The US federal government recently "took action" against several websites connected with movie streaming and peer-to-peer file sharing.
What "taking action" means is that the federal government has ordered a free blogging platform taken down by its hosting provider on the grounds the website has a "history of abuse."
In order to shut down the handful of 'offending' sites, the government also had to shut down seventy-three thousand different blogs hosted there.
The scariest part of it all is the cloak of secrecy that shrouds the entire affair. The government won't explain the reasons behind it and Burstnet has evidently been sworn to secrecy. Burstnet explained in an emmail:
"Bn.xx*********** was terminated by request of law enforcement officials, due to material hosted on the server. We are limited as to the details we can provide to you, but note that this was a critical matter and the only available option to us was to immediately deactivate the server
"In addition to the domain seizures, agents from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seized assets from 15 bank, PayPal, investment and other advertising accounts. Four residential search warrants were also executed."
I wonder how many blogs Burstnet was hosting that were were pro-Obama?
Insofar as anyone can tell, the website seizures were accomplished without due process. What the feds ordered ICANN to do is called "domain hijacking" and it would be a criminal offense if committed by any other entity besides the US federal government.
While the domains, content data and financial accounts were all seized, there were no arrests and no criminal charges filed. In essence, the federal government involved itself in a civil matter that ordinarily would be under the jurisdiction of the courts.