(NaturalNews) As part of a new expansion of government power over information, the Department of Homeland Security has begun seizing and shutting down internet websites (web domains) without due process or a proper trial. DHS simply seizes web domains that it wants to and posts an ominous “Department of Justice” logo on the web site. See an example at http://torrent-finder.com
Over 75 websites were seized and shut down last week, and there is no indication that the government will stop such efforts. Right now, their focus is websites that they claim “violate copyrights,” yet the torrent-finder.com website that was seized by DHS contained no copyrighted content whatsoever. It was merely a search engine website that linked to destinations where people could access copyrighted content. Google also links to copyrighted content — does that mean the feds will soon seize Google, too?
These seizures were conducted on the basis of language in the DMCA law, which is vastly overreaching in its powers (it was passed to appease the music recording industry and the RIAA). Even so, the U.S. Senate is right now considering passing yet another law — COICA — the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/internet-censorship-pushed-congress/), a new law that would give the federal government even more power to shut down websites it opposed.
Read more about COICA here: http://www.usa-anti-communist.com/wp/?p=1918#awp::?p=1918
And here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christina-gagnier/online-seizure-and-counte_b_785819.html
Here’s the list of 19 US Senators who voted to censor the internet via the COICA bill: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101118/10291211924/the-19-senators-who-voted-to-censor-the-internet.shtml
Government could shut down alternative health websites
Where is all this going? Today the U.S. government is targeting websites focused on copyright violations, but if the public tolerates this government-sponsored censorship of the web, it’s only a matter of time before these government powers are expanded to control the content of the internet.
Over the last few years, several U.S. Senators have already attempted to outlaw vitamins and nutritional supplements. One lawmaker even suggested that “alternative health” information should be outlawed on the internet in order to “protect” people from information that isn’t aligned with the drugs-and-surgery approach to sick care. It’s only a matter of time, it seems, before the U.S. government uses its new power of seizing internet websites as an information warfare weapon to silence anyone who opposes FDA and the Big Pharma agenda.
In fact, under these new laws, there’s no limit to what websites the U.S. government could choose to seize and shut down. This is the beginning of the federal takeover of the internet, where all websites that don’t fall in line with “official” government-approved information are now potential targets of DHS seizures.
One music website seized by DHS — RapGodFather.com — was seized merely because its users posted comments linking to file-sharing websites (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/homeland-security-shuts-dozens-sites/). The site had 150,000 members, but as of today, it is the property of “Homeland Security Investigations.” (http://rapgodfathers.com/)
See the TorrentFreak.com news report on this important story here: http://torrentfreak.com/music-linking-site-raided-by-dept-of-homeland-security-ice-101125/
All websites using the word “Face” could soon be seized
The reach of tyrants knows no limits. As widely reported throughout the popular press last week, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has assigned Facebook a trademark monopoly over the word “Face.” (http://techcrunch.com/2010/11/23/patent-office-agrees-to-facebooks-face-trademark/) This means that any website using the word “face” could theoretically be seized by the DHS under the DMCA.
Lest you think this is some impossible exaggeration of the law, keep in mind that governments always misuse laws to go far beyond their original intended purpose. The RICO Act, for example, which was originally passed in 1970 to combat the mafia, is now used nearly every day against individuals and small businesses (http://www.ricoact.com).
Similarly, the Patriot Act signed into law by President Bush after the 9/11 attacks was originally intended to be applied to international terrorists. But now in the United States, it is routinely used against animal rights activists and environmental protection groups (http://www.aclu.org/national-security/new-documents-show-fbi-targeting-environmental-and-animal-rights-groups-activities).
These rogue abuses of federal law create a pattern of expanding government powers that increasingly threaten the Constitutional rights of American citizens. To seize a person’s website without due process is both a violation of that person’s First Amendment rights (Free Speech) as well as their Fifth Amendment rights.
The Fifth Amendment states:
No person shall be… deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
And yet this seizure of websites by the DHS is doing precisely that — depriving people of property without due process of law.
The U.S. federal government, as we have increasingly seen through the actions of the TSA, DEA and DHS, does not recognize nor honor the Bill of Rights. Nor does it believe the U.S. Constitution has any authority whatsoever. The upshot of this is that all Americans citizens are now living under a system of government tyranny, where government agents may molest you at the airports or seize your website if they don’t like what you’re saying online.
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