back to article VeriSign demands website takedown powers

VeriSign, which manages the database of all .com internet addresses, wants powers to shut down "non-legitimate" domain names when asked to by law enforcement. The company said today it wants to be able to enforce the "denial, cancellation or transfer of any registration" in any of a laundry list of scenarios where a domain is …


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  1. freeagentsmith

    Sometimes it's better to ask for permission than forgiveness

    The old adage goes that it's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission.

    This is one case where internet users and site owners would be sorely done by if Verisign was given permission to do this.

    The process would be something like this:

    Them: "Your site broke US laws so we took it down"

    You: "No, actually it's aimed at non US visitors and you can see it's based in XXX where what I'm doing is legal, the site is blocked to US users it's within my rights"

    <3 month argument>

    You:"So it's legal put it back up and compensate me"

    Them:"We might get on that... after you fill out these forms and wait three months"

    Don't say it won't happen

  2. MrHorizontal

    Absolutely not

    Verisign are officially the most untrustworthy entity on the Intertubes, and should lose all right to managing .com and .net domains, as well as all their root SSL CAs.

    In fact the .com and .net registry should be allocated to different registries wherever the .com and .net domain is registered. So for UK entities who have a .com domain, it'd be nominet that manages it, not verisign.

  3. Eddie Edwards
    Thumb Down

    Um, surely it should be "law enforcement" requesting this, not Verisign, unless they're run by a bunch of wannabe policemen who love nothing better than pissing people off to please the authorities.

    If they get this we might as well all move to China.

  4. Duncan Macdonald

    A court order should be required

    An emergency court order (if necessary) can be obtained in under 24 hours where a website is used fro criminal purposes (eg control of a botnet). For trade disputes (trademarks, grey imports, copyright infringements etc), the normal legal process should be followed (complaint, trial, judgement). Any party that wants to shut down a web address belonging to another on a faster process should be required to get a preliminary injunction from a Federal judge and post a bond to cover the damage to the website owner if the trial goes in favor of the website owner (or the legal process is abandoned). A Federal judge should be needed as a web address transcends state boundaries.

  5. banjomike

    no way...

    There are some really mindless organizations out there, run by bizarre religions, inteligent design retards, and similar planks.

  6. big_D Silver badge

    Go Team America! Yay!

    As an owner of a .com domain, which everybody outside America seems to believe means it is an "international" domain - Verisign should stick with their local TLD!

    Surely ICANN should be the one taking the action? And only with an International Court order.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "International Court order"

      I'm sorry but what, pray tell, is one of those?

      You do realise that there's no such thing as the "International Court", right? The closest thing would be the International Court of Justice, which is a wholly inappropriate forum for something as mundane as the take-down of a domain name (it mostly deals with disputes between states).

      Where an offence is committed, LEAs will rightly want to cease any ongoing criminal activity and it is justified for their courts to support them. It just amazes me that courts have not yet thought in sufficient detail about the offence the LEA is attempting to cease: in most cases it is the provision of a machine's (unlawful) service into their jurisdiction, for which the correct remedy would be to block such communication - not remove the ability to locate such machine through the DNS, which of course is not a solution at all.

      Should it really be necessary to prevent name resolution, such an order from a court ought apply only to DNS resolvers within their jurisdiction. Perhaps the "best" way to enforce this would be to create shadow roots and redirect to them any traffic destined for the actual roots but originating within one's jurisdiction. (NB: I fear the consequences an inconsistent DNS would have on the stability of the Internet almost as much as I fear the threat of more sinister state interference in DNS records.)

      I find it genuinely hard to imagine a situation where a domain name registration could itself constitute an offence, irrespective of the activity undertaken with such a registration, and it amazes me that courts have gone along with such a(n implied) suggestion. If they woke up to this argument, I think the whole debate over jurisdiction for take-down orders would disappear into irrelevance.

      1. big_D Silver badge


        Sorry, I was being ironic.

        The US seems to treat the Internet as a US invention over which they have full control.

        It is the pure arrogance to think they can just switch off websites belonging to companies and individuals in other countries, without going through proper channels in those countries which bugged me.

        If they want to take a Spanish site off line, they should apply for a court order in Spain, not in Hickville, USA.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        I also agree.

        The real action should be to stop it at their borders, if they can't be bothered to do the job properly and apply for a ban in the country of origin.

    2. Stupidscript


      ICANN regulates registrars, not domain owners.

      As a registrar, VeriSign has certain rights and obligations. But to claim dominion over ALL .com domains, and to further claim that they have the right to disable ANY .com domain, regardless of its registrar, is wrong. They have NO authority over domains that are not registered through them.

      If the police want to kill a domain, they need to go through that domain's registrar, just as the system demands. That domain's registrar, then, if warranted, takes down the domain ... not VeriSign.

      Thank God ICANN was established so that VeriSign no longer controlled the registries, as they once did. Yet another example of GOOD governance in action.

  7. Purlieu

    "or any dispute resolution process"


  8. Blofeld's Cat


    The Chief of Police of Banana Republic, having counted the suitcase full of used notes placed on his desk, asks VeriSign to take down the US based on entirely spurious grounds.

    VeriSign immediately do so, just as they would for the ICE.

    Yeah right.

  9. batfastad

    Down with that sort of thing. Be careful now!

    Guilty until proven innocent.

    Can I have powers to arbitrarily seize domain names without a court order that I find offensive (or just too profitable for my liking)?

    Or do you have to pay big money to half-wit bureaucrats to obtain that privilege?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let them have the power and see Verisign become a white elephant

    Watch all those concerned about these new powers move their sites to non Verisign controlled domains.

  11. John G Imrie

    Can I get pulled on grounds of gay bashing?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not if you can't spell 'god'

  12. Paul Smith

    It gets better,

    The Mothers Union of outer Mongolia/Bromley decides that they want all .com sites with the letters 't - i - t' anywhere in the name, ***le or on the home page to be taken down. There would be nothing left in the cons***ution to stop them.

  13. DaemonSeed

    Bugger Off Verisign

    Trust Verisign, are you crazy? This is just another reason to not buy American TLD's. I know I for one would certainly NOT.

    Get Bent Verisign.

  14. Daniel 4

    Speaking as an American...

    I sometimes don't understand why the civilized world doesn't establish a replacement for ICANN, and replace ALL their activities. Personally, I think it would be worth seeing the internet break for a year just to stop this abuse. While we're at it, perhaps the rest of the world can go IPv6 - otherwise, the new replacement for ICANN will just have to grab half or so of the IPs assigned to the U.S. for equitable distribution worldwide.

    Perhaps the country which should get the honor of hosting the new ICANN is the first well-wired, stable nation willing to pass legislation granting the new ICANN complete immunity from local courts, modeled somewhere between organizations like the U.N. and diplomatic immunity for Ambassadors?


    No icon, because I couldn't decide between J/K and the Flame - they both apply.

  15. ben.s

    Good on some accounts

    While no one want's people able to step in and remove domains without due process, a very limited set of powers to seizure virus/spam/malware domains is needed beyond doubt for .com and .net.

    As an example, .info already has a few honorable men behind the scenes that take care of this who regularly purge out hundreds of thousands of .info spam domains.

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