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February 15, 2012 | Peter Bradwell

SOCA seizure

This morning we confirmed with the Serious and Organised Crime Agency that the apparent takeover of rnbxclusive.com, reported yesterday on TechDirt here, is genuine

I requested a meeting with SOCA as soon as is possible. They said they would pass the request on but could not guarantee anybody would call back. Fingers crossed I guess. 
 
We need to urgently establish the basis for this and what future plans SOCA has. This is a matter concerning considerable power over access to information, amongst other things.
 
Here's what we think we know about the takedown. It doesn't appear to have been a domain seizure, but action taken via the hosts for what is presumably a Terms and Conditions breach. Whoever controls the Rackspace account has put up this holding page.  It's unclear what's happened to the original site - presumably retained as evidence. The site it's pointing to now is apparently hosted by the UK arm of Rackspace. 
 
We also have some real issues with the notification page, not least related to the suggestion that visitors are monitored, that anybody that has downloaded from the site 'may have committed an offence which carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment'. 
 
There are plenty of questions to be answered.
 
If there was no court order involved, why has Rackspace responded not only by taking down the website but permitting SOCA to put up the landing page? Why has this been dealth with as fraud, rather than copyright infringement - and what offence are they suggesting users of the site have committed, which would lead to them potentially being jailed for 10 years? 
 
We'll update here when we know more. You can follow shorter thoughts up on our Twitter feed.
 
Update: Glyn Moody has posted about this here, saying that SOCA told him 'music tracks were obtained illegally from music companies, before they were commercially released, by breaking into their sites". 

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Comments (4)

  1. Daniel Bartlett:
    Feb 15, 2012 at 04:13 PM

    Hi,

    It looks more like the DNS servers listed for rnbxclusive.com have been changed by GoDaddy.

    Previously the site existed on IP 46.19.137.78 (Which is not in RackSpace control) with nameservers from
    "StreamGuys SCNET-204-93-171-0-1 (NET-204-93-171-0-1) 204.93.171.0 - 204.93.171.255"

    It just looks like RackSpace host the holding page.

    PS. History info gained from:
    http://whois.domaintools.com/rnbxclusive.com
    http://dnshistory.org/browsedomains/rnbxclusive.com.

  2. Gareth Ayres:
    Feb 15, 2012 at 05:53 PM

    I find the statement on the seizure page "The above information can be used to identify you and your location." to be quite worrying and misleading from SOCA.

    Not only does a IP address not equal a person, it certainly doesnt represent a location with much useful granularity. I guess we have been through this whole argument with DEAct...

    The seizure page seems very alarmist to me.

  3. Rob Jewitt:
    Feb 16, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    It seems like SOCA have now removed the intimidating threat from the page and replaced it with a less aggressive message:



    SOCA has taken control of this domain name.
    For further information visit:
    www.soca.gov.uk

  4. Brent Longborough:
    Feb 18, 2012 at 07:37 PM

    FWIW, I've just sent off a formal complaint to the IPCC.



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