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February 27, 2003

Seizing the Domain Names & First Amendment

Ashcroft does a double-header, trampling due process rights and the First Amendment all at once.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said Monday that the domain names for several Web sites allegedly set up to sell illegal "drug paraphernalia" would be pointed at servers located at the Drug Enforcement Administration. A federal judge in Pittsburgh granted the U.S. Department of Justice permission to do so until a trial can take place, the government said.
Note the emphasis- before trial. Folks can be shut down and not even get a chance to post a public response on their own web site.

This is confiscation of the printing press, as egregious a violation of press rights as ever happens. Buildng the name recognition and knowledge of a particular domain name is often as costly as buying a printing press once was and to seize it and shut down speech on such a domain name without due process (if even then) is fundamental authoritarianism.

Whether you believe in due process, property rights, free speech, drug rights, technology freedoms, whatever-- this just adds to Ashcroft's history as the most anti-liberty Attorney General in the post-WWII period.

Posted by Nathan at February 27, 2003 02:52 PM

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