Britain's threatening and clueless domain takedown message

Britain's Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) seizes domains in similar fashion to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But whereas American authorities' placeholders are all businesslike neoclassicism, Britain's look like something a phisher would email to scare you into giving up your PayPal password. The daftest part? Showing you your browser environment data, then threatening the operator of your Tor exit node with prosecution.

It's almost as if the only point of surveillance was to intimidate people!

Yet it proceeds from crude threats to the strangest abstraction. Imagine this messaging applied to actual counterfeit goods: "As a result of imported medications, young, emerging scientists may have had their careers damaged. If you have illegally bought medications online you will have damaged the future of the international pharmaceutical industry."

Users warned as shut down by police [BBC]


  1. It’s not a good day to be a Brit.

    This must be what it’s like to be an American?

    EDIT: Also, 10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine? Come off it, they can barely find space in prisons for actual criminals.

  2. “Serious Organized Crime Agency”?  Are they serious?  They can’t be serious. Sounds pretty fucking serious.

    Also, the screenshot above omits their incredibly serious logo, which really ties the room together.

    1. I’m mostly intrigued as to what constitutes non-serious organised crime.

      If the fraudsters wore clown wigs would the sentence be lighter?  Or do they just get a proportionally silly crime agency pursuing them… Benny Hill style?

  3. I see someone’s already moaned at the UK Gov’t about this awful débacle.

    If you’re in the UK and like the look of that letter I suggest you copy, paste and edit it to your own tastes. 
    I have already *thumbsup

    If you’re NOT in the UK, but wish to express your concern then simply copy that letter and send it to the UK Prime Minister at

    1.  “If you have illegally downloaded music you will have damaged the future of the music industry” – I love it how it never crosses their minds that I’d consider this a positive outcome. It’s a damn shame that downloading doesn’t actually contribute to that end in any appreciable way.

  4. “You wouldn’t steal a handbag. You wouldn’t steal a car. You wouldn’t steal a baby. You wouldn’t shoot a policeman. And then steal his helmet. You wouldn’t go to the toilet in his helmet. And then send it to the policeman’s grieving widow. And then steal it again! Downloading films is stealing. If you do it, you will face the consequences.”

    Roy: [sitting with Moss in a dark room] “Man, these anti-piracy ads are getting really mean.”

  5. Until this appeared on BB, I had never heard of

    Today I have visited it three times, from three different IP addresses. The site seems to get the Browser and OS from your User Agent string – so go nuts with spoofing your own User Agent. For teh LOLz.

    Remember that identifying users from IP addresses didn’t work for ACS Law, and I can’t see it working for SOCA either.

  6. “As a result of imported medications, young, emerging scientists may have had their careers damaged. If you have illegally bought medications online you will have damaged the future of the international pharmaceutical industry.”

    That’s actually pretty close to what the pharma industry Does say. If memory servies their version is something like “Buying cheap medications online from Canada hurts our profits, reducing the ammount of money we can spend on research and devlopment of new drugs, including funding for those for rare illnesses that are otherwise cost prohibitive to research. If you don’t support our existing pricing and distribution models the whole industry collapses, and then where will the next Vi@gra come from!”

  7. they don’t know what OS I am using… I mean I visited without anything meant to obscure anything and they cannot figure out my OS? Do we want these people near a computer?

  8. The original warning page has now been removed, which suggests to me that they’ve realised that they have made themselves a laughing stock and are trying to save face.

  9. “Your fine will be,” –placing a pinky at the corner of mouth– “one QUADRILLION dollars!”

    A couple of those and the debt crisis will vanish.

  10. I’m seeing a much less interesting message (“SOCA has taken control of this domain name. For further information visit:”). And it says the same through a UK proxy, so it’s not because my IP address is in the US.

    Perhaps they decided it was a bit silly after the public reaction and BBC article?

  11. I think this is more hilarious than creepy actually – it’s turned into an odd quasi-parental lame-duck satire of retro authoritarian propaganda by the clear sense that they actually expect ‘young persons’ to see this, give a shit, and feel some sort of vaguely effective teenage guilt that these hip young artists, who of course number prominently among their personal heroes, may have been hurt by their selfishness. LOL. Superego? Huh?

    Lindsay: I hate to say it, but Michael might be right. You need to learn a little discipline.
    Maeby: Hmm. Nope. That doesn’t feel right.
    Lindsay: No, no, no. I am telling you.
    Lindsay: You are now punished. I punish thee.
    Maebe: Are you serious? What could you possibly come up with that would punish me?
    Lindsay: Oh, I have to come up with another thing?

  12. SOCA was set up in response to 11/9 in order to “follow the money” laundered by international and domestic terrorists. A noble and eminently worthwhile pursuit, so it’s actually a bit sad to think they’ve resorted to going after such low hanging fruit. A music blog “serious organised crime”… phhhhht.

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