US government wrongfully seizes 84K websites in an effort to stop child porn

As part of an initiative by the American Department of Homeland Security’s ICE project, multiple web domains were taken down this week that are accused of hosting child pornography and counterfeit goods or linking to sites that host them. However, according to Torrentfreak, one of the websites taken down was a free DNS provider that serviced upwards of 84,000 subdomains not accused of any crimes. Visitors to these sites were greeted by the ever so friendly banner of ICE that declares the site seized by the government pursuant to a seizure warrant. Needless to say, it’s quite embarrassing to have your visitors see this on your homepage, and many are blaming the DHS for this apparent screw-up.

FreeDNS, the DNS host claiming that it was wrongfully taken down, immediately posted on their website,

“Freedns.afraid.org has never allowed this type of abuse of its DNS service. We are working to get the issue sorted as quickly as possible.”

It took 3 days before service was fully restored to all affected sites, and DHS has yet to admit their error. In a press release this morning, they failed to mention the faux pas, and decided to focus only on the guilty parties that were successfully seized. While the idea of shutting down nefarious websites is a noble one, many are accusing the US government of refusing rightful due process. Being accused of hosting child pornography is no small matter, and the fact that the charges were wrongful doesn’t erase the humiliation that a public facing website has to deal with when of accused of such crimes. In a world of digital reputation, mistakes like these are hard to overcome.

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downhillrider said,
every thread like this ends up in America is evil. this place should be changed to neowin.co.uk

Huh? The UK is actually more evil, being the source of all evil and all that. ;-]

Anyway, DHS messes up. SSDD, move along...

Blah-dee-freakin-blah. What a surprise that this reported on. Any government slight on the purity of our internet freedoms must therefore be sign of the impending 1984 apocalypse. Why not just report on how all the actual scourges were fought against, without descending into 'no I did not mean to say I was for child porn, but clearly the government is incompetent and pirates will rule the earth'. Snap out of your selfish bubbles. If given a choice for an accidental 3-day downtime to stop child porn in the slightest, then I would gladly sacrifice my own website. But maybe other people have different values.

Meh, in a country where each taxpayer has $127k debt, and each person is worth -$45k, what can be expected but moronic mistakes without consequence?

Why do you think so many incorrect sites were nailed yet many legitimate (if thats what to call them) sites are still functioning? corruption is the only answer I can find.

Get your facts straight.

External debt per person is $44,900 per person. Probably you are talking about the figure calculated for a model family.

AtriusNY said,
Get your facts straight.

External debt per person is $44,900 per person. Probably you are talking about the figure calculated for a model family.


ánd still way lower then most european countries \o/
from my country (Netherlands) we're all about 150.000 euro in debt which is 5times as high as the average US citizen.
iirc the top 10 of countries with foreign debts is ruled by europa, not USA.

The said thing is here the government is taking down sites for child porn, but we have people in power behind that and even worse. Do a Google search on the CIA's "Finders" program. It is sick and there are plenty in Congress and other positions of power that are behind child abduction, child sex rings, child sacrifices, etc. Ted Gunderson (http://www.TedGunderson.net) started telling people about it years ago. I know he talks about it on the old Ted Gunderson Chronicles videos (part 1 and 2), which you can find at the following links.

TGC Part 1: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3345008237622976440
TGC Part 2: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4446560178588456167

Ted has a lot of videos on Google Video and YouTube on various topics, like this one below recorded a few weeks ago on chem trails... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR6KVYJ73AU

JayZJay said,
The said thing is here the government is taking down sites for child porn, but we have people in power behind that and even worse. Do a Google search on the CIA's "Finders" program. It is sick and there are plenty in Congress and other positions of power that are behind child abduction, child sex rings, child sacrifices, etc. Ted Gunderson (http://www.TedGunderson.net) started telling people about it years ago. I know he talks about it on the old Ted Gunderson Chronicles videos (part 1 and 2), which you can find at the following links.

TGC Part 1: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3345008237622976440
TGC Part 2: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4446560178588456167

Ted has a lot of videos on Google Video and YouTube on various topics, like this one below recorded a few weeks ago on chem trails... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR6KVYJ73AU


if it where all true and the CIA would be that powerfull, that Ted Gunderson wouldnt've been able to spread it to anyone.

You say that now... but what happens when they accidentally seize a website you regularly visit? Like Neowin? I bet you will be singing a different tune then...

Jehtro said,
Necessary evil to root out and stop child pornography..
People will complain about everything these days
What if it was the web site for your small online business? You just lost 10% of your monthly revenue. You have countless customers who were not only inconvinienced, but now believe your business may be associated with child porn. I'm guessing you wouldn't shrug it off so easily then.

Heck, I bet if your cable TV and Internet went down for 3 days, you'd be complaining. Let alone if it was costing you money or putting you out of business.

Jehtro said,
Necessary evil to root out and stop child pornography..
People will complain about everything these days

ho does it stop child pornography exactly? they just move to new domains

sanriver12 said,

ho does it stop child pornography exactly? they just move to new domains


It breaks the links that point to it.

SkolVikings said,
What if it was the web site for your small online business? You just lost 10% of your monthly revenue. You have countless customers who were not only inconvinienced, but now believe your business may be associated with child porn. I'm guessing you wouldn't shrug it off so easily then.

Heck, I bet if your cable TV and Internet went down for 3 days, you'd be complaining. Let alone if it was costing you money or putting you out of business.

If my customers were the kind of people to not know the difference between error and crime, then I'd question the purpose of my business. However if my customers were the kind of people who would complain this much about their cable TV being down, then I'd question theirs.

Conjor said,
You say that now... but what happens when they accidentally seize a website you regularly visit? Like Neowin? I bet you will be singing a different tune then...

if its a mistake... boohoo? sh*t happends mate.
its just 84k websites, did anyone here even notice it before posted?
no? oh damn, oh ye any proper websites wouldnt let their service depend on free SLA(best effort, oh wow! \o/) websites/companies/services.

The stupidity of this whole thing is simply amazing - how long is it going to take for them to realize that the websites will simply change their domain name to something outside the US and continue as normal?

NateB1 said,
The stupidity of this whole thing is simply amazing - how long is it going to take for them to realize that the websites will simply change their domain name to something outside the US and continue as normal?

As long as it isn't a US domain, they'll be happy with it. They're focusing on what they can stop then the rest they either contact through foreign affairs or whatnot. Frankly they just made one little error. Nothing to go all postal on. Services were restored though 3 days late.

NateB1 said,
The stupidity of this whole thing is simply amazing - how long is it going to take for them to realize that the websites will simply change their domain name to something outside the US and continue as normal?

They have budget to spend and this is the reason why they are seizing web sites. If they cared about children they'll stop sex tourism to Thailand.

lexp said,

They have budget to spend and this is the reason why they are seizing web sites. If they cared about children they'll stop sex tourism to Thailand.


The U.S can't stop something that they don't have jurisdiction over. The same thing is happening in the Philippines and the only thing the government can do is offer money to combat it.

tmaxxtigger said,
Big deal, minor inconvenience, at least they doing something to combat this growing obsession with indecency.

Minor inconvenience??? 84K websites... that's not minor. If you are running a business and people browse to your website to purchase something... and receive a notice that your site has been seized by homeland security. That can and will cause irreparable damage to your business. All because some scrub fed geek did not pay attention to what he was doing. It feels to me like they hired best buy geek squad to manage Industrial Light and Magics server farm.

tmaxxtigger said,
Big deal, minor inconvenience, at least they doing something to combat this growing obsession with indecency.

Yeah, next burkas..... What you're condoning is like using rape to protect virginity.

tmaxxtigger said,
Big deal, minor inconvenience, at least they doing something to combat this growing obsession with indecency.

If this happened to Neowin you wouldn't be saying "big deal".

tmaxxtigger said,
Big deal, minor inconvenience, at least they doing something to combat this growing obsession with indecency.

What a retarded things to say.

Tha Bloo Monkee said,

If this happened to Neowin you wouldn't be saying "big deal".

Because Neowin is more important to him than eradicating child pornography? Oh wait, sorry, that's you.

Chook said,

Because Neowin is more important to him than eradicating child pornography? Oh wait, sorry, that's you.

And apparently you don't value civil liberties either. Ends justifying the means is a poor excuse. i.e. Killing and eating children stops kiddie porn as well......

CyberWolf said,

Minor inconvenience??? 84K websites... that's not minor. If you are running a business and people browse to your website to purchase something... and receive a notice that your site has been seized by homeland security. That can and will cause irreparable damage to your business. All because some scrub fed geek did not pay attention to what he was doing. It feels to me like they hired best buy geek squad to manage Industrial Light and Magics server farm.


those 84k websites arent even 0.01% of the entire WWW.
So yes, its minor.

No child left behind.. no child left behind.. Oh, really it wasn't too long ago they were talking about giving children a head start. Head start - left behind, someone's losing ground here..

Joker. said,
No child left behind.. no child left behind.. Oh, really it wasn't too long ago they were talking about giving children a head start. Head start - left behind, someone's losing ground here..

No Child Left Behind is for Education and has nothing to do with child porn..

statm1 said,

No Child Left Behind is for Education and has nothing to do with child porn..

And apparently it had nothing to do with education either. It turns out it was meant as a recruitment tool for the military. Seriously.

Foub said,

And apparently it had nothing to do with education either. It turns out it was meant as a recruitment tool for the military. Seriously.

How's that? Explain.

People try to get away with anything in the name of children.
Yesterday a guy was trying to sell me a local paper subscription:
"Don't you want to help the children?"
I was like whaaat?!!

Ridlas said,
United States of America: World Police.

So what you're saying is that they shouldn't bother stamping out child porn?

Lamp0 said,

So what you're saying is that they shouldn't bother stamping out child porn?

Yeah, but they shouldn't shame 84k people's sites by simple bureaucratic accidents.

Lamp0 said,

So what you're saying is that they shouldn't bother stamping out child porn?

Oh give it a rest. What a ridiculous statement. Just because he feels the US overstates their boundaries, doesn't automatically mean he's FOR child porn. Clearly you're American, your arrogance is blinding.

Lamp0 said,
So what you're saying is that they shouldn't bother stamping out child porn?
So, what you are saying is that you can't read?

nekkidtruth said,

Oh give it a rest. What a ridiculous statement. Just because he feels the US overstates their boundaries, doesn't automatically mean he's FOR child porn.

obviously i don't actually think he is for child porn. Though perhaps my statement was a bit over the top.

Clearly you're American, your arrogance is blinding.

hahaha, How am I clearly American? I've never even been to the continent.

Lamp0 said,

So what you're saying is that they shouldn't bother stamping out child porn?

Of course not. Don't be stupid. They should be more aware of what they're doing so they wouldn't victimize the innocent.. Incompetency is no excuse.

Ridlas said,
United States of America: World Police.

this **** is going on in Colombia too.
as soon as they receive a complaint, they block the domain, then they investigate...

Lamp0 said,

So what you're saying is that they shouldn't bother stamping out child porn?

clueless sheeps like you is why govs get away with this kind of BS. I wish you had a business and they wrongfully blocked your domains, would that change your mind?

sanriver12 said,

clueless sheeps like you is why govs get away with this kind of BS. I wish you had a business and they wrongfully blocked your domains, would that change your mind?


if your a bussiness and dependent on services like OpenDNS your a f*cking moron, pardon my english

With great power comes great responsibility. And you can never depend on the government to show great responsibility.