Home > News > U.S. Government Snafu Shuts Down 84,000 Websites • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options


U.S. Government Snafu Shuts Down 84,000 Websites

U.S. Government Snafu Shuts Down 84,000 Websites
Get XBIZ News
Feb 17, 2011 9:00 AM PST    Text size: 
CYBERSPACE — The Department of Justice and Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division erroneously shut down 84,000 websites and seized domains last week in what it believed to be a crackdown on child porn and counterfeit goods.

But the government failed to realize that one of the targeted domains belonged to FreeDNS provider’s mooo.com that hosted most of the innocent sites.

Only 10 of the 84 affected sites were reportedly on the original hit list.

FreeDNS immediately responded to the takedown and issued the following statement, "Last night on Friday February 11th at around 9:30 PM PST mooo.com (the most popular shared domain at afraid.org) was suspended at the registrar level. There is no ETA at this time. Due to the way propagation works it will take three days for a restoration to take effect. 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.’”

The affected operators had a visible notice placed on their sites that read, “Advertisement, distribution, transportation, receipt, and possession of child pornography constitute federal crimes that carry penalties for first time offenders of up to 30 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution.”

ICE reportedly 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. But a snafu caused the seizure of the DNS service that resulted in the massive shutdown.

Although the error was mostly corrected by Sunday, many of the warning labels continued to appear in search results and the damaging accusations have caused serious concern to site owners.

One owner said, “You can rest assured that I have not and would never be found to be trafficking in such distasteful and horrific content. 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.”

Despite the huge snafu, the Department of Homeland Security issued a press release lauding its efforts for taking down 10 domains and making no mention of the mistake.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said, “Each year, far too many children fall prey to sexual predators and all too often, these heinous acts are recorded in photos and on video and released on the Internet.”

She added, “DHS is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to shut down websites that promote child pornography to protect these children from further victimization.”

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !


Legal Protection for Amateur Shoots

Any adult industry professional who creates video content with actual first-time amateurs will come to an early knowledge that later performer regret is commonplace. Recognized performers who regularly... More »

Legal Options to Address Pirated Cam Performances

Many webcam performers have experienced a new trend in online piracy — the illegal recording and publication of live webcam performances. The “business model” is disturbingly simple:... More »

A Retrospective on the Adult Industry’s Tall Climb

As certainly the oldest member of the current adult-industry Fourth Estate, and having written for many adult publications, some of which no longer exist, I write this in the first person which, if you... More »
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.

Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Access the latest issues of the industry's leading trade publications in digital form. View online or download for offline viewing.



Nov 04 - Nov 06
Edison, New Jersey

2016 Inked Awards

Nov 05 - Nov 05
Edison, New Jersey

XBIZ 2017

Jan 09 - Jan 13
Hollywood, CA

XBIZ Awards 2017

Jan 12 - Jan 12
Los Angeles, CA
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!