Do you know you can check who is behind a website, and potentially get it offline.

Everybody who runs a website is legally required to provide up to date contact information, so the operator can be contacted in case illegal content is found on that site. This becomes public record, and there are public tools that make it really easy to find that information.

For example: http://whois.domaintools.com

I get a friendly reminder to check if my information is up to date once a year. But Russians who run disinformation websites seem to be less diligent to keep that information up to date. 

Recently somebody sent me a link to this site: 

Since the content looked less trustworthy than the person made out, I decided to look up the ICANN entry, and the 
“Registrant” entry seemed less than convincing.

Registrant Organization: UK Column
Registrant State/Province:
Registrant Country: GB

Simply put, that didn’t fulfill the legal requirements. So I reported the site, and lets see if the operator either update the information or if it will be put offline. 

So what can “you” do if you find a site like this?

Check the “whois” entry http://whois.domaintools.com/

If the “Registrant” information is missing or wrong, you can report the site to ICANN via this form: https://www.icann.org/wicf/

If the site contain illegal content, you can report it to the “Registrar“. This is the hosting provider that actually hosts the site. They are required to list a “Registrar Abuse Contact Email“ and sometimes even “phone”. Contact the registrar and he will take the appropriate action.

Final step would be to report the site to the police, but that is an action I would only recommend in case of clearly criminal content found. A conspiracy website like the one above is certainly not falling into that category.