[At-Large] Role of ICANN in US/Verisign seizures of .com domains
Salanieta T. Tamanikaiwaimaro
salanieta.tamanikaiwaimaro at gmail.com
Thu Mar 8 09:20:59 UTC 2012
On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 10:39 AM, Carlton Samuels
<carlton.samuels at gmail.com>wrote:
> We are on record: extra-jurisdictional reach of US domestic law is
> extremely troubling for us in the Caribbean.
> Especially when time and again, the USG demonstrates it is not 'bound to
> respect' those from our side!
> With the ITU reviewing its Treaties and Resolutions in December this year,
it's not hard to forecast what will make it into the Agenda.
> With respect to online gambling and despite numerous WTO rulings against,
> the USG continues to punish our Antigua and Barbuda family member for
> daring to try and raise itself up with its own bootstraps.
> The hypocrisy is past rancid. But sure as night follows day, what goes
> around comes around; 'blow back' is a bitch.
> I also believe that with the Internet declared a 'national security
> interest' of the United States, I am sure the time will come when some yet
> sensate persons will put 'two and two' together for twenty-two, and begin
> the journey to understand this is inimical to their global interests.
> Message: never give up on America, despite the deep 'luddite' and nativist
> streak which tops the surface from time to time. Someone will eventually
> 'spell sense' right!
> - Carlton
> Carlton A Samuels
> Mobile: 876-818-1799
> *Strategy, Planning, Governance, Assessment & Turnaround*
> On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 4:52 AM, Pranesh Prakash <pranesh at cis-india.org
> > From the easyDNS blog: http://goo.gl/jt3oq
> > ## Verisign seizes .com domain registered via foreign Registrar on
> > behalf of US Authorities.
> > Written by Mark Jeftovic on February 29, 2012
> > Yesterday Forbes broke [the news that Canadian Calvin Ayre and partners
> > who operate the Bodog online gambling empire have been indicted in the
> > U.S.], and in a blog post [Calvin Ayre confirmed that their bodog.com
> > domain had been seized by homeland security]. As reported in Forbes
> > ([hat tip to The Domains] for the cite),
> > > According to the six-page indictment filed by Rosenstein, Ayre worked
> > with Philip, Ferguson and Maloney to supervise an illegal gambling
> > business from June 2005 to January 2012 in violation of Maryland law.
> > The indictment focuses on the movement of funds from accounts outside
> > the U.S., in Switzerland, England, Malta, and Canada, and the hiring of
> > media resellers and advertisers to promote Internet gambling.
> > >
> > > “Sports betting is illegal in Maryland, and federal law prohibits
> > bookmakers from flouting that law simply because they are located
> > outside the country,” Rosenstein said in a statement. “Many of the harms
> > that underlie gambling prohibitions are exacerbated when the enterprises
> > operate over the Internet without regulation.”
> > That is a truly scary quote but we'll emphasize that: "The indictment
> > focuses on the movement of funds **outside the U.S.**" and that you
> > can't just "flout US law" by *not being in the US*. What also needs to
> > be understood is that the domain bodog.com was registered to via a
> > non-US Registrar, namely [Vancouver's domainclip].
> > ## So Here's Where It Get's Scary…
> > We all know that with some US-based Registrars (\*cough\* Godaddy
> > \*cough\*), all it takes is a badge out of a box of crackerjacks and you
> > have the authority to [fax in a takedown request which has a good shot
> > at being honoured]. We also know that some non-US registrars, i[t
> > takes a lot more "due process-iness" to get a domain taken down.]
> > But now, none of that matters, because in this case the State of
> > Maryland simply issued [a federal warrant was issued in the State of
> > Maryland] to .com operator Verisign, (who is headquartered in
> > California) who then duly updated the rootzone for .com with two new NS
> > records for bodog.com which now redirect the domain to the takedown
> > This is exactly the scenario we were worried about [when Verisign
> > originally tabled their very troubling takedown proposal]. Said
> > proposal was quickly retracted, but here we have the same situation
> > playing out anyway. Granted, this was an actual court order, to Verisign
> > – not a "request" from a governmental or "quasi-governmental" agency as
> > originally proposed.
> > But at the end of the day what has happened is that US law (in fact,
> > Maryland state law) as been imposed on a .com domain operating outside
> > the USA, which is the subtext we were very worried about [when we
> > commented on SOPA]. Even though SOPA is currently in limbo, the
> > reality that US law can now be asserted over all domains registered
> > under .com, .net, org, .biz and maybe .info (Afilias is headquartered in
> > Ireland by operates out of the US).
> > This is no longer a doom-and-gloom theory by some guy in a tin foil hat.
> > It just happened.
> > The ramifications of this are no less than chilling and every single
> > organization branded or operating under .com, .net, .org, .biz etc needs
> > to ask themselves about their vulnerability to the whims of US federal
> > and state lawmakers (not exactly known their cluefulness nor
> > even-handedness, especially with regard to matters of the internet).
> > ## The larger picture: root monopolies and the need to replace ICANN
> > The .com root will never be opened to a truly competitive bidding
> > process. Verisign has pretty well ensconced themselves into the .com and
> > .net roots indefinitely with [built-in price hikes baked into the
> > cake]. I recall a conversation I once had with Tucows CEO Elliot Noss,
> > back when they still owned Liberty RMS (which ran the .info registry and
> > later sold to Afilias) – he lamented that if the .com registry bidding
> > process were *truly* competitive, you would see a registry operator in
> > there doing it for about $2 per domain. At the time the wholesale cost
> > of a .com domain was $6 and is now $7.85 after their latest *annual
> > increase* which is hard-coded into their contract.
> > I mention this because a truly competitive bidding process for the
> > registry operator job would bring out both cost competition and
> > stewardship competition: players who would table proposals on just how
> > they would respect the rights of all their stakeholders, not to mention
> > operators who may operate outside the United States.
> > **Where the fsck is ICANN in all of this?**
> > ****They are nowhere. They are collecting their fees, pushing their
> > agenda of as many possible new-top-level domains and despite the fact
> > that SOPA, ACTA, PIPA et aim directly at the interests of their core
> > stakeholders, for whom they are supposed to be advocates and stewards.
> > ICANN is conspicuous in their absence from the debate, save for a smug
> > and trite abdication of involvement (i.e. "[ICANN Doesn't Take Down
> > Websites]") – translation: "This isn't our problem".
> > And therein lies the issue. ***ICANN needs to make this their problem,
> > because it very much is.*** If ICANN isn't going to stand up, and
> > vigorously campaign for **global** stakeholder representation in these
> > matters, than they are not only abdicating any responsibility in the
> > ongoing and escalating crackdown on internet freedom, they are *also*
> > abdicating their right to govern and oversee it.
> > They need to be visible, they need to be loud and they need to come down
> > on the right side of these issues or they need to be replaced.
> > **Of course, the replacement of ICANN will never happen.** At least not
> > by a non-US entity, which means we are once again headed to the
> > unthinkable place that only crackpots and conspiracy theorists think
> > possible: a fractured internet with competing roots. On the bright side,
> > life will go on, and companies like mine will probably become
> > exceedingly wealthy charging every internet user in the world fees to
> > gain and project visibility across all the myriad internet roots that
> > will someday exist because governments will refuse to approach it
> > co-operatively. The only thing that will remain to be seen is whether
> > we'll be deemed "criminals" for doing so.
> > ## Further Reading:
> > - [First They Came For The Filesharing Domains]
> > - [Verisign Takedown Proposal Very Worrisome][when Verisign originally
> > tabled their very troubling takedown proposal]
> > - [How SOPA Will Destroy The Internet][when we commented on SOPA]
> > - [The Price of Freedom and The Cost of a Domain Name][fax in a
> > takedown request which has a good shot at being honoured]
> > - [The Official easyDNS Takedown Policy][t takes a lot more "due
> > process-iness" to get a domain taken down.]
> > - [Further Ramifications of US Government Domain Takedowns]
> > ## Footnote
> >  I originally was under the impression that the State of Maryland
> > issued the warrant, it has been pointed out to me that this is not the
> > case, the warrant is a federal warrant issued in the State of Maryland.
> > ## Links
> > [the news that Canadian Calvin Ayre and partners who operate the Bodog
> > online gambling empire have been indicted in the U.S.]:
> > [Calvin Ayre confirmed that their bodog.com domain had been seized by
> > homeland security]:
> > [hat tip to The Domains]:
> > [Vancouver's domainclip]: http://www.domainclip.com
> > [fax in a takedown request which has a good shot at being honoured]:
> > "The price of freedom and the cost of a domain name"
> > [t takes a lot more "due process-iness" to get a domain taken down.]:
> > "The Official easyDNS Domain Takedown Policy"
> > [a federal warrant was issued in the State of Maryland]:
> > [when Verisign originally tabled their very troubling takedown
> > proposal]:
> > "Verisign domain takedown proposal very worrisome."
> > [when we commented on SOPA]:
> > http://blog.easydns.org/2011/12/22/how-sopa-will-destroy-the-internet/
> > "How SOPA Will Destroy The Internet"
> > [built-in price hikes baked into the cake]:
> > "Verisign raises fees on .COM and .NET, easyDNS…doesn't"
> > [ICANN Doesn't Take Down Websites]:
> > http://blog.icann.org/2010/12/icann-doesn’t-take-down-websites/
> > [First They Came For The Filesharing Domains]:
> > "First they came for the file-sharing domains…"
> > [Further Ramifications of US Government Domain Takedowns]:
> > --
> > Pranesh Prakash · Programme Manager · Centre for Internet and Society
> > PGP: 0x1D5C5F07 · @pranesh_prakash · http://cis-india.org
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Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro aka Sala
Cell: +679 998 2851
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