ICANN Doesn’t Take Down Websites

by Rod Beckstrom on December 3, 2010

There have been many questions in recent days stemming from actions by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) in shutting down dozens of web sites. As we have said many times, ICANN was not a party to those actions by ICE, nor was it a target of them.

ICANN does not take down domain names – we have no technical or legal authority to do that. We have no involvement in the takedown of any website, which is an issue of national authority. ICANN knew nothing about this enforcement action until after the fact.

And with good reason, since we are not a law enforcement entity or an agent of the U.S. or any other government. ICANN is the non-profit coordinator of the Internet’s global domain name system and is not involved in website content in any way.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Marquardt 12.03.10 at 7:53 pm

It seems that Verisign did take down the sites, which in my mind makes ICANN partially responsible. A registrant should only have to worry about companies that they actually deal with. Something should be done to prevent registries from doing this kind of thing.

Does ICANN consider this to be a problem?

Jim Fleming 12.03.10 at 9:46 pm

“we are not a law enforcement entity or an agent of the U.S. or any other government. ICANN is the non-profit coordinator of the Internet’s global domain name system”

Some might claim that the “IANA Contract” with the U.S. Government makes ICANN “an agent of the U.S.”.

What is the status of “The IANA Contract” ?

One of the problems ICANN has had since 1998, and which continues is the continual shifting from….

being an agent of the U.S.
to being “International” and offshore and outside of the U.S. reach
to just being an accreditation company (for a nice fee)
to being a CyberSpace Internet Governance & Toll collector
to being an ISP and Registrar Labor Union (via RIR Subsidiaries)
to being a root server operator
to being the sales and marketing arm of the ISOC’s IETF DNSSEC
to being a DNS Monitor Agency (CERT) now changed to Partner
to being a For.Profit Multi-Level-Marketing pyramid Eco.System

ICANN was only formed to do Proof-of-Concept MARKET TRIALS.
ICANN was not intended to become what it has become.

ICANN has served the intended purpose and can be dissolved.
There are now a few more players and companies than in 1998.
More are entering the arena daily.

The U.S. Department of .COMmerce should be able to handle the .COM contract and SUB-One-Dollar Registry pricing would be expected.

Why didn’t ICANN attain Sub-One-Dollar .COM pricing ?
What do 150 people at ICANN do all day ?

Jim Fleming 12.04.10 at 5:25 am

“ICANN Doesn’t Take Down Websites”

The U.S. Government (elected officials) have the mandate of American Citizens to Take Down Websites and ENTIRE TLDS.

The U.S. Government created ICANN in 1998.
The U.S. Government has the power to Dismantle ICANN and .ORG

ICANN has served the intended purpose and can be dissolved.

The U.S. Government’s Department of .COMmerce has the mandate of the people who elected them to RE-BID the .COM contract to SUB-One-Dollar levels.

ICANN took their cut of the .COM contract, allowed the .COM contractor to dominate all markets, and RAISE prices in an era when technology costs have dropped.

ICANN has NOT been a benefit to the public.

ICANN has served the intended purpose and can be dissolved.
The U.S. Government can take the ICANN website down.

Michael Sitarzewski 12.04.10 at 12:33 pm

Please don’t turn off comments, no matter how crazy it gets!

Jenna Fox 12.04.10 at 5:53 pm

You may not have been involved, but you morally should have been. You’ve enabled verisign to do the things they’ve done with no consequence. I believe it’s your job to protect the neutrality of the domain name system, wether you chose it or not.

Dave Zan 12.05.10 at 6:56 pm


However tempting and easy it is to tell someone what their moral priorities should be, is one equally prepared to be told what one’s should be for something? Besides, ICANN can’t go over a court-issued warrant as issued for seizing those domains, morality or not.

Pierrot Deutsch 12.06.10 at 3:40 am

Je pense que nous vivons des jours historiques, qui seront dans les manuels scolaires de nos petits enfants.
“Quand les hommes se parlent le monde change.”

I truly believe we are living historical days, that will be told in school to our grand childrens.
“When men communicate, the world changes”

Details Details 12.09.10 at 2:23 pm

You say “Authority” but mention nothing about “Ability.” If individual citizens of the United States are subject to the orders of Courts within the United States. Then if the individuals in charge of ICANN are US citizens they would be subject to the authority of the US Courts.

Thus… I’m not sure how ICANN wasn’t involved. The only way ICANN wasn’t involved is if the VeriSign (the registrar in question) was the owner of the registration in question. If that is so (and I don’t have the resources to confirm that) then they could have been legally ordered to seize the domain name without any ICANN intervention and that would mean simply registering with companies not based within the US should provide protection against the US Government seizures.

If, however, VeriSign wasn’t the owner of the domain and ICANN allowed it to seize the domain name from some other registrar or in contravention of the regulations established by ICANN for domain name ownership then ICANN is a responsible party.

Simply throwing up “not it!” on your blog is not an acceptable response, in any case. This isn’t college and the nose doesn’t go.

henry 01.04.11 at 6:47 am

Your statement makes no difference.
A lot of website owners, myself included, are switching away from .com domains BECAUSE of this action. I live and work in the UK, why should my buisness be at the mercy of law makers in the US, I have decided it shoudnt and am looking into domain names in Europe, Africa and even China, to protect myself and my customers from US laws.
YES even China feels safer to me right now than the US.

You may look at this post and think, ah well, its just one man, no it isnt, check out the web design/hosting forums like webhostingtalk, this is a very worrying development and web designers are worried.
So are ICANN, thats why you felt obliged to try damage limitation.
At the moment this is just a trickle, it will not be a trickle for long, buisnesses like go-daddy will already be feeling the financial fall out of this and it will get worse. This action is just the first of many that the US govt have planned, and the more domain names that are siezed the more people like myself will turn away from US domain names.

tOM Trottier 03.01.12 at 4:21 pm

It’s good that ICANN took some notice of it on this blog. But it’s time for ICANN to act to protect international TLDs (like .com, .org, .net, .edu) from action by individual countries. Maybe the UN should be in charge.

Rob S. 03.02.12 at 2:25 pm

You point out that “ICANN is the … is not involved in website content in any way.” However, in this case, the issue did not involve the website content or even the TCP/IP routing to access that content (the content would still be available via IP address) – it involved the domain name that maps to the IP address.

Could you please point me to whoever is responsible for the integrity of the Domain Name System? Thanks.

dismayed 03.06.12 at 11:03 pm

I’m sorry but that does not cut it.

The internet cannot function like this. Exactly this is why people were leary of such much control being vested within the bounds of anyone state’s jurisdiction.

So we need to make a new internet now and keep it out of the reach of the US? Of course the problem now is who is going to do that? A coalition of Russia and China? Why not since the US is doing all it can to turn into the very worst of the repressive regimes it once stood out against.

You’re pointless ICANN. Revoke that contract and award it to a company in a country that respects this as a priviledge rather than abuses it as entitlement.

The internet does not belong to the US government and if they can act like it does by abusing the fact that US companies play a role in the domain registry system, then you fail ICANN. You fail big time, and remind us again, what is the point of you?

TonyZ 03.25.12 at 7:17 pm

Nobody wants to see the UN in charge of the internet, but you simply cannot have one country (USA) dictating to the rest of the world what is right and wrong.After all pornography is illegal in most countries in the world does this mean penthouse.com should be seized?

gulag 07.25.13 at 7:55 pm

What do you do? I mean, seriously.
You want to be in control of a bunch of stuff, basically whatever you feel like, but you don’t want any responsibility?

Why don’t you just be a fun group of like-minded domain entrepreneurs and internet advertising expertise, have conferences, do the whole social thing, enjoy your millions, and stop with creating rules for the planet’s internet users. ICANN isn’t playing by its own rules. It seems to be rules for the rest of us.

Who, exactly, put ICANN in charge of the “series of tubes”? Why, exactly, are you setting policy? Who, specifically, endowed you with authority? And what IS that authority, exactly?

Enough is enough. Your conduct threatens open access to cyberspace and the functionality we now call “the internet.”
Your and personal greed forces the ordinary Joe, who just wants to check his email and read some news and isn’t trying to be a billionaire, to reconsider the idea of government regulation. It looks like we need it in order to mitigate disenfranchisement of ‘the public’ user. Time to divvy it up. Private pieces. You don’t get to come into my service and I won’t go into yours.

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