US Government Seizes Websites for Child Porn - The UpStream

US Government Seizes Websites for Child Porn

posted Thursday Feb 17, 2011 by Scott Ertz

US Government Seizes Websites for Child Porn

Ever since the FCC considered taking over the Internet, the government has been taking more of a role in managing the Internet. We have seen several instances of the federal government seizing control of websites, primarily over copyright issues. This week we had an interesting seizure - 84,000 domains in regard to child pornography. The only problem? They were seized on accident.

In an attempt to remove a single site, mooo.com, the Department of Justice's "Operation Save Our Children" wrongfully shutdown 84,000 domains all hosted through the same DNS, FreeDNS. Last Friday, if you had visited any one of the personal or small business sites hosted through FreeDNS.afraid.org, they were greeted with this image:

inline article image

For more information on the sites shut down and their response, hit the break.

Definitely not a good way to start the day if you have customers expecting to interact with your business and are greeted with a message like this. By Sunday, the government had corrected their mistake, but since the Internet requires that the information be populated to servers all over the world, it was another 3 days or so before everything was solved. One customer, who was uninvolved in any wrongdoing but lost his domain for several days, said,

You can rest assured that I have not and would never be found to be trafficking in such distasteful and horrific content. A little sleuthing shows that the whole of the mooo.com TLD is impacted. At first, the legitimacy of the alerts seems to be questionable - after all, what reputable agency would display their warning in a fancily formatted image referenced by the underlying HTML? I wouldn't expect to see that.

While we do not know exactly how the mistake was made or who made it, we do know how the Department of Justice is responding to it. By pretending it never happened, of course. They have released this statement to the press,

Each year, far too many children fall prey to sexual predators and all too often, these heinous acts are recorded in photos and on video and released on the Internet. DHS is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to shut down websites that promote child pornography to protect these children from further victimization.

Somehow this justifies damaging the image of individuals and small businesses and the seizure of their property? While there may have been a warrant involved, that would not prevent a lawsuit from being filed if the police walked into the wrong house and started taking things out. My guess is that there will be a major legal backlash from this move. Maybe in the future there will be due justice before property is seized, but maybe not.

Advertisement

Login to CommentWhat You're Saying

Be the first to comment!

We're live now - Join us!
PLuGHiTZ Keyz

Email

Password

Forgot password? Recover here.
Not a member? Register now.
Blog Meets Brand Stats