US Homeland Security mistakenly seizes British ad agency's website

A Brighton-based ad agency is scratching its collective head after its website was effectively seized by US Homeland Security.

The agency stopped receiving external emails and turned to its IT support company Ingenious for an answer. They discovered that anyone trying to visit the company website – – met a landing page with America's Department of Justice, Homeland Security and New York Police Department logos and the stern message:

This domain name has been seized by ICE-Homeland Security Investigations, pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

US cops had seized control of the site's name servers so they could redirect traffic to their landing page, as well as snaffle emails. The agency received no warning and has still not received an explanation.

Ingenious said: "We've never seen anything like this and to do it without any prior contact, or even the most cursory investigation, is pretty bad. And then hold it to ransom until you signed a form. As to why, it's anyone's guess, although I suspect clerical error or someone just not paying attention to what they were doing."

Jason Triandafyllou, director at Designate, finally got hold of a special agent at Homeland Security and discovered the site had been seized as part of an investigation into illegal prostitution.

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