US Homeland Security begins new wave of domain seizures

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The United States Department of Homeland Security is apparently continuing their “Operation in Our Sites” initiative in the New Year, as at least five sports related streaming and peer-to-peer sharing domains were seized this week by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

One website included in this latest roundup is Rojadirecta.org, a Spanish sports broadcast indexing website that does not have any clear ties to the United States.

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US Homeland Security begins new wave of domain seizures

“We have not been notified,” Igor Seoane of Rojadirecta told TorrentFreak. “According to Go Daddy [the site’s domain registrar] they have not touched anything.”

The situation is an unfortunate one for Rojadirecta’s owners, who recently won a three year battle in Spain to determine whether the site’s operations were legal. The website does not host any content, but rather provides links to streams, torrents, and sporting events that are hosted on other sites. It also appears that the only ties Rojadirecta has to the US is its .ORG domain, which is maintained by GoDaddy, an Arizona-based company.

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“In our opinion the US authorities are completely despising the Spanish justice system and sovereignty,” Seoane said. He is now looking for legal representation to defend his company in this fight.

Four similar sites were also taken offline and were replaced by the ICE’s “seized” notice, including Channelsurfing.net, Atdhe.net, firstrow.net, and ilemi.com.

This action comes two full months after the last round, in which the ICE seized 82 different websites. While many of those were offering imported counterfeit designer products, a handful of others were indexing sites whose owners believed they were operating under the law. In those cases, the site owners had to wait nearly a month to find out what evidence the US government had to support their actions. In fact, it was just last month that the ICE got around to filing a civil forfeiture for the first round of domains the agency seized in June.

Once again, US authorities are taking away people’s livelihoods with no notice or due process. And again, sites in question don’t even host the content that could be deemed illegal. Rather than cutting off the pirated content streams at the source, the ICE chooses to start at the fringe of the problem, when other indexing sites are out there picking up the slack anyway. Is this the type of “homeland security” the US taxpayers want? I find that very doubtful.

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