More Indymedia woes

FINALLY, court documents released in Texas in early August give some information on why Indymedia server computers were seized on 7 October 2004, days before the European Social Forum gathering in London. People - still not positively identified - turned up at the London facility of Texas-based web hosting company Rackspace and took away computers that ran the UK newswire and 20 other Indymedia services from Andorra to Uruguay.

The documents confirm that the warrant issued in Texas was for copies of any files recording who posted information to the servers, not physical seizure - and that it originated with a request from Italian law enforcement. This seems to have concerned a group calling itself the FAI that claimed to have sent parcel bombs

Indymedia deny that any such group posted information to their newswires. They point out that the servers did contain legally sensitive information about cases against police for violent attacks on Indymedia during the G8 summit in Genoa back in July 2001.

Meanwhile, on eve of the G8 summit in Scotland this July, police in Bristol seized the server computer that ran the local Indymedia "newswire". On 27 June British Transport police visited the home of a member of the Bristol Indymedia Collective (BIC). They arrested him and charged him with incitement to criminal damage, and seized the computer that hosted Bristol Indymedia information as well as a personal computer. That evening they bailed him until October.

The Freelance understands that a person who had fallen out personally with BIC members reported to the police an incoherent message that appeared to be about dropping rocks on cars. He told them that BIC would be able to identify the person who wrote it from a log of the computer addresses ("IP numbers") of such contributors. Indymedia sites do not retain such details. BIC had removed the message in question from the public site before police emailed them.

24 October 2005

Update

The arrested volunteer answered bail early October and has yet to be charged. The case is currently with the Crown Prosecution Service, and Bristol Indymedia are fundraising for legal fees. Three months after, neither the server that hosted Bristol Indymedia, nor any of the other equipment taken, has been returned by the police. A request has been made through legal channels for the return of the equipment.

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