ASACP Prevails in Domain Name Dispute
LOS ANGELES (July 7, 2011) — The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) is pleased to announce that victory has been achieved in its battle against a spoof website reportedly involved in fraudulent activities while misrepresenting itself as ASACP.
Earlier this year, reports emerged that the operators of the domain asacp.co.uk — an entity unaffiliated with ASACP — were emailing adult website operators and hosting companies, claiming that illegal child pornography (CP) was found on their services. The emails were ostensibly signed by ASACP’s former CEO, while the asacp.co.uk domain redirected to the association’s website, www.asacp.org, making the threatening letters seem official.
ASACP’s hosting company immediately placed a referrer block on asacp.co.uk, redirecting all traffic from the bogus domain to a “forbidden” page, instead of to the ASACP website.
The association learned about the scam when it was contacted directly by a webmaster who had received one of the fraudulent emails.
“ASACP did not own asacp.co.uk and never sends such emails to individuals or owners of suspected CP websites,” stated ASACP Executive Director Tim Henning. “We forward all confirmed reports of suspect CP directly to law enforcement and other international hotlines, rather than ‘tip-off’ criminal website operators.”
The association conducted a thorough investigation of the matter, which included identifying other websites hosted under the same IP address as the asacp.co.uk domain. This information was provided to the FBI through the Internet Crime Complaint Center, IC3.gov.
An analysis of the fraudulent domain’s registrant information also revealed a surprise that may have ultimately worked against the scammers.
“The asacp.co.uk domain name was bogusly registered under the name ‘Jane Harman,’ the U.S. Congressional leader who honored ASACP for its Restricted To Adults (RTA) website labeling initiative,” Henning stated. “ASACP provided the results of its investigation and the IC3 case number to her California and Washington staff, prompting a speedier investigation.”
“As expected, the independent expert who was assigned by Nominet to decide our domain dispute has found that ASACP has a legitimate interest in the asacp.co.uk domain name, and that the prior registrant does not,” stated Marc John Randazza of the Randazza Legal Group (www.randazza.com), which handled the case for ASACP pro bono. “As such, we are pleased to report that the domain name will be transferred to you.”
“It was a privilege and an honor to assist ASACP,” Attorney Randazza added, noting that he will continue to monitor the domain transfer process.
“Thanks to the efforts of the Randazza Legal Group, a clear message has been sent to those seeking to damage ASACP’s good name,” Henning stated. “With its European expansion well underway, it was vital for ASACP to end the confusion and fraud this scam was causing. Securing the asacp.co.uk domain ends this attack and paves the way for ASACP’s increasing outreach in the U.K. and beyond.”
“ASACP is very grateful for the assistance of those that donate their professional services,” Henning concluded. “We wish to thank the Randazza Legal Group for their hard work with this case.”
Founded in 1996, ASACP is a non-profit organization dedicated to online child protection.
ASACP is comprised of two separate corporate entities, the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection and the ASACP Foundation. The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization. ASACP manages a membership program that provides resources to companies in order to help them protect children online. The ASACP Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The ASACP Foundation battles child pornography through its CP Reporting Hotline and helps parents prevent children from viewing age-restricted material online with its Restricted To Adults (RTA) website label (www.rtalabel.org). ASACP has invested nearly 15 years in developing progressive programs to protect children, and its relationship in assisting the adult industry’s child protection efforts is unparalleled. For more information, visit www.asacp.org.