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…

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Comments on “Is Pretending Your Domain Name Has Been Seized By ICE The New Rickroll?”

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57 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

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.

You really are sounding desperate at this point in your attempts to discredit the seizures. The fact that a few people are making a joke about being seized in no way necessarily means that the seizures haven’t been a massive success in informing the public. From my perspective, you’re the one looking like a “total joke, ripe for mocking.” Is this the best stuff you can come up with?

Anonymous Coward (user link) says:

Sinister

The federal government may have put all those sites up and claimed they were seized and started reporting that these claims were bogus to make people think that all domain name seizure claims are bogus. It waters down the attention given to the real sites seized if people have to focus their attention to faked seizures, which helps water down the importance of the real seizures.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“The fact that a few people are making a joke about being seized in no way necessarily means that the seizures haven’t been a massive success in informing the public.”

Hahaha! HAha…oh.

Try this: head on out to your local supermarket and politely ask several random people if they’ve heard about this ‘ICE website seizure’ thing, see what they have to say on the subject.

After they ask you what the hell ‘ICE’ is.

A Monkey with Atitude (profile) says:

Re:

Do you shills even try any more? seriously to the rest of the world and internet, your a joke, the RIAA Big JOKE, CopyMaximist – JOKE – ProtectIP – BIGGEST JOKE YET….

Let me in on a little secret – The tighter you squeeze that iron hand you call copyright and IP – the more and more of us slip away… and the more people start to think (the one thing you fear)…

Brandon (profile) says:

Re:

I beg to differ. In my area (Orlando, FL) asking about “ICE websites seizures” get more “what’s a website” than “who’s ICE” responses. I don’t know about where you live but ICE is extremely well known for doing impromptu pull-overs in my area asking for “papers.”

Actually, a lot of people probably wouldn’t be surprised. You hear about ICE at least every other day on the news here.

Just adding a little perspective to the “what the hell ICE is” comment. Outside of the domain seizures.

Brandon (profile) says:

I can actually see people getting “obstruction of justice” charges for faking ICE seizures. Government doesn’t like being wrongly accused for something anymore than the average person. Enough people try fake seizures trying to water down the discussion (trying to make people think most seizures are fake, invalid, whatever) and someone will notice and start keeping track. I’m trying to find case-law of a similar thing I read related to wrongful seizure claims. I remember seeing something about a (dope) dealer in town getting busted for claiming to an undercover that he’s been busted when in fact he hadn’t. If I remember correctly it got pretty far before it got dropped in lieu of a few more serious charges but it sparked some debate here in Florida year or so ago.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I think that people are attempting to make a joke out of the seizures specifically because they have been effective, they hurt, they may have changed at least some of the public’s perception of the issue, and so on. If it didn’t hit home, they wouldn’t be bothering.

ICE won this round, and the sour grapes bunch of kids is trying to act like it’s a joke, even though they can’t sit down because they are all butt hurt over it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Interesting point, Brandon. Round these parts, ICE is frozen water to most – what it would have to do with websites or a gov’t. agency would likely elude them. I’d wager, however, that even explaining that ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement would not clarify matters in regard to websites that have nothing to do with immigration or customs.

Thanks for the insight!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I dunno how you can say they’ve been effective when a) many of these sites merely moved domains or b) at least a few of the seizures may and will be challenged in court.

Hurt? Yes. Though not who you think it’s hurting. I’d reckon ICE and the rightsholder industry are taking more of a beating if their actions are viewed as a joke or a way to garner publicity for a website owner. How effective are those seizures now?

Don’t count on changes to public perception to swing only one way, either. Public’s pretty big, and not just a few will see these seizures as questionable or outright wrong, especially when a false seizure of 84,000 websites – all falsely accused of participating in child porn – is just as publicized.

Why are they bothering? At this point, I couldn’t tell you, but that’s just me.

aldestrawk says:

Re:

Are those impromptu pull-overs ICE agents detaining someone driving on a highway? Impromptu suggests arbitrary, in that there may not be reasonable suspicion. ICE certainly has the ability to do this on the border (and airports for international flights). I remember reading somewhere that random searches can be done anywhere within 20 miles of the border. I am curious if that power is being used in the Orlando area.

Brandon (profile) says:

Re:

I’m not sure the extent of it and you are right the terminology is wrong as I don’t know the intent or outcomes of officers pull over people. I do know I’ve seen border patrol in Central Florida (they frequent the turnpike quite often). My understanding is they were allowed to operate up to 100mi from actual borders which I figured why I saw them so far inland in central Florida. I’ve seen them pull over a lot of people when I drive the turnpike daily from Ocala to Orlando to go to work but I don’t know the capacity of border patrol doing the work. It could be that 5% is actual border related activities and the rest is just general police work that they are helping out with.

Lately theres been an uptick in ICE/Board Patrol in Orlando in the past 6mo or so but I’ve seen a huge surge in the turnpike on my own over the past couple of years. Back in ’09 it was a border patrol car every month and before I moved back to Orlando from Ocala it was 3-4 times a week in multiple locations.

I can see border patrol around Orlando International Airport but beyond that it doesn’t make much sense to me.

FuzzyDuck says:

Re:

[quote]The fact that a few people are making a joke about being seized in no way necessarily means that the seizures haven’t been a massive success in informing the public.[/quote]

Consider the public informed that the government is happy to violate the constitution and that pre-trial punishment is now the norm in the US of A (oh wait it’s even punishment *without* trial).

Yeah looks like a massive success in destroying the last remnants of trust people had in the system of government.

Lauriel (profile) says:

Re:

You’re right, the ICE seizures were very effective. I’d never heard of many of the sites they seized before, now I have. I even visited some of the sites once they’d come back online (not a long wait). Not to mention the creation of MAFIAAFire and the subsequent attention it got.

ICE’s domain seizures have been a very successful advertising campaign.

And, sorry to say, not 15, and not living in a basement.

ottermaton says:

logos and seals

“…federal government gets all upset when you use their various logos and seals without permission…”

It was my understanding (please correct me if I’m wrong) is that the pranksters were setting up a redirect that pointed to ICE’s actual site. If that’s the case, no one is actually using the logo/seal other than ICE itself who own and operate the site.

Of course, I’m sure they’ll bend the law in some way to make it work in their favor, like they always do.

Ron Rezendes (profile) says:

Re:

“I think that people are attempting to make a joke out of the seizures specifically because they have been effective, they hurt, they may have changed at least some of the public’s perception of the issue, and so on. If it didn’t hit home, they wouldn’t be bothering.”

Denial – it’s not just a river in Egypt.

Actually, I find it hard to believe YOUR post mostly because the first two words “I think…” don’t seem to match up to the rest of the post. People such as yourself frighten me far more than everyday criminals and terrorists, because you can’t fix stupid!

Anonymous Coward says:

logos and seals

Heh, I use it as deterrent. People jump to your main page, see it, and run away as fast as possible without thinking of trying to do bad stuff… and when you site is actually hidden in deeper subdirs/subdomains, it works nicely. No linking to them, obviously. You won’t get MY traffic for FREE, you THIEVES.

aldestrawk says:

Re:

So, the law allows warrantless searches within a reasonable distance from the border (100 air miles which includes any ocean borders 12 miles from land). There are restrictions on this that the ACLU link doesn’t mention.

“A search at the border?s functional equivalent is constitutionally valid when: (1) a reasonable
certainty exists that the person or thing crossed the border; (2) a reasonable certainty exists that
there was no change in the object of the search since it crossed the border; and (3) the search was
conducted as soon as practicable after the border crossing.”

The above test pretty much eliminates the Orlando area. There is also an exception for ICE or CBP to enter private property (but not buildings) within 25 miles of the border. I had been under the delusion that Orlando was closer to the coast, but this exception also does not apply to Orlando area. Finally, ICE can question or detain individuals anywhere in the U.S. to determine, for example, if aliens have a right to be in the U.S.. It is not clear to me if this includes the ability to stop a vehicle to ask questions. Apparently, this does not allow them to search a vehicle which involves the same restrictions for all law enforcement officers.

From: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RL31826.pdf

16 INA ? 287(a)(3), 8 U.S.C. ? 1357(a)(3). This statute also authorizes searches without warrant ?within a reasonable distance from any external boundary of the United States.? Reasonable distance is defined by 8 C.F.R. ? 287.1(a)(2) to mean ?within 100 air miles from any external boundary of the United States or any shorter distance which may be fixed by the chief patrol agent of CBP, or the special agent in charge of ICE.? External boundary is defined by 8 C.F.R. ?287.1(a)(1) to mean ?the land boundaries and the territorial sea of the United States extending 12 nautical miles from the baselines of the United States determined in accordance with international law

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