ICE admits to mistakenly seizing innocent sites during domain raid

Posted 21 February 2011 19:43 CEST by Justin_Massoud

Last week ICE, in conjunction with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, carried out “Operation Protect our Children” – an effort which targeted child pornography sites via far-reaching domain seizures. However, the well-intentioned mission resulted in some unforeseen consequences: the closure of over 84,000 sites, most of which had nothing to do with hosting or distributing child pornography as accused. ICE issued a statement admitting the mistake, but was quick to point out that the operation was somewhat successful.

InformationWeek provided some insight into the closest thing to an apology from a governing body, reporting that although the domain seizures closed lawful sites for a span of three days, the operation also yielded fruit.

An ICE representative said in an email to that site: “During the course of a joint DHS and DOJ law enforcement operation targeting 10 Web sites providing explicit child pornographic content, a higher level domain name and linked sites were inadvertently seized for a period of time. Those sites were restored as soon as possible to normal functionality.”

This message is in stark contrast to the original statement released by the DHS, which applauded the anti-child porno undertaking but made no mention of either the breadth of the operation or the countless innocent sites unfairly closed under allegations of unlawful activities.

According to an unnamed source, says the site, more than 1,000 scumbags were unable to view child pornography on illegal sites which were rightfully shut down. ICE found the proverbial needle in the haystack. Unfortunately, it burned the haystack to do so.

The domain seizure focused on websites hosted by Free DNS provider mooo.com and has been criticized for its lack of due process and possible infringement of First Amendment rights.

No charges have been filed by ICE yet — or by the innocent people whose sites were improperly closed.


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