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ICANN Publishes “Thought Paper” On Domain Seizures Without Discussing Protecting Rights

Posted on the 24 January 2013 by Worldwide @thedomains

ICANN just issued a “thought paper“” entitled “Guidance for Preparing Domain Name Orders, Seizures & Takedowns”

According to ICANN this  “thought paper” offers guidance for anyone who prepares an order that seeks to seize or take down domain names. ”

However having read through the paper, what I don’t see discussed is the legal rights of registrants and protections they should be given from domain seizures.

The “thought paper” from what I read assumes the domain holder in question is guilty of criminal conduct and doesn’t even discuss the possibility that the domain holder is innocent and in anyway caution law enforcement from taking an action prematurely before law enforcement is quite satisfied that the party is in fact in violation of the law.

I also didn’t see anything in the thought paper about returning a domain name to the domain holder if and when it is determined that the domain holder didn’t engage in any wrongdoing.

The paper was prepared by Dave Piscitello, Senior Security Technologist at ICANN, with the assistance of the ICANN Security Team. ICANN welcome additional comments. Please forward all comments by electronic mail to [email protected]

“Its purpose is to help preparers of legal or regulatory actions understand what information top level domain name (TLD) registration providers such as registries and registrars will need to respond promptly and effectively to a legal or regulatory order or action. ”

“Generally, court-issued seizure warrants or restraining orders in the United States or similar governmental jurisdictions identify the required, immediate actions a party must take and accompany these with sufficient information for domain name registration providers such as registry operators or registrars to comply. Domain name registration providers can promptly obey complaints or legal or regulatory actions (or voluntarily cooperate with law enforcement agents and the private sector) when the instructions of the court or regulatory entity specify the immediate and long-term actions required as completely and unambiguously as possible”.

“Providing all of the information that registry operators or registrars need to comply with an order or request requires some familiarity with Internet protocols, technology and operations. Law enforcement agents, attorneys, officers of courts and others who are not familiar with the operation and interrelationship of domain name registration services, the domain name system (DNS), and WHOIS services can benefit from a reference list of questions and guidance for “answers” (information) that ideally would be made available when action is specified in a court order”.

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