Monday, October 11, 2004

US Government Shuts Down Independent Media?

BBC News is reporting today that a US court order has forced a UK based ISP to turn over servers owned by an "alternative media network known as Indymedia: in this article: US seizes independent media sites.

PC Pro writes
Last week, the FBI obtained a court order involving Rackspace, demanding that the company hand over two Indymedia web servers. Rackspace, which provides hosting services for more that 20 Indymedia sites at its London facility was forced to comply and hand over the requested servers, effectively removing those sites from the Internet.
The full article is available here: Feds seize Indymedia servers in London

I don't know who the heck Indymedia is, but the EFF is already involved, offering legal assistance to Indymedia. Could it be true that our government is shutting down legitimate discourse? According to the PC Pro article "In August the US government attempted to subpoena server logs from the organisation's ISP in the US and the Netherlands before the Republican convention." Perhaps the government thinks that readers of these publications are terrorists?

The Register offers one possible explanation in their article on the matter, Feds seize Indymedia servers.
While Indymedia is not exactly sure what prompted the action, the group does have one strong idea. A French Indymedia site last month posted photos of what it believed to be undercover Swiss police officers photographing protesters at a French event. Indymedia received a request from the FBI to pull those photos down, as they "revealed personal information" about the undercover police, said Indymedia press officer Hep Sano.
According to more information in this story, "Indymedia (AKA Independent Media Center) was set up in 1999 to provide grassroots coverage of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) protests in Seattle." While these opinions may not be popular amongst the majority of US citizens, doesn't our constitution protect these people's right to free speech? Are we witnessing the beginning of a new era of censorship? Is this being done in the name of the "War on Terrorism?" So far, the American authorities have failed to comment. Hopefully tomorrow will bring clarification of the crime that Indymedia is accused of committing.

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance" -- Thomas Jefferson

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