The U.S. Government Is Taking Down Websites Cluelessly
By on November 26th, 2010

The US Government and the ICE department of Homeland Security Investigations has started taking down websites without issuing any warning according to COICA. If you are not clear about COICA, the EFF describes it as,

The “Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act” (COICA) is an Internet censorship bill which is rapidly making its way through the Senate. Although it is ostensibly focused on copyright infringement, an enormous amount of noninfringing content, including political and other speech, could disappear off the Web if it passes.

The main mechanism of the bill is to interfere with the Internet’s domain name system (DNS), which translates names like “www.eff.org” or “www.nytimes.com” into the IP addresses that computers use to communicate. The bill creates a blacklist of censored domains; the Attorney General can ask a court to place any website on the blacklist if infringement is “central” to the purpose of the site.

This can indeed create considerable troubles because there is no need to inform the website owner beforehand. The department of Homeland Security has the right to take down a website by will. The process involves changing DNS entries for the website and the matter has come into light following the takedown of Torrent-Finder.com.

The website in question, Torrent-Finder has no trackers or hosts any torrents. Not only that, but it has no outgoing links to any torrent. It is nothing more than a search engine like Google or Bing.

A large number of other domains have also been seized and the quick response and outcome of the process is guaranteed because it does not require and ruling of the court. All it needs is an attorney general’s decision. TorrnetFreak here has a list of websites that were blocked.

Author: Chinmoy Kanjilal Google Profile for Chinmoy Kanjilal
Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. He rants occasionally at Techarraz.com. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.

Chinmoy Kanjilal has written and can be contacted at chinmoy@techie-buzz.com.

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