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<nettime> Fwd: Endorsement of civil society statement
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<nettime> Fwd: Endorsement of civil society statement


-------- Original-Nachricht --------
Betreff: 	[Imc-africa] Endorsement of civil society statement
Datum: 	Fri, 20 Apr 2012 12:59:20 -0400
Von: 	Mallory Knodel <mallory {AT} mayfirst.org>

Included in this message is a statement from civil society organizations 
denouncing actions by the US government and a press release issued by 
the affected organizations. Please forward to your networks and send 
your endorsements to mallory {AT} apc.org before Monday night April 23rd.
**

*Progressive internet rights organisations strongly denounce attack on 
anonymous online speech by US government*

The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and the following 
endorsing organisations strongly denounce recent actions by US Federal 
Authorities that threaten a democratic internet, silencing hundreds of 
users around the world for the misuse of anonymous internet services by 
one person.

This week, three politically-progressive internet service providers and 
hundreds of their users were attacked by the US Federal Bureau of 
Investigation for supporting the use of the internet by anonymous users. 
>From their joint press release:

"On Wednesday, April 18, at approximately 16:00 Eastern Time, U.S. 
Federal authorities removed a server from a colocation facility shared 
by Riseup Networks and May First/People Link in New York City, a 
statement by the service provider reads. The seized server was operated 
by the European Counter Network ("ECN"), the oldest independent internet 
service provider in Europe, who, among many other things, provided an 
anonymous remailer service, Mixmaster, that was the target of an FBI 
investigation into the bomb threats against the University of Pittsburgh."

At this time in history when the internet is under increased 
surveillance and control by repressive governments around the world, the 
seizure of email servers in New York by FBI agents sends out a clear 
signal that democratic governments are ready to arbitrarily circumvent 
the rule of law.

Jamie McClelland, director of May First/People Link said, "We cannot 
stop malicious anonymous e-mail without also destroying the ability to 
use anonymous e-mail for beneficial purposes. According to the news, the 
bomb threats continue to arrive at University of Pittsburgh after this 
outrageous seizure. There is no positive outcome to this action by the FBI."

The FBI has effectively shut down service to hundreds of users and their 
harsh actions can only be interpreted as threatening to anonymous use of 
the internet. "Like other anonymizing services such as the TOR network, 
these remailers are widely used to protect the identity of human rights 
activists who place themselves and their families in grave danger by 
reporting information about abuses, the ISP statement continues. 
Remailers are also important for corporate whistle blowers, democracy 
activists working under repressive regimes, and others to communicate 
vital information that would otherwise go un-reported."

"Such heavy-handed interventions by governments are a violation of US 
communication law and internet rights, as defined by the Internet Rights 
Charter, and we call on government leaders to stop these attacks on 
civil society and internet users' rights," stressed APC executive 
director, Anriette Esterhuysen.

We stand with May First/People Link, Riseup, and the European Counter 
Network against these attacks on users of the internet who depend on 
anonymous communication.

If you wish to endorse this statement please send your name and 
organisation (if applicable) to mallory {AT} apc.org with "Endorsement" in 
the subject line.

Signed,

**===**

*FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*

*Contacts:*
Riseup Networks <https://riseup.net/>, Devin Theriot-Orr, 
206-708-8740,sunbird {AT} riseup.net <mailto:sunbird {AT} riseup.net>
May First/People Link <https://mayfirst.org/>, Jamie McClelland, 
917-509-5734,jm {AT} mayfirst.org <mailto:jm {AT} mayfirst.org>
ECN: Isole Nella Rete,inr {AT} riseup.net <mailto:inr {AT} riseup.net>

On Wednesday, April 18, at approximately 16:00 ET, U.S. Federal 
authorities removed a server from a colocation facility shared by Riseup 
Networks and May First/People Link in New York City.

The seized server was operated by the European Counter Network ("ECN"), 
the oldest independent internet service provider in Europe, who, among 
many other things, provided an anonymous remailer service, Mixmaster, 
that was the target of an FBI investigation into the bomb threats 
against the University of Pittsburgh.

"The company running the facility has confirmed that the server was 
removed in conjunction with a search warrant issued by the FBI," said 
May First/People Link director Jamie McClelland. "The server seizure is 
not only an attack against us, but an attack against all users of the 
Internet who depend on anonymous communication."

Disrupted in this seizure were academics, artists, historians, feminist 
groups, gay rights groups, community centers, documentation and software 
archives and free speech groups. The server included the mailing list 
"cyber rights" (the oldest discussion list in Italy to discuss this 
topic), a Mexican migrant solidarity group, and other groups working to 
support indigenous groups and workers in Latin America, the Caribbean 
and Africa. In total, over 300 email accounts, between 50-80 email 
lists, and several other websites have been taken off the Internet by 
this action. None are alleged to be involved in the anonymous bomb threats.

"The FBI is using a sledgehammer approach, shutting down service to 
hundreds of users due to the actions of one anonymous person," said 
Devin Theriot-Orr, a spokesperson for Riseup. "This is particularly 
misguided because there is unlikely to be any information on the server 
regarding the source of the threatening emails."

"We sympathize with the University of Pittsburgh community who have had 
to deal with this frightening disruption for weeks. We oppose such 
threatening actions. However, taking this server won't stop these bomb 
threats. The only effect it has is to also disrupt e-mail and websites 
for thousands of unrelated people," continues Mr. Theriot-Orr. 
"Furthermore, the network of anonymous remailers that exists is not 
harmed by taking this machine. So we cannot help but wonder why such 
drastic action was taken when authorities knew that the server contained 
no useful information that would help in their investigation."

The FBI purportedly seized the server because it was hosting an 
anonymous remailer calledMixmaster <http://mixmaster.sourceforge.net/>. 
Anonymous remailers are used to send email anonymously, or 
pseudonymously. Like other anonymizing services such as the Tor network, 
these remailers are widely used to protect the identity of human rights 
activists who place themselves and their families in grave danger by 
reporting information about abuses. Remailers are also important for 
corporate whistle blowers, democracy activists working under repressive 
regimes, and others to communicate vital information that would 
otherwise go un-reported.

TheMixmaster <http://mixmaster.sourceforge.net/>software is specifically 
designed to make it impossible for anyone to trace the emails. The 
system does not record logs of connections, details of who sent 
messages, or how they were routed. This is because theMixmaster 
<http://mixmaster.sourceforge.net/>network is specifically designed to 
resist censorship, and support privacy and anonymity. Unfortunately, 
some people misuse the network. However, compared to the rate of 
legitimate use, the abuse rate is very low. There is therefore no 
legitimate purpose for the FBI to seize this server because they will 
not be able to obtain any information about the sender. This is plainly 
extrajudicial punishment and an attack on free speech and anonymity on 
the internet and serves as a chilling effect on others providers of 
anonymous remailers or other anonymous services.

===

*ADDITIONAL INFORMATION*

PR in Espa?ol <https://mayfirst.org/es/el-fbi-decomiso-un-servidor>

Statement from May First/People Link: 
https://mayfirst.org/fbi-attacks-anonymous-speech

MayFirst/People Link (mayfirst.org) is a politically-progressive 
member-run and controlled organization that redefines the concept of 
"Internet Service Provider" in a collective and collaborative way. May 
First/People Link's members are organizers and activists who elect a 
Leadership Committee to direct the organization. Like a coop, members 
pay dues, buy equipment and then share that equipment for websites, 
email, email lists, and other Internet purposes.

Riseup Networks (riseup.net) provides online communication tools for 
people and groups working on liberatory social change. Riseup creates 
democratic alternatives and practices self-determination by controlling 
our own secure means of communications.

ECN (European Counter Network -- ecn.org) is the oldest independent 
service provider in Europe providing free email accounts, mailing lists, 
and websites to organizations, activists, and movements that are 
involved in human rights, freedom of speech and information in Italy and 
Europe. ECN is anti-fascist and works towards a just and equal society. 
Years ago, before sites like Youtube and Vimeo existed, ECN created a 
platform called NGV where people could upload and share independent 
video of human rights violations. Nowadays ECN works primarily with 
anti-fascist and anti-Nazi movements in all of Europe, providing space 
and resources to political and social centers.


-- 
Mallory Knodel

May First/People Link Leadership
...Growing Networks to Build a Just World...

mayfirst.org
malloryknodel.net/blog


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