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Indymedia Server Seized By UK Police, Again

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the keep-calm-and-carry-on dept.

Censorship 528

timbrown writes with word that "On 22 January 2009, Kent Police seized an Indymedia server hosted by Manchester-based colocation facility UK Grid and run by the alternative news platform Indymedia UK. The server was taken in relation to comments on an article regarding the convictions in the recent Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) trial. Seven activists were sentenced to a total of 50 years in prison." The complete story is worth reading; timbrown continues: "I'm posting this as a concerned UK administrator who hosts a number of sites. The message appears to be clear: the UK establishment does not want political content, legitimate or otherwise, hosted from these shores. The message has been noted, however free speech must be supported even where it may not be agreeable."

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528 comments

so much for (5, Interesting)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605385)

freedom of speech..

btw I run a site along the lines and I have an interesting setup, the database server is in one country and the web frontend is in another with secure tunnel between so if someone does a traceroute to the site and then goes datacenter and pulls the server out of rack all they get is a proxy, its far from perfect but at least the database is safe

Re:so much for (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605401)

Thank. You. For. That. Information. Citizen. Closing. All. Encrypted. Tunnels. From. UK. To. Rest. Of. World. Now...

ENJOY YOUR LIBERTY.

Re:so much for (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605429)

Which just leaves the single point of failure. The domain name.
Once the authorities yank that, the distributed server network behind it goes away...at least for a while.

Re:so much for (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605449)

Which just leaves the single point of failure. The domain name. Once the authorities yank that, the distributed server network behind it goes away...at least for a while.

You can tunnel to an IP address. You can also get domain names from different countries for your front end.

Re:so much for (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605453)

I doubt freedom of speech is in the treaty. I also doubt that Indymedia [google.com.au] are incompetent when it comes to keeping their 'information' safe and accessible.

Your freedom stops when you hit my nose (5, Informative)

afc_wimbledon (1052878) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605523)

From the details available, it appears this may relate to information that could be used to threaten the judge in the SHAC trial, the trial of some pretty unpleasant and violent people http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7837064.stm [bbc.co.uk] .

Re:Your freedom stops when you hit my nose (4, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605561)

From the details available, it appears this may relate to information that could be used to threaten the judge in the SHAC trial, the trial of some pretty unpleasant and violent people http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7837064.stm [bbc.co.uk] .

Information does not equate to action.

There is "information" in local us libraries which would show you how to assemble a bomb a-la oklahoma city. I suppose we should seize and burn all books in the local libraries and send the librarians and library officials to prison for 50 years.

Re:Your freedom stops when you hit my nose (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605633)

Information like that - information about our world and cultures etc. thats all fine and free. Personal info on the other hand, address, phone number, names of children and family pets etc. Thats sorta stuff is no ones business but your own.

The action the police took here was wrong - but that by no means justifies the actions of the violent individuals who would look to bypass the legal process via threats and intimidation.

Re:Your freedom stops when you hit my nose (4, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605685)

Information does not equate to action.

There's a bit of a difference between "this is how you make a bomb", and "This is where he lives, let's get him".

Please do try to bear in mind that the SHAC "activists" are violent criminals, who have launched physical attacks on people involved in animal testing. Whether you believe animal testing is right or wrong, that is not the way to go about protesting it.

The SHAC protesters broke the law, and are now - rightly - in jail. The person who posted the judge's personal information and a death threat against him also broke the law.

If a poster on a forum posted information on where to find Barack Obama, and a death threat, would you expect the server that hosted that forum to be seized?

Re:Your freedom stops when you hit my nose (0, Redundant)

mrphoton (1349555) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605705)

+1

Re:Your freedom stops when you hit my nose (4, Interesting)

bug1 (96678) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605779)

There's a bit of a difference between "this is how you make a bomb", and "This is where he lives, let's get him".

So... did they say "This is where he lives, let's get him" ?

Nothing in the post or article mentions a death threat... if the person made a death threat then that is a completely seperate issue, or do you think the medium that the threat was made through is somehow relevant.

If he sent a death threat in the post would you expect all the postal trucks to be impounded ?

Everyone thinks they are objective, nobody is.

Re:Your freedom stops when you hit my nose (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605797)

I guess the death threat would be enough. If people have access to any kind of information source (and if they don't, they couldn't get your threat either), they know pretty much where to find Obama currently.

Re:Your freedom stops when you hit my nose (2, Insightful)

sqldr (838964) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605697)

Information does not equate to action

It does equate to evidence though. The seizure wasn't to censure the information, it was to study it for the process of finding who sent the death threats. That's the opposite of censorship, that's putting the information in the hands of the people who find it useful. Feel free to take a copy first.

Re:Your freedom stops when you hit my nose (4, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605643)

Also from the details available, they seem to have quite correctly pulled that information as soon as they spotted it, before the police asked them to, and the problem was that the police demanded information that they didn't have. So what were they supposed to do?

Please mod this up (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605577)

Please mod this up:

You could always make another internet [anonet.org] to get away from the bullshit on the current one.

Freedom of the press? (5, Insightful)

onion2k (203094) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605395)

This bugs me. Freedom of the press is a vital tennet of our society, and it needs to be protected vigourously by everyone both inside the media and out. Without it we would have no way to stand up to the sort of tyranny that is all too common in countries where people aren't free.

Which is why I think Indymedia should shut the hell up in this case.

What does this have to do with freedom of the press? The name, address and other details of a judge were posted on an Indymedia site and mirrored to this server. That's not journalism. Trying to claim that the police investigating it is an infringement of the free press just undermines the real press and makes otherwise rational people wonder if freedom of the press is really important after all.

Other people's private personal information is not "political content".

Re:Freedom of the press? (5, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605427)

I couldn't agree more with parent posters statement. It's strange how the same people who wildly rage about the RIAA's Jon Doe cases and their privacy implications, often think that giving out peoples personal details with no intent other than harassment is a god given right.

Re:Freedom of the press? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605439)

the information have been removed by imc-uk. this would be clear if you would even read the article... so no need for telling something about private data etc.

Re:Freedom of the press? (1, Troll)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605475)

If you wish to maintain a position of authority, then you must be subject to more scrutiny than the average person. And privacy and presumption of innocence are just a couple of the things that must be sacrificed for the job. They are public servants, and we need to remind them of that.

Re:Freedom of the press? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605575)

Privacy and presumption of innocence are just a couple of the things that must be sacrificed for the job. They are public servants, and we need to remind them of that.

I disagree. A judge is not a political figure, his sole purpose is to objectively "weigh" the facts presented in a case in order to determine its truth value. His personal convictions don't add into it, and he did not attain the position by public means: his office is completely separated from his private life.

If anything, judges need more protection than a regular citizen because they deal with criminals of all kinds on a daily basis.

Re:Freedom of the press? (0, Troll)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605681)

I disagree. A judge is not a political figure, his sole purpose is to objectively "weigh" the facts presented in a case in order to determine its truth value. His personal convictions don't add into it...

I don't know about the particular judge(s) involved with this story, but I know in my area, judges are elected to office and are associated with a political party. By either account this makes them political figures.

And personal convictions DO play a role...how many times do we hear about activist judges in the news?

Re:Freedom of the press? (4, Informative)

serialdogma (883470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605805)

Judges aren't elected in England, they are appointed. Also activist judges don't really exist in the UK, if a judge makes a ruling that is incompatible with law, and gets overturned on appeal then the judge could find their job on the cutting board, and if they had a conflict of interest that they didn't declare they could be tried.

Re:Freedom of the press? (2, Informative)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605823)

UK judges are not elected. The selection process is designed to be non-political.

Re:Freedom of the press? (4, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605647)

That is by far the most short sighted and stupidest (yes stupid) post I have seen in a long long long time.

How on Earth could you state they surrender their "presumption of innocence"? That sounds like public servants should be guilty before proven innocent.

Why should they surrender their privacy in their private lives anymore than a citizen? That does not make sense, and in fact puts them in danger.

What happens when judges must take cases with criminals and other mentally unstable people? We make them all live in a public housing complex with transparent walls and signs with, "Judge Wanker lives here"?

Any single person in a society, whether serving the public or not, should be entitled to conduct their personal affairs with as much privacy and anonymity as anyone else.

What public servants should not be able to do is to keep their conduct in official capacities private from the public they serve. That does not include the location where they sleep.

Re:Freedom of the press? (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605683)

Funny, I thought in a fair and just society everyone should be given the same rights. Where do you stop when removing basic human rights? Politicians? Judges? Lawyers? All Civil servants? All external contractors who work with the government? Suddenly you find yourself with a whole lot of people with no rights.

Re:Freedom of the press? (1)

bug1 (96678) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605723)

If personal information was obtained legally, that what law forbids them from sharing such information (in the press or otherwise) ?

Re:Freedom of the press? (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605803)

EU data protection laws. Personal information can't just be copied freely.

Re:Freedom of the press? (1)

Shivinski (1053538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605435)

Freedom of the press is a vital tennet of our society

It is, but yet again we see the nanny state that is our UK government grovelling to shutdown servers that they deem 'innapropriate'. I for one am sick of wasting my tax on causes like this. Why can't the UK do something productive, get up off its arse and spend my tax on the economy, or maybe on catching REAL criminals!

This is one of the reasons I'm leaving the UK in favour of Switzerland or such like once I graduate. I'm sick of this big brother, overprotective, nanny state!

SWITZERLAND!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605571)

that must be a humourous/sarcastic reply - yes?

mod +5 funny

in Switzerland you can not flush your toilet after 10pm and woe betide you if any cooking smells emanate from your apartment!!!! the police will be around...

Re:SWITZERLAND!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605627)

lol, "woe betide you"
Most awesome expression I've read in a while. Thanks for that.

And Here is the Problem... (2, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605457)

In the UK I have been seeing how a 1984 situation is being established:

1) Speed cameras to the wahzoo....
2) Camera's to watch people to the wahzoo...
3) Rights being taken away and people sent to jail on issues that would otherwise seem "ludicrous.."

It has been proven that the cameras do squat to stop crime. Yet there they are and more are coming. Why? It is an issue of the establishment in the UK wanting to control the people. 1984!

The result of Indymedia and the posters is a direct reaction of the restrictions. No more no less...

All that has to happen in the UK is that they start loosening up! Though I doubt that will happen, until a "revolution" occurs. You might think it is funny and cannot happen. I on the other hand say, sure it can happen, but we have gotten so used to "law and order" that we think it cannot happen.

Re:And Here is the Problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605547)

1, 2, and 3 are all true, and it is good to have independent media, but that doesn't change the fact that IndyMedia -- in this instance -- messed up.

Re:And Here is the Problem... (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605687)

In what way did indymedia mess up? They deleted an inappropriate post on an open message board. What's wrong with that? Do you mean they shouldn't have had an open messahe board in the first place? You might have a problem persuading slashdotters...

Re:Freedom of the press? (5, Informative)

netzhappen (1461635) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605469)

You have read that indymedia removed the personal data (as a part of their privacy policy) _BEFORE_ the police took their server? So there was no need to seizure. And they KNOW that no IPs are logged and that this was just a mirror with no usefull data on it. So yes, freedom of press was violated as the cops took a needed tool (server) and damaged the infrastructure of indymedia.

Re:Freedom of the press? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605715)

And they KNOW that no IPs are logged

They don't *know* that no IPs are logged. They were *told* that no IPs are logged. Would you believe what you were told? I wouldn't. I'd want to check for myself. That way I could write in my report that "Indymedia said that no IPs were logged. I checked the server, and there were no IPs logged." Keeps everyone right, doesn't it?

Re:Freedom of the press? (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605769)

I hope you're not suggesting that sometimes people may lie to the police!

Re:Freedom of the press? (2, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605825)

Umm... they seized the servers before, do they think Indymedia changed their policy by now?

Re:Freedom of the press? (5, Informative)

bone_idol (782109) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605487)

If you read the article you'd have seen that the personal details were removed by an Indymedia moderator as soon as they were aware of them.

Indymedia UK privacy policy does not condone publishing personal details

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/static/privacy.html#Personal_Information [indymedia.org.uk]

Indymedias policy of not logging IP addresses is well known to the Police.

Its difficult to see what reason they could have for pulling this machine, other than low level harrasssment.

Re:Freedom of the press? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605515)

Indymedia, in the UK or elsewhere, is not just a collection of private adresses. An open publishing platform, it is mostly used by grassroots movements, individuals and smaller NGOs, reporting about demonstrations, actions and protests from the perspective of those involved. It also contains all sorts of rants, sometimes political, sometimes not, sometimes clever, sometimes hard to understand. Most Indymedia collectives are trying to get posters to stick to reports about political practice. But having the open publishing ethos at the heart of the project, other types of posting are often left on the newswire. However, the posting of details about third parties is discouraged and, like in this case, removed.
Indymedia is not the type of journalism we know from the mass media. The content is produced by a wide range of people. Some are used to the framework of corporate journalism (which includes, in the best case, professional standards of quality journalism, but also the constraints of a commercial project). Others are DIY journalists, people who are learning by doing and creating their own standards. Because contributors to indymedia don't need to worry about whether a story will sell or not, they can cover issues that would otherwise go completely unnoticed. In this way, Indymedia fullfills an important function for a society, no?

ps sorry for posting as coward, don't usually post to slashdot.

Re:Freedom of the press? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605749)

Please don't kid yourself. Indymedia is a radical left-wing political platform first and an open publishing platform second.

"In this way, Indymedia fullfills an important function for a society, no?"

While the creating an alternative to commercial mass-media is a good idea I absolutely loathe their perceived self-importance. Blogs have been doing their job and they have been doing it better. And they cover the whole political spectrum while indymedia is only used by what I would call political fringe-groups.

Re:Freedom of the press? (3, Interesting)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605541)

Assuming that indymedia were uncooperative with the investigation, I have to concur completely.

SHAC, PETA, and SPEAK are all basically different wings of the ALF. None of these groups are 'pro animal rights' and are all just anti science. I get annoyed as the next person when the WI (or some other harmless group) gets put on the list of terror organisations, but these people are sick barsteds hell bent on sending us back to the dark ages and sacrificing (literally) scientists who conduct vital research on the altar of 'animal rights'.

We are NOT talking about organisations like the BUAV here. These are not legitimate protest groups exercising their right to free speech. They are terrorist groups who undermine our democracy by taking the right to make decisions away from the people by intimidating our elected officials and civil servants.

If indymedia did offer to co-operate with the police, or the police didn't seek thier co-operation first before getting a warrant then this was heavy handed and the police are in the wrong. If the reverse is the case and indymedia just refused to help the police then the police have done exactly what they are supposed to do. Get a warrant!

Re:Freedom of the press? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605611)

Assuming that indymedia were uncooperative with the investigation, I have to concur completely.

Indymedia removed the comment, according to their policy, not because of complaints. Are you saying that uncooperativeness (within the law) warrants seizure of the server?

Re:Freedom of the press? (2, Informative)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605669)

Someone commits a crime on your premises. You stop that crime. The police come by to investigate. You refuse to help them potentially concealing the identity of the criminal. They then go get a warrant to compel you to hand over evidence. Thats how it works.

Indymedia's servers were not seized because of the comment, but because they wouldn't reveal the posters identity. They claim (and incidentally I believe them, that kind of information certainly is not going to be on a mirror) that they don't have that persons identity. This is fine, they shouldn't be required to keep that persons identity.

But if the police asked for access to their servers and they refused then I'm not surprised the police went and got a warrant.

Even if you never saw the criminal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605689)

Indymedia gave the information they had.

You can't give more than that unless you lie.

And lying to the police is criminal.

Are you saying they should commit a crime? In which case, you are inciting a criminal act and should report yourself to the nearest police station.

Remember, the computer is your friend.

Re:Even if you never saw the criminal? (1)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605741)

This is a pointless discussion. You and I have no idea what transpired here with reguards to indymedia co-operating with the police. We don't know if the police said "let us send over one of our experts to check your server and make sure you are telling us the truth". We haven't a sweet clue.

When it comes to anti science terrorism I'm prepared to give the police the benefit of the doubt until I hear evidence otherwise.

It isn't like I'm being intractable here. You go find me evidence that the police didn't seek the co-operation of indymedia first (and had no grounds for believing that indymedia might tamper with evidence) and I will happily call the polices actions heavy handed.

Re:Freedom of the press? (1)

bone_idol (782109) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605613)

If indymedia did offer to co-operate with the police, or the police didn't seek thier co-operation first before getting a warrant then this was heavy handed and the police are in the wrong. If the reverse is the case and indymedia just refused to help the police then the police have done exactly what they are supposed to do. Get a warrant!

Indymedia couldn't cooperate with the police, as
1) They don't keep IP logs
2) this machine was a mirror
3) The police knew this.

Its not illegal to NOT keep IP logs ( yet ), but it does seem not doing so means your server can be pulled at anytime.

Re:Freedom of the press? (1)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605651)

I don't have all the facts, and I doubt you do either. If indymedia refused the police any access to their servers there was no way for the police to confirm what you are saying.

I agree with you that it is highly unlikely that the police would have got anything from the indymedia servers, but I also don't know to what extent indymedia co-operated with this investigation. The releases by indymedia have in no way convinced me they were fully co-operative with the police.

The bottom line is that we simply don't have the facts. And when it comes to investigating the intimidation of a judge by anti-science terrorists I'm prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt.

But the "real press" does it all the time! (1)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605623)

Other people's private personal information is not "political content".

Below is a story from the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times:

ST. PETERSBURG -- A 54-year-old man was struck and killed by a truck Friday night while walking his bicycle across U.S. 19.

James Allen, of 2445 38th St. N in St. Petersburg, was crossing in the 3700 block about 6:45 p.m. when he was hit by a northbound 2000 Ford pickup driven by Brian Aldrich, 39, of 3776 28th Ave. N, St. Petersburg, according to a St. Petersburg police report.

linky: http://blogs.tampabay.com/breakingnews/2009/01/st-petersburg-2.html [tampabay.com]

Ignoring for a moment the (significant) differences between the US and UK... When the mainstream media freely publishes names and addresses of the people involved in newsworthy events, it becomes problematic to censor that information when it's published by non-mainstream media.

Re:But the "real press" does it all the time! (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605807)

The difference is in intent. If a crowded theatre actually is on fire, I doubt it's illegal to yell about it.

Re:But the "real press" does it all the time! (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605829)

You can't just ignore the differences between the UK and US in that respect, the US doesn't have laws against that.

Re:Freedom of the press? (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605667)

Read the article again. Somebody put the private details in a public message, Indymedia spotted it and took the message down again. Then the police got heavy. If I posted the judge's details in this message, and if /. authorities (whoever they are) immediately deleted the message do you (and those who modded you insightful) really think an appropriate response by law enforcement would be to try to shut down /.?

Re:Freedom of the press? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605753)

Irony. Isn't this article about the UK, a country that pretty much wants to put cameras in every citizen's household? This seems like just another example of their hypocrisy.

Well. (1, Troll)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605407)

So now we know that the UK is by far worse than the US on similar issues.

"You updated a website protesting animal cruelty vs drug companies. Now we're gonna smack you with a conspiracy charge for 4.5 years in prison."

Damn.

Re:Well. (3, Insightful)

Linuss (1305295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605499)

The UK is a great model for the rest of the world if you're interested in the transition of a rather normal country into a total police state. Granted, it still has quite a distance to go, and there's other countries much worse off than England, but for a developed western country it is appalling. What was it I heard recently? Something like 80% of closed circuit security cameras are in London? It's really a shame, the UK has an amazing history, but today's politics are sending it in a totally skewed and destructive direction.

Re:Well. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605519)

FUCK YOU MATE

Re:Well. (4, Interesting)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605557)

"You updated a website protesting animal cruelty vs drug companies. Now we're gonna smack you with a conspiracy charge for 4.5 years in prison."

Try, "you were basically CIO of a terrorist organisation."

SHAC/ALF are not a group protesting animal cruelty. They are a bunch of anti science luddites hell bent on hurting scientists and engineers.

Re:Well. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605655)

I didn't read TFA, but my understanding is that the website hosting organisation is quite separate to the ALF and their fellow travellers.

Re:Well. (1)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605721)

Yeah and Sinn Fein wasn't just the IRA with a pretty logo.

PETA, SHAC, SPEAK. These are just fund raising groups for the ALF. I believe the GP is not refering to the indymedia, but to the conviction of SHAC members for conspiracy to blackmail that set these events in motion.

The GP seems to be upset because SHAC/ALF terrorists were convicted after a violent and malicious campaigned of intimidation, the only purpose of which is to attack scientists and engineers.

You're a fucking idiot (2, Interesting)

UbuntuLinux (1242150) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605639)

Well done for just taking the Slashdot tabloid headline for granted and not actually finding out the facts. Had you done that, you would realise that the site was not, in fact, taken down because it contained anything The Man would be unhappy with, but because the people responsible for it where fanatics found guilty of criminal damage, threats, smear campaigns and a hole host of other nasty shit.

Re:Well. (3, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605663)

They sent death threats, they posted leaflets saying people were paedophiles, they phoned in bomb threats. This isn't just protesting, this is terrorism (and no that's not misusing the word, they're trying to achieve political goals by violence and spreading fear).

More of the same crap (1)

Seriousity (1441391) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605421)

The UK government doesn't seem to really bother trying to hide all of the atrocities they are comitting and condoning against the common rights of the common man, knowing full well that at the end of the day, MOST people would rather bury their heads in the sand and go back to sleep when someone starts explaining to them what the fuck exactly is happening than stand up and face the truth. They know that they can stage panels with hired actors on bs talk shows to come up with altruistic-sounding arguments to condone the removal of the rights of the people, and quote text from books out of context knowing full well that very few will bother to get off the couch and do the research themselves. Watching the bullshit start to trickle down into New Zealand is starting to really piss me off, all the more so given that we have no constitution and a lot of the rights we take for granted don't implicitly exist. /rant

Re:More of the same crap (2, Interesting)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605473)

The trouble is, other than slashdot and a few other non-mainstream websites, how do those who bury their heads in the sand find out?

On the flip side.

I run a website explaining photography, I provide links to loads of other photographs sites but I get loads of hits on my site because of a lens I reviewed a few months back. It isn't even a professional review, just me explaining my new lens type of review but with loads of pics. Next to the lens review link is another page with details for photographers explaining their civil rights as photographers to what they can and can't do with cameras. Since it's been up, 5 people have clicked the link.

I guess people are just not interested and want their head in the sand or they know their rights?

Re:More of the same crap (1)

Linuss (1305295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605719)

They don't know their rights, and they don't really care about them until the shit hits the proverbial fan in their lives.
People are lazy by nature, unless they have to, they won't bother finding out about something. It's like natural curiosity has all but disappeared from the world.

Putting your head in the sand is easier than facing the facts, and it leaves more free time for TV.

What would you choose as John Doe #?

Police regarded it as a threat to the trial judge. (5, Informative)

Hozza (1073224) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605465)

I know everyone is going to jump up and down about the right to free speech, but that isn't really the topic here.

The police regarded the comment as an implicit threat to the trial judge, which would not come under "free speech" laws in many (most?) countries.

They seized a *mirror* of the main server (the main site is still up a running just fine), in order to try to trace the original poster, and requested that the comment was removed from the site, which it has been.

The main issue I see here is one of oversight, who's there to check that the police only look for forensics on the original poster, and don't start a fishing expedition on the seized server?

Re:Police regarded it as a threat to the trial jud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605489)

You'll just have to trust the police.

After all, they've never let us down before...

Except for the last 10 billion times. :?

Threee letters solution (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605507)

Tor

Re:Police regarded it as a threat to the trial jud (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605525)

I know everyone is going to jump up and down about the right to free speech, but that isn't really the topic here.

Oh really

The police regarded the comment as an implicit threat to the trial judge, which would not come under "free speech" laws in many (most?) countries.

Which is one of the reasons why Indymedia removed the comment

They seized a *mirror* of the main server (the main site is still up a running just fine), in order to try to trace the original poster, and requested that the comment was removed from the site, which it has been.

Yet the original poster can not be retrieved from the "mirror" (or from the main site for that matter).

The main issue I see here is one of oversight, who's there to check that the police only look for forensics on the original poster, and don't start a fishing expedition on the seized server?

The main issue here is what was the intention of the police. Obviously it can't be to trace the original poster (why seize a mirror, or anything at all since Indymedia does not log ips), nor can it be to remove the comment (this had already happened). Would it just be a form of punishment for a "critical" organization? Indymedia is entirely volunteer-run and depends on donations. Taking a server offline and a potential court case will seriously increase the workload and will have financial consequences too.

Re:Police regarded it as a threat to the trial jud (2, Insightful)

Hozza (1073224) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605569)

Obviously it can't be to trace the original poster (why seize a mirror, or anything at all since Indymedia does not log ips),

Well, yes, I agree the motivations of the police could partly be to put pressure on a "critical" organization. Putting a check on how eager the police are to investigate a crime like this would be part of the oversight I mentioned.

However, the point about the logs is irrelevant:

"No officer, there's no need to come into my house, even if someone had committed a crime, I keep it so clean there'd be no evidence in there"

If the police believe a crime has been committed, they *have* to investigate it fully, and not ignore potentially useful evidence just because someone else tells them so.

With regards to speech (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605637)

Something people forget is that it isn't an unlimited right. Really, no rights are unlimited in a free society. Why? Well for you to have an unlimited right, implies that your right could infringe on my rights to some degree. For example suppose you had an unlimited right to speech. That would mean you could call for me to be killed. You could tell everyone that I should die, explain how best to kill me and so on, and I've have no recourse. You could lie about me continuously to people I care about in an attempt to harm me, you could harass me at every opportunity, and so on. While you having no limits to your right might make you more free, it would make me less free. In fact you find that the only place where people have near unlimited rights are dictatorships. The dictator has the right to do basically whatever they want. However that comes at the expense of more or less everyone else.

Thus in free societies we have to have some limits to rights. We can't have a situation of "You do whatever you want." It has to be more along the lines of "You can do whatever you want, so long as that doesn't interfere with other people." Thus we get laws that restrict rights to an extent. You can say what you like, but not if you are threatening others. You can own all kinds of property, but you can't own other people. You can burn a flag but you can't burn your neighbor's flag and so on.

So people need to get over this idea that you can just say whatever you want and there are never any consequences. No, not the case. You can say a whole lot, speech is one of the most permissive rights in most free countries, but there are limits. A threat would certainly be a limit just about everywhere.

Any time you see a limitation like that, and you think it is unfair, ask yourself how you'd feel if you were on the receiving end. If your life was being threatened, would you be ok with that, or would you then want the person threatening you arrested? Because remember: You can't have it both ways. It can't be ok for you to do it to someone else, but not someone else to do it to you.

The Message Is Clear (5, Insightful)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605477)

I have no problem with the police taken the action they have, far from using their powers to "repress" anyone they are taking appropriate action to prevent groups like SHAC from harassing people, blackmailing them and generally making their lives a misery.

In the article linked to in the header they are 'concerned' that the police have been instructed by their political masters to clamp down on anyone daring to threaten 'the corporations'. The author has obviously totally missed the point that primarily the activism isn't targetted at 'corporations' but at individuals who happen to work at them. It's usually not the 'corporation' which is branded as a paedophile in a leaflet campaign in it's neighbourhood, it's not the 'corporation' who has masked terrorists driving around his house at night shouting abuse and making threats and it's not corporations whose dead relatives are dug up and then held for ransom. Usually it's a delivery driver, admin assistant anyone who is unlucky enough to be targetted by these groups.

I personally would not want to be relentlessly attacked in this matter because some random group of nutters took exception to something the company I worked for is involved in and I welcome any attempts by the government or the police to stand up and do something about it.

Re:The Message Is Clear (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605513)

So, you're okay with "authority" figures committing theft in the name of the law, just because in this case they happen to be protecting the pride of supposedly public officials.

In a civilized society, individuals who deprive others of their material property without a warrant are called criminals, and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. In other words, just because you are a law enforcement official does not mean you are above the law.

There's no point in having laws when particular people put themselves above the law, no matter what the reason.

Re:The Message Is Clear (3, Insightful)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605555)

Everything you've said is totally beside the point. A judge not wanting his personal details published has nothing to do with his pride and everything to do with not wanting to open himself up to the kind of abuse these groups have routinely subjected people who they disagree with to. Secondly the police had a warrant to seize this server which is totally within the law and absolutely not theft of any kind.

Re:The Message Is Clear (1)

Hittis (28174) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605751)

They claim that the personal information regarding the Judge was removed prior to the call from the police - the call was an request to remove the information so they had complied with that request even before it was made.

Have you found out something new regarding the seizure? As far as I could read the seizure was warantless.

Re:The Message Is Clear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605801)

the kind of abuse these groups have routinely subjected people who they disagree with to

While I agree that the judge has a valid interest in not having his personal details posted anywhere (which, I'll point out, matches Indymedia's own rules as well - that comment was a no-no and WAS deleted by them even before the police contacted them), I still have to say:

Citation, please?

Re:The Message Is Clear (3, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605783)

Agreed. These people are terrorists

http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=42 [splcenter.org]
A Chicago insurance executive might seem like one of the last people who'd be opening a letter with this succinctly chilling message: "You have been targeted for terrorist attack."

But that's what happened last year, when a top official at Marsh USA Inc. was informed that he and his company's employees had landed in the crosshairs of an extremist animal rights group. The reason? Marsh provides insurance for one of the world's biggest animal testing labs.

"If you bail out now," the letter advised, "you, your business, and your family will be spared great hassle and humility."

That letter â" and the harassment campaign that followed, after Marsh declined to "bail out" â" was another shot fired by Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC).

This British-born group, now firmly established in the United States, is waging war on anyone involved with Huntingdon Life Sciences, which tests drugs on approximately 70,000 rats, dogs, monkeys and other animals each year. In the process, SHAC is rewriting the rules by which even the most radical eco-activists have traditionally operated.

In the past, even the edgiest American eco-warriors drew the line at targeting humans. They trumpeted underground activists' attacks on businesses and laboratories perceived as abusing animals or the environment â" the FBI reports more than 600 incidents, causing $43 million in damage, since 1996.

But spokespeople for the two most active groups in the U.S., the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), have always been quick to claim that their underground cells have never injured or killed any people.

Since 1999, however, members of both groups have been involved with SHAC's campaign to harass employees of Huntingdon â" and even distantly related business associates like Marsh â" with frankly terroristic tactics similar to those of anti-abortion extremists.

Re:The Message Is Clear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605809)

The thing is, how do you attack a "corporation"? What is a "corporation" after all? Let me tell you: a corporation is a group of individuals who happen to work for it.

Hence your argument is invalid since they do target "corporations" by targeting the workers and people responsible for it.

So that was not the real question. The real question is: were their attacks well-targeted, that is: did they target the right people?

3rd time unlucky for IndyMedia (3, Informative)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605483)

This happened in 2004 http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/10/08/fbi_indymedia_raids/ [theregister.co.uk] - FBI confiscated its servers in London (how the hell does that work, then? US law enforcement in the UK?) based on comments on the G8.
It also happened in 2005: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/06/28/indymedia_server_seizure_bristol/ [theregister.co.uk] in Bristol, UK, again relating to the G8 conference.

Free speech in Europe my fucking ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605501)

The Belgians banned a political party because they felt it was systematically racist. It was one of the largest when it was banned (the Vlaams Blok).

The Germans infiltrate every political party massively that they feel have 'nazistic tendencies'. The one time they prosecuted a party for being Nazi, it was so infiltrated by police officers that the case had to be dropped because it was impossible to distinguish between material produced by the accused and material produced by the police. One of the police officers wrote an extended manifesto strongly derogatory about jews.

When Austria wanted to give something like 20% of the vote to Jurg Haider, the entire EU instituted a boycott.

The Netherlands is prosecuting senior politician Geert Wilders for making and pulishing the 'Fitna' video. This isn't a matter of seizing a server because a death threat was on it, it's a matter of a court of the land deciding to push for criminal charges against someone because of a film he made.

It's therefore in my view rather ridiculous and pathetic when people whine about "This is an attack on freedom of speech!111". It's already dead in Europe.

Re:Free speech in Europe my fucking ass (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605707)

Well yes, Europe's states learned the hard way that they need to protect themselves from unconstitutional forces, be it political parties or nutjob politicians.
It's not "democratic" in the truest sense of the word, but why exactly whould a democracy protect those who're trying to get rid of it?
Of course it's hard to know where to draw the line between legitimate political opposition, and people out to undo the constitution. Which is part of the reason the attempt to ban the NPD in Germany failed - they wanted to really make sure the people they're banning actually need to and can be banned, and kind of overdid it, to put it mildly.
Those things are complicated, and warrant an extended (public) discussion - but this is hardly the platform to do so, and it's _not_ an free speech issue. It's about how far a state can go to protect itself.

Mark this day. I will. (-1, Troll)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605503)

Mark this day, the day when the charade of the "war on terror" ended, and with it "the free world".

Its sad to see the chinese propaganda is correct, and that the only difference between a democracy and an autocracy is the number of parties involved.

An analogy (1)

timbrown (578202) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605517)

Imagine if /. servers got seized everytime someone saw fit to post comments with the addresses related to the "bad guy" in response to a story. Indymedia had already pulled said comments, does /. even have such a facility? I find some of what gets put on Indymedia to be massively disagreeable, OTOH I'm not a big fan of servers being pulled at random either.

Re:An analogy (0, Flamebait)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605591)

I agree to an extent but you have to consider the difference between posting personal details to slashdot and to indymedia and the motivations for doing so. Most /.'ers are not rabid foaming at the mouth loonies and they don't have a history of relentlessly hounding people who disagree with them. I expect most readers of Indymedia are equally law abiding but there is obviously a small group of people who may have read those personal details and used them to engage in a criminal campaign of intimidation.

The fact that the police aren't in the habit of seizing ./ servers whenever someones details are posted but have seized this one seems to me to show they responding thoughtfully and responsibly and not engaging in some random campaign to shut down sites based on some sort of political motivation.

Re:An analogy (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605747)

Most /.'ers are not rabid foaming at the mouth loonies and they don't have a history of relentlessly hounding people who disagree with them. I expect most readers of Indymedia are equally law abiding but there is obviously a small group of people who may have read those personal details and used them to engage in a criminal campaign of intimidation.

It wouldn't surprise me if a few people here would go that far. It only takes one.

As a UK Grid customer... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605521)

...this concerns me. I've just sent off an email to their support division asking for information about their policies for dealing with police requests. I am skeptical that Indymedia is giving us the full story, but if UK Grid handed over physical hardware without a warrant it makes me wary of continuing my contract with them (not that I'm doing anything illegal, but it can be argued Indymedia wasn't doing anything illegal either)

But, it's not journalism (1, Interesting)

uid7306m (830787) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605533)

Freedom of the press refers to journalism, and journalism is more than just running a server that anyone can post to. Journalists take some responsibility for their product, and are supposed to be reporting facts (to the extent possible).

It's like being a scientist in a way. At the end of the day, you want the answer to be right. In pursuit of that goal, scientists and journalists have developed a certain ethic and certain procedures that more or less work.

It's easy to be a pretend scientist: all you have to do is mix pretty solutions in some test tubes. Likewise, it's easy to be a pretend journalist. Easier, these days. But, in either case, the difference between real and pretend is not the web site or the test tubes, but whether or not someone is digging away, really trying to get at the truth.

Now, when Indymedia posts that kind of personal information that could reasonably imply a threat and isn't relevant to the story, it's the equivalent of a chemist blowing up his/her lab. At the very least, it doesn't give you confidence in their competence.

Re:But, it's not journalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605567)

Nice analogy, yet unfortunately, you got the facts wrong:

Now, when Indymedia posts that kind of personal information that could reasonably imply a threat and isn't relevant to the story, it's the equivalent of a chemist blowing up his/her lab. At the very least, it doesn't give you confidence in their competence.

  1. Indymedia didn't post the information, but some anonymous coward did. Indymedia posts are done by visitors of the website
  2. Indymedia removed the comment prior to the server being seized
  3. Indymedia doesn't log ip numbers, there is nothing to obtain from the servers

Pardon me? (2, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605587)

Freedom of the press does not apply to "journalists" only, because once you start applying it only to an arbitrary and subjective definition of "journalism", you now have a loophole the size of a galactic cluster.

It doesn't matter if it's CNN or little timmy's html experiments, if you kill people's websites and jail them for what they SAY, you are a tyrant!

Re:But, it's not journalism (2, Interesting)

KTheorem (999253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605645)

Freedom of the press does not refer to journalism at all. It refers to the right to print and disseminate written works. It's for pamphlets and comic books just as much as it is for a newspaper. Referring to journalism as "The Press" is just metonymy (using their tools to describe their profession) and is not in fact what a press actually is. Journalism is protected by both free speech (the freedom to say something) and free press (the freedom to print and disseminate).

The idea that you must somehow be a "legitimate" journalist to benefit from freedom of the press is patently absurd and further more is dangerous in that you are willingly giving up not only your own freedoms but others' as well in your attempt to redefine the majority of the population as no longer having rights they should.

SHAC are a bunch of self-righteous cunts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605553)

Who thought nothing of ruining the lives of people who had the most tenuous links with Huntingdon Life Sciences. Fuck them; the only fitting punishment for its members is vivisection.

Me? Bitter? Fuck yes.

Re:SHAC are a bunch of self-righteous cunts (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605735)

Unfortunately it's not SHAC who are getting shafted, it's indymedia, who as far as I can tell have no association with SHAC except SHAC were posting there as ACs.

It's violence not free speech (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605599)

The police did not seize the server to stop free speech. They did so to find the identity of the wider network of people who have, and maybe still do, support violent acts against those involved in scientific research which involves testing on animals.

I will avoid the obvious reference to nuts and fruitcakes.

The best defense... (2, Informative)

Kindaian (577374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605631)

Is shared-hosting... and backups, off-site naturally.

In that case, if they seize the server, they are seizing my site... and the site of more then 1000 other hosted sites...

And with the backups, you are ready to just setup another host, and update everything in no time... ;)

Background (0)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605649)

It's worth pointing out that this is not a simple freedom of speech issue.

SHAC members have been convicted of terrorism related offences. This wasn't a misuse of the law, it was justified. They threatened people with violence and otherwise intimidate people, they'd print out leaflets saying that contractors working with Huntington animal research were paedophiles and put them through their neighbours letter boxes, they called in bomb threats.

Although their range of targets aren't/weren't wide, they still were pursued a campaign of fear against individuals that went beyond protesting.

If this comment was a valid threat against a person or persons by a SHAC member, it deserves to be investigated. The linked to website provides a horribly biased picture of what SHAC do. I don't understand how they can defend this 'activists'.

SHAC aren't Indymedia, Indymedia aren't SHAC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605713)

So how can punishing someone who isn't the criminal be OK?

Because Boy George tied up and beat a man, I'll arrest you.

Fair?

Re:SHAC aren't Indymedia, Indymedia aren't SHAC (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605763)

If I was in boy george's house at the time, I would fully expect to be called in for formal police questioning which I wouldn't be able to refuse without penalty. No one has been arrested here.

Oh you great martyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605671)

"I'm posting this as a concerned UK administrator who hosts a number of sites. The message appears to be clear: the UK establishment does not want political content, legitimate or otherwise, hosted from these shores."

Oh come on... While I don' agree with the seizing of the servers this is a pretty ridiculous statement. And you know it. But it's always nice to see yourself as the primary victim of "the man".

Is there any way police could obtain the data? (1)

JumperCable (673155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605695)

Since this was a mirrored server that does not log IP addresses, is there any way we can think of that the police could use information stored on the server to identify the individual poster?

Just off the top of my head, if the original post was still stored on the server, they could perhaps obtain the time punch as to when the comment was submitted.

Democracy demands tolerance. (2, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605731)

Democracy per definition demands tolerance to non politically correct views and beliefs. Democracy cant exist without totally free speech since whats forbidden today is totally ok tomorrow. Just step back twenty years and there is plenty of stuff that was forbidden to talk about then thats just plain PC nowadays.

A democracy without free speech is just a scam and not a single bit better than communism, nazism, monarchy or dictatorship. I hate it when people try to redefine free speech to be some quasi-free expression where you can only express politically correct stuff and nothing else. Thats not free speech at all.

Seized? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26605795)

Sounds like the police turned up without a warrant, asked the people running the hosting company, and they just handed it over.

Not a "freedom of speech"/"police"/"big brother" issue. More of a "watch out who hosts your servers".

If I had hosting with that company, I would remove it immediately for that.

The cake is a lie! (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26605819)

And "free speech" too...
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