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FBI Seizes IMC Servers in the UK

FBI Seizes IMC Servers in the UK


From: http://www.indymedia.org/en/2004/10/111999.shtml and press release at http://www.indymedia.it/press_release_en.html
See also…

FBI took the hard drives of IMC servers in the UK


From: http://www.indymedia.org/en/2004/10/111987.shtml

Thursday morning, US authorities issued a federal order to Rackspace ordering them to hand over Indymedia web servers to the requesting agency. Rackspace, which provides hosting services for more that 20 Indymedia sites at its London facility, complied and turned over the requested servers, effectively removing those sites from the internet.

Since the subpoena was issued to Rackspace and not to Indymedia, the reasons for this action are still unknown to Indymedia. Talking to Indymedia volunteers, Rackspace stated that "they cannot provide Indymedia with any information regarding the order." ISPs have received gag orders in similar situations which prevent them from updating the concerned parties on what is happening.

It is unclear to Indymedia how and why a server that is outside the US jurisdiction can be seized by US authorities.

At the same time an additional server was taken down at Rackspace which provided streaming radio to several radio stations, BLAG (linux distro), and a handful of miscellanous things.

The last few months have seen numerous attacks on independent media by the US Federal Government. In August the Secret Service used a subpoena in an attempt to disrupt the NYC IMC before the RNC by trying to get IP logs from an ISP in the US and the Netherlands. Last month the FCC shut down community radio stations around the US. Two weeks ago the FBI requested that Indymedia takes down a post on the Nantes IMC that had a photo of some undercover Swiss police and IMC volunteers in Seattle were visited by the FBI on the same issue. On the other hand, Indymedia and other independent media organisations were successfull with their victories for example against Diebold and the Patroit Act. Today however, the US authorities shut down IMCs around the world.

The list of affected local media collectives includes Ambazonia, Uruguay, Andorra, Poland, Western Massachusetts, Nice, Nantes, Lilles, Marseille (all France), Euskal Herria (Basque Country), Liege, East and West Vlaanderen, Antwerpen (all Belgium), Belgrade, Portugal, Prague, Galiza, Italy, Brazil, UK, part of the Germany site, and the global Indymedia Radio site.


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FURTHER BACKGROUND

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FBI seizes Global Indymedia Servers. Reasons Unknown


by Sascha Meinrath
07 Oct 2004 Modified: 03:56:13 PM
From: http://www.ucimc.org/feature/display/20764/index.php

FBI took the hard drives of Global IMC servers in the USA and the UK. It appears that a court order was issued to Rackspace (Indymedia's service provider with offices in the US and in London) to physically remove the hard drives from Global Indymedia servers (backup servers are now in place). Rackspace was given no time to defend against the order before it was acted upon and turned over the hard drives, both in the US and the UK. The servers hosted numerous local IMCs and the reason for the seizure is not known.

The FBI's latest anti-free-press actions began at the beginning of October when they visited Indymedia's ISP demanding the removal of identifying information from photographs of undercover police officers that was posted on the Nantes Indymedia website. When asked what the US government was doing requesting the removal of information from a French-run website that contained information about Swiss police actions, the FBI stated that this was a "courtesy" to the Swiss government. The FBI agents stated that no laws had been broken, and no crimes had been committed. However, because no identifying information was posted on the website in question, it was unclear what actions the FBI was requesting. FBI took the hard drives of Global IMC servers in the USA and the UK. It appears that a court order was issued to Rackspace (Indymedia's service provider with offices in the US and in London) to physically remove the hard drives from Global Indymedia servers (backup servers are now in place). Rackspace was given no time to defend against the order before it was acted upon and turned over the hard drives, both in the US and the UK. The servers hosted numerous local IMCs and the reason for the seizure is not known.

The FBI's latest anti-free-press actions began at the beginning of October when they visited Indymedia's ISP demanding the removal of identifying information from photographs of undercover police officers that was posted on the Nantes Indymedia website. When asked what the US government was doing requesting the removal of information from a French-run website that contained information about Swiss police actions, the FBI stated that this was a "courtesy" to the Swiss government. The FBI agents stated that no laws had been broken, and no crimes had been committed. However, because no identifying information was posted on the website in question, it was unclear what actions the FBI was requesting.

The article in question is/was posted here:

http://nantes.indymedia.org/article.php3?id_article=3910

On Tuesday October 5th, Indymedia received the following message from Rackspace:

"I apologize for the delay in responding. I have been trying to get a hold of the FBI agent I spoke with before, but haven't been able to at this time. As the request originated with the Swiss police, I can only speculate on what they saw or what they were concerned about. However, at this time, I have received no further communications from either the FBI or the Swiss authorities, so I feel like we can close this this issue."

Today the FBI seized Global Indymedia servers; however it is unclear if this is related to the Nantes issue or is a second FBI concern within the past week.

(14:20) Rackspace has issued a "no comment" response concerning the FBI's actions.

(15:25) New list of IMCs affected: ambazonia, uruguay, andorra, pl, wester mass, radio, uk, antwerpen, nice, nantes, lille, euskalherria, liege, oost-vlaanderen, belgrade, west-vlaanderen, portugal, prague, marseille, galiza, basque, germany media, italy, and brasil.

(16:10) Rackspace has issued the following comments:

I have been in contact with the regional director responsible for the federal order. He has stated that I can not provide any information regarding the order. I am going to follow up with our law enforcement liason to verify this, however.

Regards,

Jennifer O'Connell
Rackspace AUP

***

Unfortunately, we have received a federal order to provide your hardware to the requesting agency. We are complying at this time. Our datacenter technicians are building you a new server which will be online as soon as possible. Your account manager will notify you once the new server is online and available.

I apologize for abruptness of this. However, we are required to comply with all federal orders of this nature.

Please let us know if there is anything that we can do to make this easier on you.

Regards,

Jennifer O'Connell
AUP Administrator
Rackspace Managed Hosting

***

(16:45) The story has hit slashdot:

http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/04/10/07/204217.shtml?tid=153&tid=219

(16:55) Original photos are now available here:

http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/mtoups/nantes/copsinnantes.htm

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