On Friday, February 11, 2011, the United States government made another huge domain seizure. The Cyber Crime Centers of ICE seized a slew of domains acting on behalf of “Operation Save Our Children,” an anti-child pornography initiative. ICE acquired a seizure warrant via a District Court judge and presented it to the domain registrars, requiring them to point the DNS entries of the seized sites to the threatening-looking banner shown below.
As has become all too common with these types of seizures however, a mistake was made and innocent sites were targeted. In this case, a domain called mooo.com, belonging to the large DNS service provider FreeDNS was seized. This rolled down into 84,000 innocent subdomains–mainly personal pages and small businesses–which were also wrongly accused of child pornography. This issue was not remedied until Sunday, and even then it took three days for all of the DNS records to propagate back towards the original site contents.
More amazing than the giant screw-up is the utter lack of acknowledgment from the Department of Homeland Security. In an issued press release, DHS focuses solely on their victory of removing ten offending domains in the seizure, with no mention of the glaring error and the damage it may have caused.