In a move rarely seen by state authorities, California has shut down 10 domain names that the Golden State claims were fraudulent imitations of Covered California, the state’s own version of the Affordable Care Act.
On Thursday, the state’s attorney general announced that it had forced 10 domain names to either redirect to the bona fide Covered California website or to remove their sites entirely. California also sent cease and desist letters to the operators of those sites.
California’s attorney general, Kamala Harris, wrote in a statement:
These websites were operated by private health insurance brokers or companies that were not affiliated with Covered California. The websites have domain names similar to the state’s official healthcare exchange and contain unauthorized references to the official exchange’s trademarked logo and name. In several cases, websites used the phrases “Get Covered,” “Covered California,” and “California Health Benefit Advisers.”
Whois records show that many of the URLs are owned by Peter Kuhn of San Jose, California. He did not respond to Ars’ multiple requests for comment.
Two of the domains have already been transferred to California authorities. One domain, coveredcalifornia.com, is owned by David Moore of Tennessee.
“Whether I made a good purchase or not, it really doesn’t matter,” he told Ars. “I’d rather not comment on it.”
The domain names in question include:
Cached versions of the site appear to show generic information about health care but are not official sites, even though they could be confused as such.
Ralf The Dog wrote:Korpo wrote:The US Government: We’re the world’s internet police, we’re going to shut down sites we don’t want you to see.
California: Two can play at this game.
The point is, he was using trademarked logos to trick visitors into thinking, he was them. It would be no different than if I were to create a fake Apple or Microsoft website, using the Apple and Microsoft trademarks, trying to trick people into purchasing stuff from me instead of them.
Not to mention that faking a government-sponsored health insurance website would be an excellent way to collect people’s social security numbers, credit card info, etc.