Statement on Justice Department Domain Seizures
May 24, 2011 - The seizure today of 10 domain names by the US Department of Justice is a troubling development in the ongoing efforts to settle the question of Internet gambling. At a time when legislators at both the state and federal level are debating whether to permit online versions of poker, casino and sports betting, the DOJ has chosen to ignore debate and to instead set a troubling precedent when it comes to Internet law.
Without any criminal convictions or due process, the DOJ has confiscated property by merely ordering VeriSign, which controls the .com and .net top-level domains, to redirect traffic to landing pages that seem more intent on provoking fear than in pursuing any reasonable process of justice.
We have concerns beyond this immediate case. What will happen to Internet commerce and free expression if national governments take short cuts in law enforcement like this, or simply object to contrarian speech and dissent. To abuse power in this manner is a slippery slope that will be hard to reverse, especially given the aggressive tactics utilized by countries like China, Iran and those governments currently facing popular upheaval in the Middle East.
iMEGA does not support lawlessness. If laws were truly broken, than a court of law will deal with them: that is how our system works. The companies and individuals affected by today’s seizures will now have to defend themselves from the disadvantaged position of “guilty until proven innocent”, rather than the “innocent until proven guilty” standard that is their right, by law.