Is Pretending Your Domain Name Has Been Seized By ICE The New Rickroll?
from the meme-me dept
Back during the February domain seizures by ICE, before ICE had officially announced which domains had been seized, we saw some stories that named a few of the sites. So we contacted one of the administrators for one of the sites in question, which showed the “seized” graphic on it, asking about the guy’s intentions and how he would respond. We got back a really bizarre answer, and I began to to suspect that the guy was messing with us. That turned out to be the case, as ICE officially listed the sites and that guy’s site wasn’t included. Miraculously, his site went back to being the same old blog it was before, a few days later. Then, for April Fools, we were actually inundated with sites telling us they had been seized by ICE and we didn’t run any of those stories, knowing they were bogus. Recently, that’s been happening more and more often. There was the story about some conspiracy theory guy claiming his site had been seized by ICE, after being hacked and having infringing works uploaded. That turned out not to be true. And now, there’s a story about the hacking group LulzSecurity made their own website look like it had been seized by ICE.
Both of these later stories involved bewildered ICE spokespeople trying to figure out why the press was calling them and insisting that no such domains had been seized at all.
But all of this makes me wonder if “my site’s been seized by ICE” is becoming a meme, a la the rickroll, in which sites looking for attention suddenly pretend that they were seized by ICE. At best, this seems to suggest that, for all of ICE’s insistence that this program has been a massive success in “informing” the public, an awful lot of people associate the ICE seizures with being a total joke, ripe for mocking. It certainly seems to detract from the message that ICE is trying to send. Separately, this does make me wonder if one of these pranks is going to get someone in trouble at some point. It’s pretty silly, but the federal government gets all upset when you use their various logos and seals without permission…