Thanks to Latvian-language blogger Kristaps Kaupe, I have been tipped off to a scandal over the last week concerning NIC.Lv, the Latvian domain registration service. It seems that the Latvian language IT news and discussion portal Datuve discovered that it was possible to use some kind of e-mail trick to change domain registration data and, essentially, to kidnap domains. Once this information started circulating, Datuve said the company hosting its sever was asked in a phone call by the Latvian Economic Police to remove the Datuve website. While the article may have explained how simple it was to steal domains or get them for free (NIC.lv is a fee-based registration service), the action by the police was a blatant attempt at censorship or, even in the most charitable intepretation, vastly overbroad. If one article may have contained instructions on committing a crime(that, if Datuve's story was accurate, was begging to be committed and idiot simple as well), it is hardly reason to shut down an entire internet medium. Instead, the Economic Police should be talking to NIC.Lv the way the ordinary police patrolmen would talk to someone who has left his warehouse unlocked.
This is yet another case of residual Soviet mentality – if in doubt, censor and forbid rather than understand the problem and do your best to solve it with a minimal intrusion into such vital and unassailable rights as the freedom of expression.
Now that I think about it (even it it is a week late), this is definitely a story for my daytime job. Apollo may have picked it up, but I am not sure about the print media.