Indymedia server seized, again

KENT POLICE have seized a computer belonging to alternative news network Indymedia from a facility in Manchester - apparently without showing a warrant. Police went to UK Grid, a company that rented rack-space to house Indymedia's computer and others, on 22 January and persuaded staff to hand over the computer, and left a receipt (pictured below).

A receipt
We'll just take this and leave a receipt, thanks...

Earlier that day a detective sergeant with Kent police had contacted Indymedia to request the removal of personal information about Neil Butterfield, a judge in a trial of "animal rights" activists. Indymedia had already removed the information they were aware of, in line with their privacy policy, and immediately removed an attempt to re-post it. They tell the Freelance "We had no time to respond to the police before the server seizure."

Indymedia understand that Kent police were keen to obtain the "IP address" of the computer or computers from which the personal information was sent as a reader response to a story on the Indymedia "newswire". It is Indymedia's policy not to record such information about posters.

On 10 February the Freelance asked Kent police a series of questions, including: Was a warrant issued? If so, under what legislation? If so, was the warrant shown? ... If no warrant was shown, under what power was the property and the material thereon - including, we understand, "special procedure material" (journalistic material protected under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act) - taken?

The force responded that they could not answer any questions about the case, having on 10 February arrested and bailed a person. The Freelance understands that this person is a system administrator at UK Grid, not connected with Indymedia, other than as an employee of its "landlord": www.theregister.co.uk reports that computers were seized from his home as well.

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