In the last few weeks, Homeland Security's ICE division has once again been seizing servers. TorrentFreak noticed a group of five domains
seized recently, and SD
pointed us to details of five more domains seized
a little over a week earlier. From the domain names, it's clear that ICE is mostly focusing on sites that sell counterfeit goods right now, which is slightly less controversial. Pretty much all of the names (e.g. lacosteshoesmall.com and newerahatss.com) involve some sort of brand name. The site owners are unlikely to protest because they're likely engaged in trademark infringement. However, that doesn't make the legality of simply seizing such domains prior to an adversarial hearing any less questionable. It's just that ICE is doing the same thing that police have been known to do with drug dealers: seize stuff knowing that the people they're taking from don't want to go to court. It basically becomes a license for law enforcement to steal.
Of course, it's highly questionable how effective any of this. Maybe it makes someone sitting in an ICE office excited, but the counterfeiters are still counterfeiting and still selling their goods. Hiding their website doesn't do much to stop anything. But perhaps a bigger question is why ICE isn't hyping up these seizures? Perhaps it's trying to avoid all of the backlash when it screws up?