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Published on Thursday, February 27, 2020

Prostitution probe mix-up leads to Designate's website being suspended by US special agents

An investigation by President Trump's Department of Homeland Security into websites linked with prostitution mistakenly led to the suspension of the website of Designate, the Brighton-based travel advertising specialist.

It was more than a week before the agency managed to get its website and emails back up and running.

It had to provide evidence to persuade a court in New York to rule it was the victim of a case of mistaken identity.

The agency, run by Adam Hill and Jason Triandafyllou, stopped receiving emails on Tuesday February 11 and its domain name was seized.

Its IT support team were baffled when they contacted the domain hosting people and were told they needed to speak to a special agent in the Department of Homeland Security.

Triandafyllou said it sounded like something out of a film

Later that evening he got a call back from a special agent called Timothy Moran.

"You couldn't make it up," said Triandafyllou.

"We had no idea that Uncle Sam had such a long arm, that he can reach out and shut your website down, wherever you are and whatever you do. All because of using a .com domain.

"We have laughed about it (sort of), because it is so bizarre. But the really serious side of it is that we genuinely have no idea what damage this has done to our business, both reputationally and in lost opportunities.

"Our website is our shop window, and even though we don't physically sell things online, it is the first port of call for prospective clients to get an idea of who we are and what we do."


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  • Grateful

    Oh, how well I sleep at night, knowing that law enforcement is in the hands of such ... well, what actually? How incompetent!. New York court? Sue their Ivy League educated thick assests - from here to their NYCHQ and back.

    By Simon Walton, Friday, February 28, 2020

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