Changes between Version 4 and Version 5 of projects/server-seizure/statement


Ignore:
Timestamp:
Apr 19, 2012, 9:10:58 PM (7 years ago)
Author:
Daniel Kahn Gillmor
Comment:

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  • projects/server-seizure/statement

    v4 v5  
    11= Proposed statement =
    22
    3 In an attack on our servers, our movement and on the use of the Internet for
    4 progressive purposes, the FBI yesterday seized a server from our server rack at
    5 a colocation facility we use.
    6 
    7 We were not informed before the seizure and were not informed by the FBI after
    8 it took place. We believe the seizure amounted to nothing more than theft of
    9 our machine.
     3In an attack on our infrastructure, our movement and the democratic Internet,
     4the FBI seized a server yesterday from one of our cabinets
     5a colocation facility.
    106 
    117The server is owned by our sister organization, Riseup, and is managed by ECN,
    128a progressive provider in Italy.
    139 
    14 While the seizure by the government of any equipment is pernicious and
    15 damaging, the reason the FBI has given for this seizure actually makes it
    16 extraordinarily dangerous. The FBI is investigating bomb threats being made to
    17 facilities and people at the University of Pittsburgh and believes that one of
    18 the servers used to email these threats was an anonymous email server operated
    19 by ECN. These servers have no logs or traces of who used them and so the FBI
    20 will not get any useful information from them; there is no useful purpose to
    21 the seizure.
     10While the seizure of any equipment is pernicious and
     11damaging, the pointlessness of this seizure suggests an inclination toward extrajudicial
     12punishment and an attempted crackdown on the very possibility of anonymous speech online.
     13
     14The FBI is investigating bomb threats being made to
     15facilities and people at the University of Pittsburgh and appears to believe that one of
     16the servers used to transmit these threats was an anonymous e-mail server operated
     17by ECN. Anonymous remailers have no logs or traces of who used them, so the FBI
     18will not get any useful information from the stolen machine.
     19
     20Seizing this machine serves no useful purpose in tracking down or stopping the bomb threats, but it
     21has many serious negative implications. Anonymous e-mail is an important
     22part of the Internet. One of the benefits of Internet technology is the
     23ability to communicate world-wide: communication is fundamental to the
     24struggles of the world's people and the continued existence of the human race.
     25In a period in which our society has seen massive losses of privacy -- in
     26which just about everything we do on-line can be tracked, logged, studied and
     27used for all kinds of purposes -- anonymous e-mail (and other anonymous
     28communication tools) provide shade from the intrusive searchlights of ubiquitous surveillance.
     29
     30Insiders who reveal government and military malfeasance, whistleblowers, critics within institutions,
     31organizers who fear police repression, and others involved in liberatory struggle can and do use anonymous e-mail.
     32Anonymous e-mail is one of the critical tools of the democracy movement unfolding
     33worldwide (including the Middle East, for example).  Without anonymous communications, such movements would
     34have had even greater difficulty organizing and would face greater risks
     35and repression. Without anonymous communications, our already-constrained knowledge of what
     36government and corporations actually do in our name and against our interests
     37would be even more limited. Without anonymous communications, the Internet becomes little more than a
     38caricature of its potential as a tool for building a just global society.
    2239 
    23 But a lot of harm could be done. Anonymous email is one of the most important
    24 parts of the Internet. One of the benefits of Internet technology is the
    25 ability to communicate world-wide: communication that is fundamental to the
    26 struggles of the world's people and the continued existence of the human race.
    27 In a period in which we have made massive compromises in our privacy -- and in
    28 which just about everything we do on-line can be tracked, logged, studied and
    29 used for all kinds of purposes -- there is one oasis from the glaring sunlight
    30 of intrusion: anonymous email and communication.
    31 
    32 Government information revealers, whistleblowers, critics within institutions,
    33 organizers who fear police repression -- they all use anonymous email. In fact,
    34 anonymous email is one of the primary tools of the democracy movement unfolding
    35 worldwide (particularly in the Middle East). Without it, such movements would
    36 have had much greater difficulty organizing and would face much greater danger
    37 and repression. Without it, our already too limited knowledge of what
    38 government and corporations actually do in our name and against our interests
    39 would be even more limited. Without it, the Internet becomes little more than a
    40 caricature of its true potentical and purpose.
    41  
    42 Anytime an anonymous computer is removed from the anonymous communications
    43 network, it weakens that network and sets a precedent for attack on the entire
    44 technology. If we lose anonymous email, we effectively lose the Internet as a
     40When authorities forcibly remove a computer from an anonymous communications
     41network, they weaken that network and set a precedent for attack on anonymity in general.
     42If we lose anonymous email, we effectively lose the Internet as a
    4543tool for organizing and change.
    4644
    47 Obviously, the use of the technology made by this author of threats is
    48 horrible. We at MF/PL have never condoned threats of violence, terroristic
    49 activities or the use of Internet technology to frighten people and disrupt
    50 their lives. This runs counter to our vision of the reason the Internet exists
    51 and its proper use. And we are deeply troubled by the pain caused so many
     45The use of anonymous communications for bomb threats is
     46horrible. We at MF/PL have never condoned threats of violence or the use
     47of Internet technology to harm people.  Such use runs counter to our vision of the reason the Internet exists
     48and its proper use. We are deeply saddened by the pain caused so many
    5249people by these sociopathic activities.
    5350
    54 But this type of anonymous email use is very infrequent, almost microscopic,
    55 when compared to the legitimate, lawful and progressive use the great majority
    56 of users make of anonymous email. There is no positive outcome to this type of
     51But we cannot stop malicious anonymous e-mail without also destroying the ability to use anonymous e-mail for beneficial purposes.
     52And the bomb threats continue
     53to arrive at U. of Pitt after this outrageous seizure.  There is no positive outcome to this
    5754action by the FBI.
    5855 
    59 As we have said in the past, we will never give up information about our
    60 members. We will also aggressively seek the return of the computer the FBI
    61 stole from us and other legal rememedies against those who collaborated in the
    62 trouncing of our rights. And, in that context, we will assertively defend the
    63 use and protection of the anonymous email system world-wide and resist any
    64 actions that might harm it.
     56We will defend our members' privacy and their data.
     57We will also aggressively seek the return of the computer the FBI
     58took from us and other legal remedies against those who collaborated in the
     59violation of our rights. And we remain committed to defending the
     60use and protection of anonymous communication world-wide, and to the advancement of the internet as a tool for liberatory change.
    6561