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Domain seizures can’t stop online drug pushers

Kevin Murphy, June 6, 2011, 16:42:02 (UTC), Domain Policy

Two US senators have reportedly asked the Drug Enforcement Agency to seize the domain name of Silk Road, a web site that lets drug users buy heroin and other narcotics online.

There’s just one problem: the site doesn’t have a domain name.

Silk Road is reportedly a bit like eBay, but for illegal drugs. You can buy ecstasy, marijuana, heroin and so forth, from actual dealers, using the peer-to-peer virtual currency Bitcoins.

This weekend, Sen. Charles Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin wrote to the DEA to demand that the site’s domain name be seized, an increasingly popular tactic in law enforcement.

But Silk Road’s address is apparently ianxz6zefk72ulzz.onion, which is only accessible through the mostly anonymous TOR onion-routing P2P network.

As far as I can make out, there is no registry for .onion addresses – they’re cryptographic hashes of private keys known only to the registrant, which ensures almost-uniqueness without the need for a central repository.

In other words, seizing the domain is going to be impossible.

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Comments (5)

  1. Joe Cady says:

    First, they say that there’s no Santa Claus. Now, THIS?

  2. haha says:

    got my first order in there, it was great!

  3. raggs says:

    well the address, with onion domain name is now “seized” by the dea from usa. good old uncle sam needs to control the narcotics market, all that dark money makes it easier to fund coups in socialist countries. fucking scum.

  4. Dom says:

    Erm, don’t want to panic anyone but I’ve been trying once again to purchase something from SR and on logging in, a big notice from the American Poe-lice came up saying the site had been seized. BALLS! It’s such a long winded process and whenever I go near one of these ‘bitcoin’ companies or SR itself they seem to crash, that I still have never made a buy. And now they’ve busted it. I’m hoping that it’s just a temporary setback and it’ll re-appear under a different ‘domain name’ or something. It’s just happened this evening and I’m looking for somewhere to have a moan. Cheers everyone.

  5. Dom says:

    Bugger, I forgot; here is the URL of the page that came up on logging in. It works in firefox as well.

    http://www.deaseizedsites.com/?PHPSESSID=sfbnjkgmv104h1lsmg217m2372

    Seriously. When I see that page, I see ‘Sheriff John T. Burnell’ from that American police show and I just want to slap the smarm off of his face. BASTARDS!!!

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