Report: U.S. government can seize any .com domain

If you own and operate a web site outside the United States with a domain name ending in .com, net, .cc, .tv or .name and think you are safe from any issues with the U.S. government, think again. Wired reports that U.S. law enforcement officials believe they have the rights to go after any web site with those domain names because the company that manages them, VeriSign, is based in the United States.

Even if you use a domain name registration service that's outside the U.S. your web site could still be seized. That was proven last week when American law enforcement officials seized the popular sports gambling web site Bodog.com. That web site used DomainClip, which was based in Canada. However, DomainClip is actually a subsidiary of VeriSign and that loophole apparently allowed United States authorities to shut down Bodog.com.

VeriSign offered a brief statement about this report, saying:

VeriSign responds to lawful court orders subject to its technical capabilities. When law enforcement presents us with such lawful orders impacting domain names within our registries, we respond within our technical capabilities.

If you operate a web site with the .org domain name, it's also possible that the site could be seized by the U.S. government. The .org domain is managed by another U.S.-based company, the Public Interest Registry.

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So America owns the internet?

VeriSign should not be an American company. If I could use a British version, I would but I have no choice. No wonder the world's opinion of America is going down

Maybe we should charge America a sur-charge for speaking and using ENGLISH?

Until we have a real-world example of how 'unjust' this power is I will reserve judgement.

I'm sure they aren't going to pull the plug on just any website 'because they can'

HardyRexion said,
Until we have a real-world example of how 'unjust' this power is I will reserve judgement.

I'm sure they aren't going to pull the plug on just any website 'because they can'

You'd think that yes but unfortunately we're talking about the US govt here not exactly known for sane thinking or best practice where the little person is concerned

no longer is the US known as The land of the Free but rather The Land of the Freely Oppressed

how's the saying go now? I know once upon a time it was "I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free." I bet people aren't proudly cheering that crap now.

It's more like "I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know all my rights are being stripped away slowly and I'm no longer free.".

I wish I had the income to get out of this place....born and raised in the US and now I no longer want to even be here unless this **** gets turned around real quick. I'd rather bail if I had the cash.

Did this actually surprise anybody? When you do business with any company in another country, you are subjected to the laws of that country. Business 101.

ILikeTobacco said,
Did this actually surprise anybody? When you do business with any company in another country, you are subjected to the laws of that country. Business 101.

The point is international businesses who may have thought they registered their domain through a non-US registrar in fact are still buying from a US registrar and thus under US authority (according to the US).

Xenosion said,

The point is international businesses who may have thought they registered their domain through a non-US registrar in fact are still buying from a US registrar and thus under US authority (according to the US).

I am not arguing that. The question is, who is to blame? Was DomainClip leading them on to believe they have no US ties or did the companies make the mistake of doing business without someone without properly looking at how they do business. If they truly thought they were doing business with a non-US registrar, sounds to me like DomainClip was being a bit shady.

ILikeTobacco said,

I am not arguing that. The question is, who is to blame? Was DomainClip leading them on to believe they have no US ties or did the companies make the mistake of doing business without someone without properly looking at how they do business. If they truly thought they were doing business with a non-US registrar, sounds to me like DomainClip was being a bit shady.


It is insane the amount of subsidiaries exist for the huge registrars. Most I have ever dealt with are just subsidiaries for GoDaddy. Mistakenly purchasing your domain from a US owned registrar isn't the real problem though. The crux of the issue is that the US assumes this authority to all .com, etc. domains.

Xenosion said,

It is insane the amount of subsidiaries exist for the huge registrars. Most I have ever dealt with are just subsidiaries for GoDaddy. Mistakenly purchasing your domain from a US owned registrar isn't the real problem though. The crux of the issue is that the US assumes this authority to all .com, etc. domains.

Which I understand and also don't really like the thought of the World Wide Web being controlled by a single country but I am having a hard time coming up with a reason that .com doesn't belong to the US. I realize most people won't it is fair, but .com, .edu, and a few others came from the US. If other countries were to come up with more domain extensions, I would fully expect them to belong to them, the same way .us, .de, .uk, etc belong to their respective countries. If .com doesn't belong to the country that created it, then no country should have any authority over any domains. I am wondering if there even is any realistic alternative to this.

Xenosion said,

The point is international businesses who may have thought they registered their domain through a non-US registrar in fact are still buying from a US registrar and thus under US authority (according to the US).

If they thought that then they are uninformed. All top level domains are controlled by entities within the country they are intended to be used. .COM is a US top level domain and always has been. The fact that everyone in the world seems to think .COM is super color doesn't change its reality.

I am not a fan of the way it works, but it does work that way and to pretend otherwise is just silly.

This isn't exactly news as is mentioned in the article. It's been done and so obviously the US government feels it has the authority.

What is incredibly scary about this assumed authority is the lack of warrant or due process in most cases. What kind of world are we doing business in where your site, and for all intents and purposes your entire business for some, goes offline and is confiscated without your knowing. It's extremely disturbing and wrong.

Hey you foreigners: This is what we mean when we say this isn't just bad for us, it's just the beginning for everyone.

Xenosion said,
This isn't exactly news as is mentioned in the article. It's been done and so obviously the US government feels it has the authority.

What is incredibly scary about this assumed authority is the lack of warrant or due process in most cases. What kind of world are we doing business in where your site, and for all intents and purposes your entire business for some, goes offline and is confiscated without your knowing. It's extremely disturbing and wrong.

Hey you foreigners: This is what we mean when we say this isn't just bad for us, it's just the beginning for everyone.

Why do people read something like this and just assume it was without a warrant or due process? The article never says that, in fact the quote from VeriSign implies there was a court order.

sphbecker said,

Why do people read something like this and just assume it was without a warrant or due process? The article never says that, in fact the quote from VeriSign implies there was a court order.

He didn't say it was without a warrant or due process. Learn to read.

SPARTdAN said,
Some day, these scum will die, then more scum will take over - Perhaps one day there'll be no scum...

The only way that would happen is if a large alien force enacted a bit of population reduction, we fight back and win. Only then will humans appreciate this delicate world we take for granted.

manwiththedroid said,

The only way that would happen is if a large alien force enacted a bit of population reduction, we fight back and win. Only then will humans appreciate this delicate world we take for granted.


Your scenario doesn't automatically make humanity of the future any better than now. Unless human life spans are hugely increased, we will always forget recent history only to repeat it.