U.S. Government's ICE Office Mistakenly Freezes 84,000 Websites

Paul Lilly

In an effort to seize domains involved with counterfeit goods and child pornography, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's ICE office and the The Department of Justice managed to shutter 84,000 legitimate websites, TorrentFreak reports . The gaffe occurred when ICE put the clamp on mooo.com, which belongs to FreeDNS, a free DNS provider. Mooo.com is the largest shared domain at afraid.org.

ICE's blunder put several site owners in an embarrassing position, who were left having to explain to visitors why there was a government placed banner on their site saying the domain had been seized, along with laying out the penalties for child pornography.

"You can rest assured that I have not and would never be found to be trafficking in such distasteful and horrific content," one of the affected customers posted. "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."

The DHS and DOJ issued a joint press release announcing the seizure of 10 domain names of illicit websites as part of its "Operation Protect Our Children," but failed to mentioned the above goof-up.

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