Summons of the RIPE NCC Against the State of the Netherlands
Below is a brief summary of the summons the RIPE NCC filed against the state of the Netherlands. This summary was created to provide members and other interested parties with an overview of the summons. The full summons is available only in Dutch and is available as a PDF.
The history to this case can be followed from the news articles the RIPE NCC posted about this case to keep its members informed.
Background information (para. 2-3)
The RIPE NCC is an association under Dutch law and its main activity is to distribute and register IP addresses. The distributed IP addresses are registered internally, in a “registration database”, and publicly, through the RIPE Database. These databases serve certain specific purposes and the unavailability of these databases would potentially impact the function of network operators or other users that rely on this data.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was investigating a “DNSChanger” case. The suspects had registered IP addresses with the RIPE NCC. The FBI asked the Dutch police to enforce an order issued by a US court, which would demand that the RIPE NCC take all measures to ensure that the suspect’s IP address registration was not transferred or amended. The Dutch police issued such an order based on Article 2 of the Police Act.
The RIPE NCC initially carried out the police order and immediately sought legal advice. Following from this advice the RIPE NCC is of the opinion that not obeying orders based on Art. 2 would not result in any penalties or liabilities. The prosecutor did not provide any further basis for the order and reserved his right to order the seizure of the “RIPE NCC administration”, without explaining what the “RIPE NCC administration” would include.
Because of the prosecutor’s reservation, the RIPE NCC is in a position of permanent threat. If it does not comply voluntarily with orders against its members, it is threatened of losing the “administration” of its operation.
The legal framework (para. 4)
According to international regulations, an order (a measure) that leads to the restriction of somebody’s fundamental rights, such as the right to property, to communication and the freedom to do business should be based upon a specific law and should be necessary, appropriate and proportional.
No legal basis for ordering the freezing or seizure (paras. 5, 6)
Orders based on Art. 2 of the Police law
According to the Dutch Supreme Court, not obeying orders based only on Art. 2 of the Police law creates