Homeland security

Better That 84,000 Be Libeled Than 10 Go Free

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Last weekend, visitors to some 84,000 websites, mostly personal and small business sites, saw this pop up on their screens:

The domain seizures were part of "Operation Save Our Children," which according to a Department of Homeland Security press release, nabbed 10 websites that were distributing child pornography.

The problem for the other 83,990 domain owners is that for a couple days their sites were inaccessible to both owners and to readers/viewers/customers, and for up to six days the site owners were advertised to the world as suspected child pornographers. The DHS press release makes no mention of that.

From the file-sharing blog TorrentFreak:

As with previous seizures, ICE convinced a District Court judge to sign a seizure warrant, and then contacted the domain registries to point the domains in question to a server that hosts the warning message. However, somewhere in this process a mistake was made and as a result the domain of a large DNS service provider was seized.

The domain in question is mooo.com, which belongs to the DNS provider FreeDNS. It is the most popular shared domain at afraid.org and as a result of the authorities' actions a massive 84,000 subdomains were wrongfully seized as well. All sites were redirected to the banner…

This seems to be part of a pattern in which DHS seizes and shuts down blocks of domains with little due process, though it's more commonly done in copyright investigations.

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  1. somewhere in this process a mistake was made and as a result the domain of a large DNS service provider was seized.

    Mistakes were made.

    Promotions followed.

    1. Something needs to be done about the passive voice.

    2. THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Honestly, if we had had Watson, the IBM computer look for child porn, it would have been a zillion times better, not because of its big computer brain, but because even as an souless machine it would summon more honor and accountability for its action than the gubermint manages
      ….somewhere in this process a mistake was made…..
      Somewhere over the rainbow…

  2. In some alternate reality (like the one in my head), not having Janet Napolitano removed from her office in manacles would be considered a grievous violation of an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution”.

    1. You left out the part where she is frog-marched on live TV, and the crowds are armed with well-aged raw eggs.

    2. I have to listen to that crone’s voice every damn day on the DC Metro, talking about being a good little soldier and reporting any “suspicious activity”. Fingernails on a chalkboard.

      1. Elitists love jackbootery and conformity, Kristen… and that goes for Team Red AND Team Blue elitists.

        Tony’s response in 3…2…

    3. In a just world, Janet Napolitano would have already been pitchcapped.

      1. Somewhere, Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain just thought twice about reporting to training camp.

  3. The country is in the best of hands.

  4. This would have never happened if we had a Democrat in the White House.

    1. ;’l;vm,mkm gonadujhhhherr

  5. Just remember…”It’s for Teh Childrens!”

  6. The DHS can seize domains?!? WTF?!?

    1. They can do whatever they want, punk.

      1. I thought only GoDaddy could do that? After all, their completely nonsensical ads have taught me that hot chicks are related to…DNS hosting?

        1. GoDaddy is involved in DNS hosting? Hard to tell what they do from the commericials. I thought they were like a Match.com for incest.

          1. Strangely, I thought that they were a subtle joke on how NASCAR fans are closet lesbians. I guess interpretation is in the eye of the beholder, right?

            1. If NASCAR fans were closet lesbians, wouldn’t stockcar racing be dominated by Subaru?

              1. Are you implying that everyone in Oregon is a lesbian?

                  1. I admit that I have to agree. And as a separate request, please, all Oregonians stay out of Seattle. You are the worst drivers ever (except for the British Columbians), even worse than Seattle drivers. This has nothing to do with being lesbians, of course; some of the lesbians I know are somewhat competent drivers, after all.

                    1. Sounds like I need to check out NASCAR again…

                    2. Don’t bother, it’s all off the shoulder hair and mustaches. Its just some of them happen to be on chicks.

              2. Despite the stereotype of Vermonters loving Subarus the only native-born Vermonter I’ve ever known with a Subaru was an environmental studies major who grew up in Chittenden County.

                This is not to say they aren’t all over the place. And we have had civil unions since 2000 and same sex marriage since 2009…

  7. If the government had full control over the internet, we wouldn’t have silly problems like this.

  8. “That’s Department of Homeland Submission to you, Buddy.”

  9. This resembles something little people like to call “defamation.” Like million dollar defamation.

    1. When the Government shuts down 83,990 businesses and slanders them as child sex predators, then obviously this calls for Government immunity.

      1. Little people have another word unknown to government people: accountability.

  10. I suppose you’d want to let private corporations shut down random sites for no reason.

    At least the government is efficient.

    1. If they were so fucking efficient, why did innocent websites get shut down?

    2. Go suck a diseased cock, Tony.

    3. Yes, 0.0012% success is extremely efficient.

      1. Hey, for the gov’t, that ain’t bad!

    4. Re: Tony,

      I suppose you’d want to let private corporations shut down random sites for no reason.

      You mean those that don’t belong to them, just like the govenrment does, or those that belong to them?

      At least the government is efficient.

      Yes, government is efficient for some things:

      http://www.shamash.org/holocau…..urnace.jpg

    5. I realize that you’re probably a sockpuppet, but I need some time on the speed bag today.

      If you happen to ever run across a child porn site, write the domain name down, do a WHOIS on it to find its hosting provider, and notify the hosting provider of what’s being kept on their servers. Watch how quickly the hosting provider voluntarily purges the site from their system.

      If you’ve ever signed up for web hosting, you’ve been presented with Terms and Conditions saying you can’t use the host to store any content like that. No hosting provider would want to be associated with such filth.

      1. Still doesn’t excuse the piss-poor wholesale shut-downs of innocent websites, DanD.

        1. What I’m saying is that every private hosting company operating in the United States that I’ve ever seen would quickly and precisely shut down any site on their servers that contained child porn, if they were notified of it.

      2. Uh, pretty sure seeing child pornography on a site you happen to run across makes you a felon, as the images are stored on your computer before you can see them. I wouldn’t want to disclose anything to anyone non-anonymously in that case.

    6. 10/84000, is a .0012%. In what universe is that efficient?

      1. I’m sorry that’s a .0012% success rate.

  11. This looks like yet another example of mission creep in a bloated and superfluous agency. Wasn’t the DHS created to prevent terrorist attacks?

    1. Porn is terrorism. Genital terrorism.

      1. Only male-female sex, SugarFree.

        1. We LOVE sex. Unless you haven’t done the dishes or didn’t put your socks in the hamper or we had a bad day complaining about everything on the Internet. Is Glee on? OMG, gotta go. Maybe later OK? I TOTALLY want sex, but you know, my anti-depressants and birth control pills and my body issues and the patriarchy and stuff. Put two condoms on, OK? I don’t want to feel like a cum dumpster. Wait where are you going? See we want sex just as much as men. It’s the MEN that aren’t interested!

      2. My ginormous winkie is the Osama bin spunkin, the big purple head, the one eyed monster, the hot cream delivery system of world genital domination…

        well, actually its kinda small 🙁
        and like Osama it hasn’t been seen by a woman in years…

    2. If I had the patience to search for it, Reason covered an instance where DHS officers… yes DHS officers sent notice to a toy store owner to remove supposed fake Rubik’s Cubes off the shelves. The justification? Knock-off products hurt the U.S. Economy, and part of the explicit mission of the DHS is to “protect the U.S. Economy”.

      This mission creep thing started the moment the unelected career bureaucrats hit the ground running.

  12. I smell a juicy class act lawsuit coming up.

    1. Nice business you got there – be a shame if some other branch of the government found any…issues.

      NEXT CASE!

    2. Sovereign immunity says no. However, DHS is considering a suit against the 84,000 innocent sites for wasting department time and resources.

      1. Actually, I would permit it if I could do so.

  13. Wasn’t the DHS created to prevent terrorist attacks?

    Freedom terrifies bureaucrats.

    1. +1776

    2. Don’t worry, as soon as the Dems are completely removed from power, the party will be up in arms over random censorship and first amendment violations.

      It’s kinda like the GOP having discovered fiscal responsibility in 2008.

      *Insert applicable Pete Townsend lyrics here.*

      1. Oops. ^^’Twas me.^^

        1. Well well, the secrets finally out.

        2. We know. Even without the link, we know.

  14. I smell a juicy class act lawsuit coming up.

    “This Court, having reviewed the motion by the Office of the Attorney General, has determined the plaintiffs have no standing to bring this action. Dismissed.”

  15. Did the FBI also shut down The Agitator today? I’m getting “You don’t have permission to access / on this server.” when I try to log on. I guess that’s better than a huge graphic saying you’re peddling kiddie porn.

    1. same here. but i get that message for The Agitator every other week so i figured Radley just has a shitty host.

      1. He (or his webmaster) have been farting around with WordPress lately. I think he’s trying to find a Karma plugin that works.

  16. Serious question: Could this approach be used to, essentially, shut down large swathes of web content in North America?

    1. You’re getting warmer! Why have a pesky, politically unpopular “Intenetz Killz Switch(tm)” if you can piecemeal socially and politically unpopular content first, and then get to more iffy stuff. I think this is called the “Slippery Slope”.

      1. I don’t see why you folks get all huffy about the “Slippery Slope”. I say, if the slope slips, ski it!

        1. “slippery” is obviously poronographic. Please turn yourself in to the nearest authorities

    2. No… never.

      Say, could you look over there for a second?

    3. Serious question: Could this approach be used to, essentially, shut down large swathes of web content in North America?

      Serious answer: The FCC promises only a “light touch” on internet regulation. So take comfort in that.

      1. Show me on the doll where the FCC does that “light touch”.

        1. First, turn the doll over, then lift its dress…

    4. They would have to get permission from federal judges for each DNS to be shut down, and the logistics of issuing the orders to the DNS servers would be very messy.

      Yes, federal judges are quite pliable, but it’s not nearly as easy as an Internet Kill Switch.

    5. Pirates are already trying to work out a peer-to-peer DNS system. It’ll almost certainly be less reliable and efficient, but it’ll be harder to kill through attacks on DNS.

      As much as IP goons get hate by the more Randian part of libertarianism, we’d better come to terms that, as copyright is enforced through restricting expression, those who fight IP tend to develop tools and techniques that are useful to the cause of free expression.

  17. I like to bend over after a good crap with my hairy shit stained anus in the air while loyal democrats like Tony wipe it with toilet paper with constitutional amendments printed on the individual sheets. It’s works for me, and them!

    1. Do you drive a Subaru?

      1. While I love my Subaru, I’m sad to report that it hasn’t made my wife any more willing to get it on with her hot friends (at least not that I know of).

        1. What are you saying? I’m not hot? Your wife seems to think so.

  18. So glad the democrats have control of the executive branch so shit like this doesn’t happen anymore.

  19. Last weekend, visitors to some 84,000 websites, mostly personal and small business sites, saw this pop up on their screens:

    The domain seizures were part of “Operation Save Our Children,” which according to a Department of Homeland Security press release, nabbed 10 websites that were distributing child pornography.

    Rank amateurs.

  20. *Surely* the wrongly-accused sites will have their “air time” (or whatever the kids call it these days) reimbursed by DHS.

    1. With all the spacebooks and myfaces floating around is it any wonder that kids are turning into pornstars at younger and younger ages?

      1. What good are you if you are only going to point in the direction of righteous action? Hand me a rifle and bayonet, and lead the charge!

  21. This seems to be part of a pattern in which DHS seizes and shuts down blocks of domains with little due process, though it’s more commonly done in copyright investigations.

    Investigations are hard.

  22. What’s the deal with Radley’s site?

  23. I’m sure that stern lecture from Hillary and Barack about internet freedom will soon be redirected from iraq and egypt to DHS.

    1. Just you wait! I’ll make Egypt look like a freedom-lovers’ paradise…

  24. You see why we need Net Neutrality? You see now?

    1. Agreed, this is a perfectly example of why we need to put the fox in charge of the henhouse.

  25. They took down the site I watch the future 2011 NBA Champions, my Golden State Warriors as well as English darts – I am pissed.

  26. Better That 84,000 Be Libeled Than 10 Go Free

    Wiggum: “I’d rather let a thousand men go free than chase after them.”

  27. Damn. Been trying to do this for years.

  28. Also, let’s be precise — we’re talking about 84,000 sites on the mooo.com domain, not 84,000 domains as Mr Balko implies.

  29. It should also be pointed out that it’s difficult to consider seizing websites as “cracking down,” as the content is usually saved somewhere and getting a domain and hosting are incredibly simple. So they in essence libelled 83,990 websites while the 10 sites they actually meant to shut down will easily just move to another address.

  30. The website I used to stream live sporting events, atdhe.net, was also nabbed by the ICE.

    Probably justly though…

  31. This would never happen if we had a Democratic Adminitration running things. Oh, wait…

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