Homeland Security shuts 84,000 websites by mistake in child porn crackdown

February 16, 2011

Shutting down websites which promote or disseminate child pornography is clearly a good thing. But not when 84,000 websites are dragged down with the 10 that are actually being targeted.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday announced it had seized the domains of 10 websites “engaged in the advertisement and distribution of child pornography.” The crackdown was part of Operation Protect Our Children.

However, the press release completely glosses over the fact that 84,000 other websites, innocent of any wrongdoing, were also affected by the crackdown. According to TorrentFreak, the huge error saw thousands of domain owners publicly accused of having links to online child pornography thanks to a banner that all the affected sites were redirected to.

It took two days for the error to be corrected, and a further three days for the banner to disappear completely from the sites. However, the ‘This domain name has been seized by ICE’ message is still showing up in search results.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, said:

For all its positive impact, the Internet has also unfortunately created a new way for child predators to commit their inexcusable crimes. The production and distribution of child pornography wreak havoc on innocent lives. With these domain seizures, we are taking our fight against child pornography to websites that facilitate the exchange of these abusive images.

This is a good endeavor which we can all get behind. But the system of how these websites are targeted and then taken down clearly needs some work. Especially as this isn’t the first time such an error has occurred. Otherwise alongside the minority of sites perpetuating child pornography, thousands more who don’t, never have, and never would, are going to be dragged down with them.

There is also an ongoing argument that these take-downs aren’t being conducted with the proper due process. Which some argue goes against the very basis of the U.S. Constitution. The powers of the government to interfere do indeed appear to be growing, mostly under the umbrella of the terrorist threat. But you do have to wonder how much of this is a smokescreen more about controlling the population.

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11 Responses to “Homeland Security shuts 84,000 websites by mistake in child porn crackdown”

  1. AC:

    Sue the crap out of them for libel.

  2. Dude:

    When Bush put through the “Patriot Act” the leftist media was all over how HE would be abusing it. Did he? So Obama came in. When Obama said he wanted to extend that SAME “Patriot Act”, those same leftist media outlets said not ONE word of protest. So now Eric Holder can disappear your web site with just a single Federal Judge’s signature – it’s simply GONE, REPLACED BY AN ANNOUNCEMENT YOU’RE A PEDOPHILE, Obama has asked the Senate for an internet ‘kill’ switch good for up to 4 months without any Judicial review at all (okay, sure, Susan Collins and Joe Lieberman came up with this on their own without being asked), the FCC wants to ‘regulate’ the internet, and Obama wants everyone to have a unique identifier, so no one can post on blogs anonymously. Hell of a job, Lefties!

  3. Mike D:

    Bush did abuse the patriot act, and now that Obama has extended it the righties are condemning for his abuse of unconstitutional powers that one of their own put in place first and that they touted as the only way to get them terrorists. I believe both sides are controlled by big money so this is a pointless argument. I am amazed at how many republicans think “their sheet don’t stink” and then when the exact same thing is pushed by the other side their all screaming OMG too much government control and power…
    We live in a plutocracy and our politics is a prescripted joke similar to watching wrestling or “reality” tv

  4. Apathy Incarnate:

    Dude:

    I’m sorry you were a fool who was unable to think that legislation through to a future when people you might not like would be in charge, or to its logical outcomes. No, you guys were too afraid of/angry with the foreigners to refuse to sell yourselves out.

    I didn’t like it then, I don’t like it now, and I won’t like it in the future.

  5. E. Nuffall Reddy:

    Deer guvermint peepul,

    I wood like too git a job in yer innernet deepartmint. I kin use AOL an evrthing reel gud.

    Sined,

    Bubba

  6. Ron Hyatt:

    What exactly does child porn have to do with homeland “security”? Homeland Security, all hail the Homeland!

  7. Ron Hyatt:

    “Small white pussy cat for sale. Excellent condition”
    “Pram for sale. Any offers. I’d like a bit of pram please.”

  8. Random Arrow:

    Time for a class action suit me buckos. If you or your commercial business falls victim to this shotgun attack on your personal or business reputation and you do not sue the sh*t out of them you can kiss your self goodbye. The only opportunity you will have to clear your name is to make the zealots PAY for the damage they have done to you. Only when the government pays you for libel, slander and damages to your person or business will you be able to clear your name. “Gee, we made a mistake” from the DHS just won’t cut it!

    Why are they involved anyway? Have they finished looking at terrorists at airports and need something else to do? If so why was I GROPED a month ago?

  9. Dude:

    To “MIKE D” and “APATHY INCARNATE” -Point #1 – the DUDE is most definitely NOT a Republican! DUDE doesn’t trust ANY political party.
    Point #2 – You both are making PRECISELY my argument for me as well, in your own simple little ways, but you don’t UNDERSTAND that you are doing so. MY rant is that you can’t trust ANY President with the kinds of powers I listed, be he Bush, Obama, or Abraham Lincoln, but you Lefties immediately stop complaining as long as the dictatorial power is being held by a practicing socialist! Yet, as APATHY points out, one must “think that legislation through to a future when people YOU might not like would be in charge.”
    Point #3 – MIKE D, you said Bush abused the Patriot Act, but MY listed examples all are happening under Obama. This story ABOVE is about Obama. Where is your criticism of HIM having this power? Where is your demand that he give this power up? Obama will soon enough leave the NEXT President with just that much more power to abuse. I suppose you’re fine with that if he’s a Democrat, but what if he’s not, what then?

  10. child abuse:

    I like the helpful info you supply on your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and check once more here regularly. I’m relatively sure I will be informed many new stuff right right here! Best of luck for the next!

  11. Caleb Kline:

    Nice answer back in return of this difficulty with real arguments and telling everything on the topic of that.|

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