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Censorship Your Rights Online

Canadian Censorship Takes Down 4500 Sites 227

Posted by timothy
from the now-that's-what-I-call-political-science dept.
uncadonna writes "According to activist group The Yes Men, the government of Canada has shut down two parody websites criticizing Canada's poor environmental policy. The article goes on to claim that 'In response to Environment Canada's request, Serverloft immediately turned off a whole block of IP addresses, knocking out more than 4500 websites that had nothing to do with the parody sites or the activists who created them. Serverloft was shown no warrant, and never called the web hosting company about the shutdown.'"
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Canadian Censorship Takes Down 4500 Sites

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  • Works for me (Score:5, Informative)

    by FPCat (646737) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @03:03PM (#30585730)
    Umm, http://ec-gc.ca/ [ec-gc.ca] is working for me.....
    • Re:Works for me (Score:5, Informative)

      by epiphani (254981) <epiphani@nospAM.dal.net> on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @03:11PM (#30585850)

      I can somewhat understand where the Canadian government is coming from on this one. The .gc.ca domain is Canadian Government sites. This site is obviously designed to look like an official government site - using a domain that could confuse people.

      I have a problem with censorship, but I also have a problem with intentionally misleading people, then screaming censorship when the folks you're trying to quietly impersonate come after you.

      • I have a problem with censorship, but I also have a problem with intentionally misleading people, then screaming censorship when the folks you're trying to quietly impersonate come after you.

        I can't disagree with that, but the real misdeed here is the lack of due process and the negligent clobbering of the unrelated 4500 sites. I'm not a Canadian lawyer, but I sure wish I was one right now.

        • Serverloft.

          Indeed, why did Serverloft, a German company (according to TFA) react at all?

          They should just have shown a huge phat finger to the Canucks, and say "you can't get us accross the huuuuge ocean". After all, it's not as if Canada was in a position of unleashing an Operation Desert Storm over Germany. One hosting company to avoid!

          And such behavior would be entirely appropriate: after all that's exactly how Canada behaves when German citizens that have been wrongfully imprisoned in Canada want to s

      • I can understand anyone or any group not wanting to be impersonated and having said impostors make false statements or claims on your behalf, but this is ridiculous on the part of both the Canadian gov't & that hosting company. I don't know the specifics of Canuck law, but considering it's a parliamentary democracy, I can't imagine there aren't some due processes of law by which an aggrieved party, whether government department or private citizen, can ask the police/justice department to look into just
      • Re:Works for me (Score:4, Informative)

        by JWSmythe (446288) <.jwsmythe. .at. .jwsmythe.com.> on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @04:15PM (#30586648) Homepage Journal

            They're not operating very far away from the phishers. Well, except they'll accept your invitations to speak at events, and get paid for it, as if they were the real people.

            They're not doing any good. They're actually very intentionally trying to pick fights with the government, and large corporations.

          The only thing they're not doing quite yet is accepting the money from online places. They are still actively committing fraud, under the guise of parody.

            It's folks like this that endanger free speech for everyone. I won't say to stop them, but I will strongly suggest that they shouldn't do it any more.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by azgard (461476)

          It's not really a fraud. If you are a fraudster, you do it for personal profit. This more like a variation of civil disobedience.

        • Re:Works for me (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Intron (870560) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @05:05PM (#30587292)

          1) Saying something - speech.
          2) Taking money or goods under false pretenses - fraud.

          I don't understand your confusion here. There's already laws against 2). No need to bring 1) into a legal discussion at all.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by grcumb (781340)

          They're not doing any good. They're actually very intentionally trying to pick fights with the government, and large corporations.

          But you contradict yourself.

        • by epine (68316)

          We need to take censorship seriously. This begins by refusing to position fraud masquerading as parody as a freedom of speech issue, which is terribly disrespectful of real censorship. Freedom of speech was never meant to be used as a day pass to Dorkville.

          I can well imagine the childhood of someone who signs up the domain ec-gc.ca to engage in serious debate. I was played against his likeness in an online poker room yesterday, a fellow playing under the identity "Custard Pump" with a unkempt mop of hair

      • Re:Works for me (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@slashd o t .org> on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @04:43PM (#30586958)

        While I agree a bit, you apparently don’t know the Yes Men.
        They are known for stunts where they impersonate government agencies, and then go e.g. to conferences and look how far they can go, until the audience starts to complain.

        Turns out they can go further than even the tinfoil hat crowd could imagine.
        They for example presented how one could catch the shit that’s going down the toilet, and making re-burgers out of them, to feed the 3rd world. Or how slavery is too expensive and the current model of letting them work there where you don’t even have to feed them at all, is much better.
        And they got a whole room applauding at them.

        They aim for a seriously presented but blatantly obvious and over the top parody.
        And their point is, that people don’t get the parody and think it’s actually real.

        Seems they won again. And we can all laugh at the Canadian government. The only reason we don’t laugh at you too, is because we can’t assume you did read TFA or saw their work. :) So I give you that.

      • I can somewhat understand where the Canadian government is coming from on this one. The .gc.ca domain is Canadian Government sites. This site is obviously designed to look like an official government site - using a domain that could confuse people.

        I have a problem with censorship, but I also have a problem with intentionally misleading people, then screaming censorship when the folks you're trying to quietly impersonate come after you.

        On another note, I'll say that maybe people shouldn't use Serverloft if they can't rely on them to at least make an effort to stand up for their customers.

        Don't do business with businesses that don't respect you.

    • Re:Works for me (Score:5, Informative)

      by compro01 (777531) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @03:12PM (#30585864)

      Both sites appear to be working fine from here in Canada also. This is either some quick backpedaling or bogus.

      • Re:Works for me (Score:5, Informative)

        by JWSmythe (446288) <.jwsmythe. .at. .jwsmythe.com.> on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @04:17PM (#30586660) Homepage Journal

            I can't believe anyone is believing a press release done by a group who intentionally does bogus press releases and web sites. No one else sees the problem with this??

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ArsenneLupin (766289)

        This is either some quick backpedaling or bogus.

        Or some nimble work finding another hosting provider. Hehe, wouldn't it be funny if 4498 unrelated sites were offline, but the two sites that were targeted were online again at a different provider :-)

        • Re:Works for me (Score:4, Informative)

          by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @04:55PM (#30587122)
          Indeed, it seems to:
          # tcptraceroute enviro-canada.ca 80
          Selected device ppp0, address xxxxxxxxx, port xxxx for outgoing packets
          Tracing the path to 188.138.4.45 on TCP port 80 (www), 30 hops max
          ...
          8 tge-4-0-0-0a.cr1.fra.routeserver.net (80.81.193.21) 21.938 ms 23.390 ms 21.860 ms
          9 sl6.fra.routeserver.net (62.75.135.6) 23.359 ms 24.462 ms 23.199 ms
          10 vm5.pi.dk (188.138.4.45) [open] 23.449 ms 22.716 ms 25.587 ms
          ==> so it's hosted in Denmark now!

          I recommend that the 4498 unrelated sites should do likewise, and find a hosting provider with a spine.

        • Ah, the wonders of keeping your DNS records set to a low TTL.
    • Re:Works for me (Score:5, Interesting)

      by uncledrax (112438) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @03:13PM (#30585878) Homepage

      Ditto.

      Either they turned them back on really quick, or the article itself is hoax-ad-ware? or something.. i'm sure there's some pre-ordained term for this from the Elders of the Internet

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by genner (694963)

        Ditto.

        Either they turned them back on really quick, or the article itself is hoax-ad-ware? or something.. i'm sure there's some pre-ordained term for this from the Elders of the Internet

        Nope no pre-ordianed term. We didn't need one back in the day, since internet censorship was the feavered dream of a mad man back then.

      • Either they turned them back on really quick, or the article itself is hoax-ad-ware?

        ... or the sites picked another hosting provider? Indeed, tcptraceroute shows that enviro-canada.ca is now hosted in Denmark, whereas serverloft is in Germany.

        I hope that the 4498 unrelated sites that have been clobbered along with them will find another hosting provider as well.

      • by SlashDread (38969)

        "Joe job" may cover it.

      • by dangitman (862676)

        i'm sure there's some pre-ordained term for this from the Elders of the Internet

        Yes. We call it "Robert" (pronounced "Wobbert").

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Nos. (179609)

      Yup, both sites are working for me as well.

      So a few questions pop to mind. Did Serverloft shutdown the sites? Or was there a temporary outage that these "yesmen" interrupted as a deliberate take down? If Serverloft did take the sites down, why were 4500 other sites affected? Can they not shut down one or two sites without taking down every other site that shares the same IP? Why would a German ISP respond (briefly) to a request from "some guy" in a government job in another country, and then enable the

  • Just goes to show you that our Bill of Rights is worth about as much as this [fotosearch.com].

    (Yeah, we're not much different in that from anywhere else; just in what's censored.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rickb928 (945187)

      I'm not sure Canada has a Bill of Rights. Here in the U.S., it's worth as much as you want it to be.

      Remember, the three boxes.

    • by wumingzi (67100)

      Well, you do need to work on that bit in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which allows for prior restraint. (i.e. you have freedom of speech until a judge rules that you don't).

      The issue here is that an ISP outside of Canada got a nastygram from the Government of Canada and folded like origami paper rather than saying "We're sorry. This is not Canada. Please feel free to seek legal remedy from a court in this jurisdiction and we will comply with that request immediately!"

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Our charter of rights and freedoms works fine. S.1 however states that the government can override any part of it for a 'just' cause. Seriously they need to stop teaching kids in highschool criminal and civil law and teach them government policy instead.

      Oh you might have noticed that the website(s) aren't censored either. You've just happily flown off the handle for a well known hack-group that does this stuff. OTOH the Federal Government can get them shut down for use of a domain name/site that looks c

  • "The net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." [wikiquote.org] The solution is obvious: Move your servers to a more free-speech friendly country. When the US and Canada start to see that taking down sites at the drop of a hat is very harmful to their hosting businesses, then maybe they will do something about it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cpghost (719344)

      Move your servers to a more free-speech friendly country.

      Yes... except that we are quickly running out of free-speech friendly countries (Canada was one of the most free). Soon we'll have to seriously think about putting pirate senders in orbit, just like the old off-shore pirate radio stations of the last century.

      • Canada was one of the most free

        Only as long as you don't upset the Rotary Club or other similar criminally corrupt organizations.

    • And that’s why a “global government” is going to fuck us, hard.

      Where will you go, if there is only one country? Or a group, and they are all just as bad.

      To an island with a satellite dish? Just wait until they cut off the connection, the supplies, and come with a ship full of snipers, if needed.

    • The solution is obvious: Move your servers to a more free-speech friendly country.

      That's what they did. Serverloft is a German company. But apparently, Germany is not free-speech friendly enough... so now the sites are hosted in Denmark! Hehe...

      Hmmm, but why doesn't the Canadian government simply lean on the .ca registry, that would be much easier...

    • by dangitman (862676)

      When the US and Canada start to see that taking down sites at the drop of a hat is very harmful to their hosting businesses, then maybe they will do something about it.

      Invade said countries?

  • Uh, More Hoax? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TrebleJunkie (208060) <ezahurak@a[ ]nticbb.net ['tla' in gap]> on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @03:13PM (#30585886) Homepage Journal

    Uh, could the press release (from the Hoaxsters, no less) just be more of a Hoax?

  • Is it me or is the Global Elite just getting lazy?

    At least for the last 120 years they put some effort into hiding the fact that we are in fact all powerless pesants under the heel of an elite in which the law only serves said elite. At least we had the illusion of "equality, the rule of law, and freedom."

    I for one an dissapointed in my ruling shadow government and would like to formally request that a new shadow government that plans to treat me like a pesant, rise up, over throw the existing elite, and es

    • by MarkvW (1037596)

      You are hilarious. If I'm living a peasant life, I wonder what kind of life those in 3rd world countries live!

      Fat, happy peasants of the world UNITE! You have nothing to lose except your consumer goods!

      • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        You know what's REALLY funny is that I recently watched a documentary comparing modern life to that of peasants in the middle ages, and when you strip away the comforts we have because of modern technology (plentiful high calorie foods, great medical care, comfortable cheap living materials, etc), the average peasant spent less time working for his lord than we do working for the government (i.e. taxes). Most all peasants had their own plot of land to work and a house that was their own, and they were gene

        • by MarkvW (1037596)

          We poor modern peasants work a LOT more than our peasant forefathers did, thanks to our ginormously longer life expectancy. How grossly unjust!

          The life of a middle age serf was nasty, brutish and short. My peasant life is fairly pleasant, protected from brutes by the cops and the army, and long-lived.

          Oh, how I yearn from the idyllic peasant life of yore! When a peasant knew his place and stayed exactly the fuck there!

  • This happens all the time in the U.S. The government even shut down a Spanish travel agency that arranged tours to Cuba -- they were foolish enough to register their domain name here. http://thespamdiaries.blogspot.com/2008/03/dont-register-or-host-your-domain-in-us.html [blogspot.com]

    • The site was offshore. I was hosted in Germany, not Canada. That makes the whole affair even more outrageous. Why serverloft didn't simply ignore the request is a mystery.
  • by stimpleton (732392) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @03:23PM (#30586016)
    From Wikipedia re The Yes Men: "...they create and maintain fake websites similar to ones they want to spoof, and then they accept invitations received on their websites to appear at conferences, symposia, and TV shows".

    I would be looking at this with tongue firmly in cheek.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_yes_men [wikipedia.org]
  • ...but this is one good reason why we need commercial space flight.

    With commercial space flight you collect money to put a pre-built server into orbit and serve pages from there.

    Now granted the bandwidth wouldn't be fast but for things like free speech related documents you really don't need speed just stable retention. You could still store video up there as well it would just be slow to get on and off the server obviously.

    As long as the system had power and a good antenna the data could be available f
    • by cpghost (719344)

      You could still store video up there as well

      What do we do when bandwidth is not enough? We outsource the data and post only magnet links. I could easily imagine a server in space continuously broadcasting nothing more than pages and pages full of magnet links.

    • by dangitman (862676)
      Wouldn't it be easier just to put the server deep underground? A satellite in orbit would be trivial for a government to take down.
  • Wouldn't the Canadian authorities really be lumberjackbooted? If so, do they have pointy high-heels? Those could really hurt!
  • Was that they infringed on copyrights and tradmarks.
  • self-inflicted? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by molecular (311632) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @03:55PM (#30586404)

    since the site seems to be fine from anywhere and a whole ip-segment was screwed, maybe these yes-men screwed up one of their own routers, suspected some conspiracy and then made up this story?

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      Or maybe they would just make the whole thing up, since their bread and butter is fooling dumbasses who don't check their facts?

      I'm pretty sure the OP, the editor, and 90% of the commentors on this post have been duped. No doubt The Yes Men find it absolutely hilarious.

      Incidentally, so do I. :)

  • Yet another reason I can tell my clients to use us for hosting. Being their developers, we only host our own projects.

  • The Canadian government has decided to use RPGs to take out shoplifters.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Arimus (198136)

      Rocket Propelled Grenades aren't too effective vs people... make alot of mess

      Now a good sized boxset of DnD or WoW collectors edition carefully aimed will take the shoplifter out without too much collateral damage so assume you mean the later use of RPG ;)

  • by gizmonic (302697) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @05:33PM (#30587798) Homepage

    My first thought on reading the summary was that Serverloft was a bunch of tools. As I read more and realized the press release was probably a hoax, it made me think. I know the US and Canada have different laws, and IANAL, but if this were the US, I would tend to think Serverloft would have a decent case of libel against them. They can claim "parody" all they want, but if I had merely skimmed the surface, and not read deeper, Severloft woulda been stuck with a negative connotation for me all because these a holes want to screw around. How many of Serverloft's customers read that press release and immediately went and checked if their sites were up? How many are currently looking for a new provider right now? I am all for free speech. If I say "Company A sucks" then fine. Too bad for them. (In the US, of course, I'm sure some company's attorney would want to sue you over voicing that opinion.) But to say they killed 4500 customers in a knee jerk reaction when they didn't? That is not the same thing at all. That can have actual damages. And if I were Serverloft, I'd be consulting someone about it.

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