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Re: <nettime> indymedia servers in UK seized by FBI
John Young on Sun, 10 Oct 2004 12:22:33 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> indymedia servers in UK seized by FBI


This matter is far from settled. Rackspace appears to have acted 
precipitiously in response to a US court order to act on servers located 
in the UK, ostensibly under a treaty for mutual aid in law enforcement. 
Initiation was by Switzerland to attempt to protect two of its undercover 
police monitoring a demo in Italy. The two were photographed and their 
photos posted on an Indymedia site in France. Switzerland asked for 
Italian assistance, and the two in turn asked for US and UK assistance. 
This multi-nation cooperation is covered by the mutual assistance treaty.

The FBI has stated that it has no investigation of the matter, that it 
only served to convey the Swiss/Italian mutual assistance request to the 
US company and its UK subsidiary. The US company apparently did not 
contest the court order, and claims in a statement that it acted as "a 
good corporation."

This is not unprecedented. Some years ago several US ISPs removed material 
on sites at the request of foreign governments. They acted unilaterally, 
without court order, merely upon the request of the governments. Some of 
these incidents were made public, competing ISPs offered to refuse to 
abide such requests, and customers abandoned those who cooperated with the 
authorities.

This method can be used against Rackspace. Indeed, it is likely that 
Rackspace awaits public outcry, and customers leaving, in order to have 
grounds to resist the thinly justified action in this case.

Recall that the US DoJ is regularly bluffing and faking its attack on 
alleged terrorist suspects and political dissidents. Other countries are 
following the US in this vile practice. They cover for each other with 
these obnoxious mutual assistance treaties, in which fingers are pointed 
after the dirty deeds are done.

In this case, US law has been trashed by the treaties, and the FBI 
laughably says it had no say. That the US must break its law in order to 
get other countries to break theirs in exchange. Shell gamism, and worse 
likely to come unless there is loud, strong and lasting protest.

There should be a campaign to boycott Rackspace, then on to other targets 
yet to be identified. US ISPs should join the protest on their own behalf 
and that of their customers. First off, there must be a challenge to keep 
confidential orders from governments to hand over customer information.




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