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FBI Seizes Server Providing Anonymous Remailer Service 355

Posted by timothy
from the arrogance-of-power-button dept.
sunbird writes "At 16:00 ET on April 18, federal agents seized a server located in a New York colocation facility shared by May First / People Link and Riseup.net. The server was operated by the European Counter Network ("ECN"), the oldest independent internet service provider in Europe. The server was seized as a part of the investigation into bomb threats sent via the Mixmaster anonymous remailer received by the University of Pittsburgh that were previously discussed on Slashdot. As a result of the seizure, hundreds of unrelated people and organizations have been disrupted."
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FBI Seizes Server Providing Anonymous Remailer Service

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  • Re:nonsense (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2012 @05:08PM (#39739651)

    More importantly: Unless the server operator was a total dofus, this brings them exactly zero steps towards resolving their problem, because this is exactly the kind of attack that Mixmasters was designed to withstand.

    Idiots. Is nobody teaching these fools basics about the stuff they encounter?

    I hate to defend them, but look at it from the FBI's point of view. Maybe the server operator was a total - or even a partial - doofus. The Feds would be even bigger doofuses (as in, negligent in their) to assume otherwise and not investigate the server. That's their job.

  • by Wowsers (1151731) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @05:09PM (#39739665) Journal

    It's a clear signal to people that if you run a business and your server is in the US, the US can kill your business stone dead in a raid which may have nothing to do with you other than being co-hosted at a server farm. And people wonder why less business is going to the US.

  • Re:Not New (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2012 @05:13PM (#39739709)

    don't worry the spider will not be harmed it will walk out between the debris and find a new place to hide...

  • by v1 (525388) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @05:20PM (#39739773) Homepage Journal

    If we dont let them send bomb threats, we're undermining free speech and the Internet"

    To which I reply "They need to find a different way to discourage or stop them from sending bomb threats. Inflicting me with collateral damage in the quest for better law enforcement is unacceptable, and so is removing my ability to speak with anonymity."

    Given the choice, I think I'd rather deal with the occasional bomb threat than not be able to speak anonymously.

  • Re:nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tibit (1762298) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @05:21PM (#39739789)

    So, they really need a whole big stinkin' server? If you're a professional, you'd switch the server to single user mode, dump the drive contents to a portable drive, reboot the server, and be on your merry way. If they have proper forensic data analysis tools, they should be able to deal with all popular raid arrays out there, so given those you shut the server down, use a portable disk imager to copy the drives, you then replace the drives, power the server back up, and are on your merry way. I just don't get what they need the server itself for. They are after the data, not the hardware.

  • Re:Correction (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2012 @05:29PM (#39739905)

    At least with the communists we knew that what made us better than them was our freedom. I think that probably served to keep us freer, longer.

    Yeah, there's that lip service to how the terrorists "hate our freedom", but we don't have the old USSR to compare ourselves against. "What is this, Soviet Russia?" was often all it took to get people to shut up about their fascist bullshit. "What is this, Sharia Law?" doesn't seem to be in use since we have no real enemy, just "terrorists" and "terrorism."

    And that's not to say that we *don't* have real terrorist enemies. We do. But people's attitudes towards fighting terrorists are much different than their attitudes were towards fighting the Soviets. Finding the terrorists is all about destroying every last one of them. Fighting the communists was just about being better than they were (and also killing them in third party countries, but I digress).

  • If we dont let them send bomb threats, we're undermining free speech and the Internet"

    To which I reply "They need to find a different way to discourage or stop them from sending bomb threats. Inflicting me with collateral damage in the quest for better law enforcement is unacceptable, and so is removing my ability to speak with anonymity."

    Given the choice, I think I'd rather deal with the occasional bomb threat than not be able to speak anonymously.

    Or, to totally mangle a famous quote:

    "First they came for the anonymous, but I was not anonymous, so I did nothing." That's probably true to life for most people actually....

  • Re:Not New (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @05:39PM (#39740019) Homepage

    You're assuming the message was for the spider and not for everyone who has a spider in their house. And the message is that if you carry a service we don't like, we'll make sure to inflict as much damage as possible when we come for it. You get a pretty good self-censoring effect out of it. Same reason TOR doesn't scale very well, you'd have to be mildly insane to run an exit node as a private person.

  • by KiloByte (825081) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @05:53PM (#39740193)

    or they are technically illiterate.

    From a technical point of view, their action is completely pointless. But from the social point of view, it works. They're sending a loud and clear message: if you try to stand up to your rights, you WILL be trampled.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @06:34PM (#39740575) Homepage Journal

    The legal and forensic arguments from which this action stem are a part of American policy which can, in fact apply to any jurisdiction. Taken pretty strictly as it is defined, the policy can be expressed: "Look, We're the FBI. That means your fucked, no matter what you do."

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @07:31PM (#39741071) Journal

    "Look, We're the FBI. That means your fucked, no matter what you do."

    The question that is begging to be asked is ---

    Who will FBI the FBI ?

  • by Obfuscant (592200) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @08:12PM (#39741367)

    However at the same time, can't the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburg police stop doing that and ignore the bomb threats, knowing that their leg is being pulled?

    No. The next time it might not be a joke.

    Universities are being sued for not doing enough to stop violence on campus when it happens, as rare as it is, and as much as they do. It's never enough for the lawyers and "grieving heirs".

    It's a large "corporation" to start with, and state schools have the combined pockets of the taxpayer to pick. You can't sue a school for being too careful, only if something happens and you can convince a judge that they might not have done enough. Why make it a slam-dunk victory for millions by ignoring the last, valid threat?

    This is the same reason that cops have to go check out 911 hangup calls. Most likely, it was someone who dialed by accident and then said "oh shit" and hung up. If they try to dodge the problem by turning their cell phone off, or not answering, the cops will show up to see if everything is ok. If the cops just ignored the call, they'd be sued by everyone involved when it turns out that the caller was forced to hang up, or the wire was ripped out of the wall, by her violent husband or vice versa, and someone wound up dead.

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Friday April 20, 2012 @05:20AM (#39744041)

    can't the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburg police stop doing that and ignore the bomb threats, knowing that their leg is being pulled? [...] "The boy who cried wolf" should also come into play

    There are two morals to the story of "The boy who cried wolf":
    Don't consistently lie or you'll get eaten (the moral for children)
    Sometimes, children's lies end up being the truth, so pay attention every time or they'll get eaten (the moral for adults)
    If you want to discourage lying, punish the liars when they're caught, but don't ignore what seems like a lie because it might be the truth.

You see but you do not observe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"

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