UK police want domain seizing powers: Right or wrong?

UK law enforcement want similar abilities to the United States to be allowed to shut down domain names for sites which break the law. Is this acceptable, or an infrigement of further civil liberties?

UK law enforcement want similar abilities to the United States to be allowed to shut down domain names for sites which break the law.

The UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) set up in 2005 and soon to be decommissioned and rolled into the new National Crime Agency, is seeking the new powers where Nominet, the UK domain registrar currently has "no clear obligation to ensure .uk domains are not used for criminal purposes".

At present, these discussions are in the early stages and welcome other organisations to join in, to ensure the balance is correctly adjusted and not rushed into.

The concern is that this will result in domain names being seized and rendered inaccessble without judicial oversight and without court order, a dangerous precedent in any legal system. This scheme could also affect email address and phones, according to one report.

Controversy is spinning in the United States with the Department of Homeland Security shutting down domain names and websites in great quantity which infringe copyright or sell counterfeit goods.

A concern of mine is that, without legal oversight this could lead to young entrepreneurs using the webspace being cut off because of other reasons; either naivety of starting out in 'the wrong kind of business' or unbeknown tax evasion.

As simple enough as it may sound to many of the older generation, in the UK it is widely said that "students don't pay tax", when indeed we do. Even though I am a student, I earn over the personal allowance of nearly £6,500 set out by HM Revenue and Customs, unlike many of my student colleagues and friends, thus am required to pay tax.

If something is not given legal oversight, this sets a trend of further eroding civil liberties. Some fraud cases now are tried without jury, under the premise that it costs too much in legal and court costs and the jury on the most part do not have the financial understanding to make a sound judgement.

Anti-social behaviour orders, another example of jury-without-trial is subjective justice handed out by police which can be open to abuse. In one case, an ASBO was given to a 16 year old preventing him from going to school.

Do you think law enforcement should be able to act without judicial oversight, or is this another infringement upon constitutional rights?


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