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Is Texas Court breeding far east cyber criminals?

05/10/2016 11:41 PM IST | Updated 08/10/2016 8:25 AM IST
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The United States as we know it is slowly crumbling. It has been for a long time, I am afraid. This in part explains why a bloated, narcissistic 70 year old, with no political experience and qualification, who continues to put his foot in his mouth, while offending every minority, veterans and the hierarchy of his own party, is leading the republican faction. The other side of the coin is another senior-citizen with a record of stretching the the law and being outright ruthless with the victims of her husband's promiscuous ways. Both are the end result of democracy gone astray - we've forgotten what got us here.

A place close to my heart - is the world of the internet and our place in it's growth and the dominant role it's taken in our lives. We invented the internet, including domain names and set the bar for their use as essentially a currency, Unfortunately we've handed over the keys to cyber criminals from the east.

Take the case of internet entrepreneur Jeff Baron. A federal court judge in Texas authorized the transfer of Internet domain names by court-appointed domain pirates to sophisticated cyber criminals in the far East. These domain names were unlawfully seized from Baron and sold at black-market prices for the sole enrichment of these unsavory sellers. The black-market prices paid for Baron’s domain names by these Chinese Cybercriminals, affects all Americans every day. Moreover, this outrageous Texas Court Order undermined what in my opinion would have revolutionized and expanded the Internet for all Americans.

Jeff Baron pioneered Internet technology by creating what would have become a type of Global Search Engine alternative—competitive with Google—which would have enabled users to employ an alternative method to discover goods, services and information. According to David Relkin, an Internet Commerce Attorney, this proprietary technology, invented by Mr. Baron, would have been the first successful endeavor to enable users and businesses to advertise their services and products in a more dynamic way across the entire internet—not just to the sites which Google-driven searches often lead consumers.

"Domain piracy is a growing threat to Internet communication as a whole, and should not be underestimated at the risk of widespread domain looting and potentially internet anarchy", says Relkin

These surreptitious Far-Eastern companies generally avoid detection by existing for only a matter of days, or by hacking the passwords associated with domain names, to transfer their ownership to shell companies outside US Jurisdiction (and divert searches to imposter sites which are virtually impossible to distinguish from genuine sites.) In Baron's case, the unlawful perpetrators forcibly transferred his innovative platform under a “dubious” Ex Parte Court Order—which, although almost immediately vacated by the Appeals Court—allowed these offenders enough time to profit from their illicit sales to Chinese cyber-criminals who are known to pay substantial cash bribes to acquire domain names which become unavailable to Americans .

The consequence to American business is enormous since the US Economy has substantially transitioned to the Internet and grows larger every day, requiring ever more domain names. The type of illegal conduct perpetrated on Jeff Baron may substantially undermine even the most careful domain operators since, the names were transferred and thereafter registered by obscure registrars outside US Jurisdiction

Americans are easily diverted to these counterfeit domain names controlled by these cyber-pirates by creating confusion as to the source or affiliation of the site " says Relkin. "Domain names carry a search request to a predetermined website—even a slight alteration of the web address is easily missed by consumers. When these counterfeit sites are manufactured, they easily deceive the public in order to pass off counterfeit goods or to defraud consumers into providing personally identifiable information, such as credit card numbers and birth date

The result for Mr. Baron, as for many others, is that, once transferred, these domain names travel in a criminal underworld, opaque to the general public, making it virtually impossible to recover the true names without enormous expense and detriment to the entire American Economy. Mr. Relkin warns that: The dozens of releases of personal information by major US companies is only the beginning of what is likely to become an uncontrollable sea change to Internet Business in America .

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