Communications between ICE and GoDaddy concerning 1dmx.org

Mike Masnick filed this request with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the United States of America.
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Tracking # 2015-ICAP-00321
Status

Rejected

Communications

From: Mike Masnick

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

Any communications between ICE / Homeland Security Investigations and GoDaddy concerning the website 1dmx.org.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com and Techdirt.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Mike Masnick

From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

  • Acknowledgement Letter

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From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

A letter stating the request for reduced or waived fees has been rejected.

  • Fee Waiver Rejected

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From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

  • Interim Response

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From: Mike Masnick

This is an appeal of an adverse determination under the Freedom of Information Act postmarked April 8, 2014 for request 2014FOIA11973.

I appeal the rejection of this request's fee waiver as well as my classification as a commercial requester with regards to this request.

First, regarding this request's fee waiver, I will address the six-point test one at time:

1) I am asking for records concerning the extra-judicial seizure of a domain by ICE. This clearly concerns "the operations and activities of the government."

2) There has been a heightened public interest in the standards under which the U.S. government, particularly ICE, seizes domains, while there has been little information or clarify on this issue from the government. The release of this information would help the public understand not only this particular seizure, but also the context under which others of these seizures occur.

3) There is a wide interest in this issue, and I have the ability to disseminate this information widely via my website Techdirt. As to the wide interest of this topic, please see the following links on popular news sites and a public advocacy group:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/12/ice-admits-months-long-seizure-of-music-blog-was-a-mistake/
http://blogs.computerworld.com/17575/ice_domain_seizures_relied_on_twisted_evidence_and_mpaa_say_so
https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech-national-security-technology-and-liberty/ice-domain-name-seizures-threaten-due

In the first link, ICE itself admits improper procedure in a related case, given the release of this information even heightened importance. My website, Techdirt, is a well acknowledged, widely read news source concerning issues of tech policy. It has been cited by numerous national publications, and has a large, informed general audience of those interested in tech policy.


4) This request regards a policy that the federal government has released little information on, although it is of wide public importance since it covers ground spanning from intellectual property, due process, and free speech. Given the breadth and relevance to these issues, I believe the release of these documents will provide a significant contribution to public understanding of government operations. In fact, just recently a number of civil society groups sent an open letter (see link below) asking Homeland Security to investigate this particular domain takedown.

https://www.accessnow.org/blog/2014/04/09/access-and-partners-demand-dhs-investigate-godaddy-domain-takedown

Given that, there is clear and widespread interest in understanding this particular government operation.

5) My only interest in these documents is for journalistic, editorial purposes. The documents will be made freely available, and I will be providing public analysis of the information on Techdirt.com.

6) I believe, as outlined above, the public value of these documents being released far outweighs any minimal commercial interest in my request.

Secondly, I appeal my classification as a commercial requester.

I am the founder and editor of the Techdirt (Techdirt.com) website, which publishes original news content on a daily basis. Techdirt's content focuses either on technology, tech policy, privacy, freedom of speech, and other issues. Below are a few of the many of articles I have written for Techdirt:

http://www.techdirt.com/blog/innovation/articles/20140404/16155026805/awesome-stuff-mainstreaming-augmented-virtual-reality.shtml
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140412/07290526888/fbi-abruptly-walks-out-senate-briefing-after-being-asked-how-insider-threat-program-avoids-whistleblowers.shtml
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140304/16455326432/how-ice-godaddy-teamed-up-to-help-censor-mexican-protest-website.shtml

Techdirt is an independent, widely cited and widely read web news publication with a large, influential audience interested in the issues about which I write.

From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

A letter stating that the request appeal has been received and is being processed.

  • Appeal Acknowledgement

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From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

A no responsive documents response.

  • No Responsive Documents

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From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

A letter stating that the request appeal has been rejected.

  • Appeal Rejected

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From: Mike Masnick

Hello,

Since the denial of this appeal of my commercial status, the U.S. Coast Guard, acting as the designated appeal authority for DHS FOIA appeals, has reversed its position and begun granting appeals of determinations that MuckRock users are commercial requesters. The final determinations in Appeal Nos. 2014-HQAP-00032 and 2014-HQAP-00040 are two such examples. Separately, this request is for the news publication Techdirt, who regularly reports on news concerning domain name seizures and takedowns, and is not a commercial requester. In light of these details and this change in position, please reconsider the denial of my appeal and reverse the determination that I am a commercial requester. Thank you.

Separately, I appeal the no responsive documents response. Evidence of these documents' existence was widely reported on, including by the Electronic Frontier Foundation here:

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/03/mexican-protest-site-censored-godaddy-us-embassys-help

Please include the files of the Special Agent Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Embassy, Mexico City, in a search for the relevant files, as well as individuals who would likely be knowledgable about this case or ICE Domain Seizures in general, including, but not limited to Special Agent Jason Barry and do not limit this search to any central indices. If this request is too broad, you may limit this request to emails sent or received form the relevant offices between Nov. 1, 2012 and Mar 5th, 2014.

Thank you,
Mike Masnick

From: ICE-FOIA

Good afternoon,

Please be advised that you can now check the status of your FOIA requests online at: http://www.dhs.gov/foia-status. Ensure that you input the entire case number (2015-ICFO-XXXXX).

Sincerely,
ICE/FOIA

From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

A letter stating that the request appeal has been received and is being processed.

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From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

A letter stating that the request appeal has been rejected.

  • Appeal Rejected

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Files

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  • Acknowledgement Letter

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  • Fee Waiver Rejected

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  • Interim Response

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  • Appeal Acknowledgement

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  • No Responsive Documents

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  • Appeal Rejected

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  • ~WRD000

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