US authorities are continuing their fight against any .com and .net domain names registered in their country regardless of whether the site is even set up from there. The latest case involves a British citizen, Richard O’Dwyer, who is facing extradition for operating the site TVShack.net. His site offered links to pirated material; in this case giving visitors the chance to watch hours of TV shows for free.
Reported in the Guardian, the US’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) assistant deputy director, Erik Barnett, said, “The only necessary “nexus to the US” is a .com or .net web address for which Verisign acts as the official registry operator.”
In other words, the only proof that the US authorities need in their hand to prove that you’re doing business in their country is a Verisign hosted domain name.
The gaming fraternity is no stranger to these types of seizures and earlier this year a number of .com and .net address were seized. Today’s news that basically any .net and .com domains registered at VeriSign can lead to extradition will be worrying. The worst part of all this is the extradition agreement that exists with the UK making it so easy for US authorities to successfully extradite those from Britain.
For those not in the know as far as extradition is concerned, the US is able to extradite anyone form the UK that they like without a significant review whereas the UK doesn’t have the same agreement the other way round.
In the meantime anyone currently using a Verisign should be thinking very hard about at least changing to a domain situation in the jurisdiction in which they operate. Otherwise every time you land in any country under US jurisdiction you may at the back of your mind have to watch out no one is waiting around with a pair of cuffs to take you away.