US crackdown on global domain names and IP addresses continues

By EDRi · November 30, 2011

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Deutsch: [US-Razzien gegen Domains und IP-Adressen gehen weiter |]

US authorities have resumed their “Operation in Our Sites” in order to
attempt to fight counterfeit and piracy-related websites. During this
second annual “Cyber Monday” crackdown, the Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) has shut down 150 websites from all over the world.

The recent introduction of draft bills, such as the Stop Online Piracy Act
(SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) now aims at providing a legal basis for
domain names and IP address seizures. SOPA’s broad definitions could indeed
mean that no online resource in the global Internet would be outside US

In response to these legislative proposals and repeated unilateral
measures against European websites, the European Parliament adopted a
resolution on 17 November 2011 in preparation of the EU/US summit stressing
“the need to protect the integrity of the global internet and freedom of
communication by refraining from unilateral measures to revoke IP
addresses or domain names.” The joint EU/US summit declaration published on
28 November 2011 indeed says: “We share a commitment to a single, global
Internet, and will resist unilateral efforts to weaken the security,
reliability, or independence of its operations”.

However, despite the big show of opposition to the US bills and the
Parliament’s actions, Internet filtering and blocking schemes like SOPA
and PIPA are still on the agenda on the other side of the Atlantic
claiming worldwide jurisdiction for domain names and IP addresses. According
to recent reports, attempts to terminate the Internet’s end-to-end
architecture also seem to get even closer to the core of the Internet. This
sort of access restriction is an experiment with key functions of the
Internet, increasing the risk of fragmentation of the global Internet and as
one co-chair of RIPE’s DNS Working group stated, this gives restrictive
tools “to the bad guys”.

Another attempt to govern the Internet is for instance the latest
international law enforcement action by the FBI against a large botnet.
During this action, the FBI, without a court order or without a legal
basis, took over the address blocks used by the botnet’s nameservers and
then assigned those address blocks to Internet Systems Consortium’s
(ISC) nameservers. The European Regional Internet Registry RIPE-NCC was
rather concerned about the implications of getting involved in policy
and governance issues and has now sued the public prosecutor’s office to
get a judicial decision on the question whether they had sufficient
legal ground to order the temporary “lock” of the registrations. The
implications of RIPE having to respond to such orders, particularly due
to the very wide geographic coverage of its activities, would be very
severe indeed.

List of blocked web sites by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

EU-US Summit Resolution by the European Parliament (15.11.2011)

EU-US Summit Joint Declaraion (28.11.2011)

Civil society, human rights groups urge Congress to reject the Stop
Online Piracy Act (15.11.2011)

IP Watch: Filtering and Blocking Closer To The Core Of The Internet?

RIPE NCC Intends to Seek Clarification from Dutch Court on Police Order to
Temporarily Lock Registration (16.11.2011)

(Contribution by Kirsten Fiedler – EDRi)