32AM (#34348288) Homepage

    What do you want to bet that serious and well-planned out crimes won't include:

    Goldman Sachs UK (where to start)
    Paypal UK [paypal.co.uk] (seizure of users' money without refund)
    Microsoft UK [microsoft.co.uk] (organized monopoly abuse)
    Intel UK [intel.co.uk] (organized monopoly abuse)
    and anyone else who's a paymaster?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jimicus (737525)

      It's not quite as simple as that. When they're talking about Serious and Organised Crime, they don't mean "serious criminal allegations about an organisation". They mean organised criminal gangs (which are probably about Number 3 on the Official UK List of Things to be Scare the Population With, directly under terrorists and paedophiles).

      And while there's quite a few companies I would dearly love to see investigated under that kind of statute, the world tends to be rather more pragmatic than that and if a

    • by Ash-Fox (726320)

      What do you want to bet that serious and well-planned out crimes won't include:

      Goldman Sachs UK (where to start)
      Paypal UK (seizure of users' money without refund)
      Microsoft UK (organized monopoly abuse)
      Intel UK (organized monopoly abuse)
      and anyone else who's a paymaster?

      I am in the UK and I don't use any of those UK sites. For paypal, when I try to use paypal.co.uk, I end up getting redirected to paypal.com when I login. When I click the microsoft link, I get redirected to microsoft.com, intel.co.uk just red

    • by tehcyder (746570)
      You could add any US or UK government website to that list, after all they're guilty of war crimes, which is a bit more serious than just demanding money with menaces.
  • by ZDRuX (1010435) on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:43AM (#34348336)

    "British Police forces could soon have the power to seize any domain associated with activity that they assume may or may not be criminal, under new proposals published today by UK domain registrar Nominet.

    There, fixed for clarity and better understanding.

  • ...are you going to not Be Evil and continue to index b& sites which offer only an IP address? So, for example, I can type "fitwatch" in the URL bar and Google will automagically redirect me to the site I actually wanted.

    If not, I look forward to increased adoption of appropriate browser extensions.

    Also, Nominet suck more than Verizon. At least the latter is unashamedly about profit and obeisance; Blighty's has the cheek to pretend that acts in your best interests. And notice that the "incorrect registr

    • If not, I look forward to increased adoption of appropriate browser extensions.

      Nah, it's time to replace the internet by a darknet altogether.

    • by jack2000 (1178961)
      hosts file derp
      also get your domain with a registrar which isn't run by total morons.
  • I guess there's no point in wikileaks keeping a .uk mirror site then
  • white masked, black cape wearing man seen in back alleys of london pubs ...
  • Pretty soon, we are all going to be considered guilty until proven innocent...as predicted by most works of sci-fi....

  • Just the UK? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Is it just the UK that is fracked up w.r.t. surveillance issues and excessive police rights, or am I just not noticing it in my own country (Italy)? And what about other countries (excluding usual suspects such as China)?

    I once confronted a friend of mine from the UK with her countries' big brother issues, and she didn't show any real concerns about these issues and said that everything was fine. Perhaps she isn't noticing, because she does live in the UK?
  • Singing... (Score:2, Informative)

    by soporific16 (1166495)
    The po-lice state is coming
    Do dah do dah
    The po-lice state is coming
    Oh do dah day.

    Oh do dah day
    It's on its merry way
    The po-lice state is coming
    Oh do dah day.
  • Like most people, I do not support criminals, but today it's blocking "criminal" websites, tomorrow it's opponents of the government.

    We have various openDNS for IP numbers, but we don't seem to have an open Domain NAME system.

/earth: file system full.

Working...