If a website violates U.S. Federal or a state law, the government has the ability to have that site taken down. It can do this with any .com, .org., .net, .you-name-it. Although this capability may not be anything new, EasyDNS — an Internet infrastructure company – says the “ramifications of this are no less than chilling.”
Federal Government Can Order Foreign Websites With Domain Names Run by U.S. Companies to Be Taken Down
That statement comes as, just last week, the Canadian-based gambling site Bodog.com was shutdown due to violations of U.S. gambling laws. So, as Wired’s Threat Level explains, many domain names are not safe — even those of foreign websites — if “the companies that have the contracts to administer them are based on United States soil.” Wired reports that many .com et al domain names are held in contracts with a U.S.-based company called Verisign. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman, Nicole Navas, told Wired that in cases where websites are selling counterfeit products or streaming music or movies illegally, the government would serve Verisign with a court order to remove the website. Seizures such as this have taken place about 750 times under Operation in Our Sites, which seeks to preserve intellectual property rights and protect consumers.
Here’s what Verisign had to say about this situation to Wired:
“VeriSign responds to lawful court orders subject to its technical capabilities,” the company said in a statement. “When law enforcement presents us with such lawful orders impacting domain names within our registries, we respond within our technical capabilities.”
Read more here.