So, Verisign, a name you see on a lot of shopping sites, wants to be able to shut down websites dealing out malware as a default. That’s not so bad, right? Keeps the Internet safer, makes everybody happy. Or it would, if Verisign didn’t go just a wee bit further than that. Not only do they want to do it when they detect malware, they also want to do it to…
“…protect the integrity, security and stability of the DNS; to comply with any applicable court orders, laws, government rules or requirements, requests of law enforcement or other governmental or quasi-governmental agency, or any dispute resolution process; (and) to avoid any liability, civil or criminal, on the part of Verisign, as well as its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers, directors, and employees… Verisign also reserves the right to place upon registry lock, hold or similar status a domain name during resolution of a dispute.”
In other words, they basically want to do it whenever they get told to. Or have an excuse to. Or feel like it.
Needless to say, Verisign of course has a detailed, yet simple policy in place to deal with inevitable complaints and other problems, like, say, ruining some random chump’s business because they think his banner ads are using rootkits when they’re not: to send an email saying, “Because F*** YOU, THAT’S WHY!” to anybody who complains. OK, so they haven’t made that formal yet, but the fact that they basically want the power to shut down any website at will after sending the owner an email, but don’t want to submit a detailed view at the appeal/approval/apology process, is not good news.
Fortunately, this still needs to be approved by ICANN, the grand poobahs of the Internet, and survive the lawsuit the ACLU is likely planning as we speak. But I wouldn’t get too attached to any website that criticizes the charming and competent people at Verisign.