Sunday, December 5, 2010

Another Phase Of Our Totalitarian State Begins

This time the victim is freedom of speech on the internet:

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Here Come Homeland Security Internet Police, and They're Already Shutting Down Web Sites They Don't Like

Murky new Internet regulation laws could stomp out freedom of speech...and the Department of Homeland Security has already begun.

December 3, 2010  |  Last week, the Department of Homeland Security seized 82 domain names for allegedly hawking counterfeit goods ranging from knockoff Coach handbags to bootleg DVDs. Enacted under the auspices of its Immigrations and Customs Enforcement arm, the sites were wiped out and replaced with an ominous message from the DHS that laid out the stakes, including the warning, “Intentionally and knowingly trafficking in counterfeit goods is a federal crime that carries penalties for first-time offenders of up to 10 years in federal prison, a $2,000,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution.”

Most of the seized Web sites had names like and, and sold reproductions of designer goods and hard copies of jacked movies. A few sites on the list, though, stuck out:, and are popular music blogs that were generally involved in the promotion of artists, rather than outright piracy. Well-known among rap fans for posting the latest videos, singles and remixes (always hosted from third-party download sites), their seizure was shocking, not just to the hip-hop blogosphere, but to music sites everywhere. Their inclusion on a list of sites that profit from manufacturing hard goods seemed arbitrary and ignorant. Furthermore, these sites were directly involved with artists, widely viewed as outlets that could help artists build buzz and promote their upcoming albums.

And in what ICE termed its “Cyber Monday” crackdown, a statement on the official DHS site made it clear that this was only the beginning:


The DHS seems to be tiptoeing in the music pool, testing its boundaries and seeing what it can get away with. ICE began seizing domain names mere days after Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, blocked the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), a bill that would effectively allow the government to censor any Web site it sees fit, and one that is widely viewed as an attack on our free speech. ...

Please read the rest of the article. Read it in light of my previous post: it is fairly obvious that the changes Johnson describes can take place only under a government in which the notion of free speech is meaningless.

I don't have any action items on this one. I believe we are fucked to the ears, and probably won't outlast my lifetime, let alone yours, as an allegedly free nation. All I can ask you as individuals is this: please don't pirate music, for the sake of the artists (yes, yes, fuck the recording companies, but please keep it legit for the sake of the musicians), and if you feel you must download illegally, don't get caught by the DHS. DHS, chaotically structured agency that it is, could nonetheless end up our nation's equivalent of Hitler's SS.

I sleep better nights because I have a longstanding commitment to not pirating media or software. You will too. Big Brother is truly watching you, Dog damn him.


  1. I read that one site that was siezed was TorrentFreak, which besides hosting torrents, was a pretty good news site, covering file-sharing tech and politics.

  2. paintedjaguar, it's no real surprise that the government wants to shut down some sites. But I confess I am surprised at the utter baldfaced disregard for due process: how much trouble is it to get a warrant anyway? Courts rarely refuse to grant one, and with federal courts saturated with Republican-appointed judges now, the agencies should be able to get whatever they want, legally, with no hassle.

    The fact that the FBI and Dog knows who else do all this searching and seizing without a warrant says to me that they disdain the warrant as a means of intimidating people... a clear message of "we don't need no steenkin' badges."

  3. Oops, I should have checked my source -- looks like is still up, but has news only. Either my memory is faulty or they've stopped hosting/searching torrents.

    Several decades of Drug Warring and militarization of police forces have set a lot of precedent for lawless Law Enforcement, even before they replaced the Cold War with the War on Terror.



• Click here to view existing comments.
• Or enter your new rhyme or reason
in the new comment box here.
• Or click the first Reply link below an existing
comment or reply and type in the
new reply box provided.
• Scrolling manually up and down the page
is also OK.

Static Pages (About, Quotes, etc.)

No Police Like H•lmes