Websites Seized By ICE Already Coming Back Online

Earlier today, we reported on the raids conducted by ICE which seized over 70 domains online. Just hours after the seizure though, it appears that some of the websites that were seized are already coming back online.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

“ICE office of Homeland Security Investigations executed court-ordered seizure warrants against a number of domain names,” said Cori W. Bassett, a spokeswoman for ICE, in a statement. “As this is an ongoing investigation, there are no additional details available at this time.”

It’s strong words without giving away many details, but clearly, it’s meant to show that authorities can shut down websites they deem to be illegal. What exactly does ICE mean by seizing a domain? Effectively, typing in a URL is really just a name easy to remember. What the domain does is point users to a server which is typically an IP address. Now, if users type in a specific URL that was seized by ICE, they are forwarded to a different server. The site itself is still in-tact.

What these seizures really means for some of these website owners is a minor nuisance more than anything else. In one particular case, RMX4U, a website that brands itself as a site devoted to black music, has already come back online as That’s right, just hours after the domain was seized, some are already coming back online.

So the question arises, what has really been accomplished with these seizures? Lets use the metaphor of a party. These partiers want more people to come join that party. So, they put a sign on the highway saying that there is a party going on (the domain name). Authorities eventually caught wind of this party and considers that party illegal. So they send a few police officers down and seize the sign pointing to the party and call it a day. Meanwhile, the people at the party discover that their sign was ripped down and replaced with a sign that says that such a party is bad as suggested by authorities. So, these organizers walk a few hundred meters down the highway and plant another sign next to the highway (which is a lot like what RMX4U has done in this case) and the party basically continues on as usual.

It’s hard to say if any further action will be taken, but so far, these seizures are not doing a good job at trying to crack down on piracy.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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