Skip to comments.JotForm domain released by Secret Service, won’t say why it was seized (No notice, no explanation)
Posted on 02/17/2012 11:34:42 AM PST by Straight Vermonter
Late on February 15, JotForm lost access to jotform.com. The company soon discovered the U.S. government had seized the domain by lodging a request with the sites domain registrar GoDaddy. Soon after, it had been taken down.
Aytekin Tank, co-founder of Interlogy Internet Technologies, and owner of JotForm, later confirmed that hed been in contact with the agent assigned to his case at the Secret Service. She was busy and couldnt look at the site for a few days. So millions of web forms and thousands of customers were left without a service and no reason as to why this had happened.
Jump to today, and it looks as though jotform.com has been released. It is slowly coming back online and users can gain access to their forms again. Either the Secret Service agent found some time and cleared the site, or the growing interest online as to why this had happened forced someone to make the JotForm case a priority.
So what did happen? We have no idea, and neither does JotForm. The Secret Service is refusing to say why the domain was seized. All they will say is that the process they used to seize it will be reviewed to make sure correct protocol was followed. In other words, JotForm will never know what happened, and it could happen to them again, or any other site for that matter without any warning.
It seems incredible that any section of a government can have the power to take such action, possibly destroy a business, and then carry on without explanation. This really cant be allowed to happen without some form of warning and feedback system in place. The website owner should be contacted before the take down if appropriate, they need to be informed why it has happened, and how long the process will take. Anything less is unacceptable.
Ah...I see. Good one.
I appreciated the hotel analogy also. Thank you for those.
I think I was looking at the perspective of the end user of this particular service. You don’t have a right to free form building service. Different story if you are the business owner...certainly seems like total overkill.
Worth noting in this case the .com domain was seized but the service/business continued under the .net version of the jotform domain...forcing webmasters/site owners to make some edits...hence my comment about it being an “inconvenience.”
Some of this seems like overkill - like there should be some less technologically offensive way of collecting their evidence, and getting the bad guys without violating the rights of the service owners - who sounded like they were completely cooperative, but didn’t appreciate the shut down treatment.
I can see the challenge - if the domain is active, the “evidence” is live and changing. The domain is probably connecting to servers in different locations. Sounds like a halt and capture technique - take the hardware and go.
For the record, I’ve been building websites professionally since about 1997. I’m the last guy who wants any of this.
In case anyone is wondering - JotForm website allowed you to build forms - like the one you use to post at FR, for example, to include in websites. The service is free - up to a certain usage threshold. If you want more service you have to pay a monthly fee.
While I can build my own forms - I have bookmarked their page. Never heard of it.
Actually - now Im starting to think of this differently - especially with regard to this service.
The real sucky part here - is all the volumes of data that isn’t relevant to their investigation that they now probably posses. Suddenly any guy in the world, who used this service, might have his data mixed up in an investigation.
The violation to the owners of the service (and I guess the paying patrons as well) is clear - but the user data that is caught up in this not as obvious. People may have filled out a form the relied on the service - and would never know. I would bet there are website owners who had webmasters that deployed the service on their site - and dont know it.
Curious if the forms, once in use, carry any trademark or link back to the service? At least a clue to the user that they’re using a third party service?
Yes, the actual criminals here (assuming law enforcement have an actual case to make) simply had to change from .com to .net and continue fleecing people.
I don't think that it matters. It's my understanding that megaupload was entirely outside of the US. Their headquarters were in Hong Kong and the principal operators lived in New Zealand but the US still shut them down.
I do not recognize this America.
Well, they may have been headquartered and had all their servers in foreign countries, but they were still megaupload.COM, which means their domain was an American one. That’s why they were able to “seize” the domain, making the content unavailable. If the owners wanted to, they could have just registered another domain, say megaupload.nz, redirected their server’s DNS to the new domain, and 12 hours later, they would have been back up, just with a different web address. (That is assuming that the country where they were physically based did not cooperate with the US and seize their servers or cut off their internet connection)
That’s still a ridiculous reason to shut down a website. If a bank robber stashes his loot in a bus station locker, can the government seize the bus station? How about if a wanted fugitive hides out from authorities in a hotel room, can they shut down Holiday Inn? Do we shut down AOL if a Nigerian email scammer uses it to commit wire fraud?
Sorry, I didn’t see the later comments you made before I posted that, so disregard it please, I think we’re probably on the same page now.
Forgetting?! They've been in the trashbin of history since 2000, bub. The American experiment is over.
Good point. To continue my hotel analogy, after the feds seize your hotel and lock out your customers, they start going through all of your customers luggage to see if they can find evidence of any illegal activity.