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Censorship Your Rights Online

Canadian Censorship Takes Down 4500 Sites 227

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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  • Happy Ending (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Servaas ( 1050156 ) <[captivayay] [at] []> on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @04:06PM (#30585776)
    So it does work out in the end? There is bound to be some high profile sites out there that got shutdown and will now switch to another provider that will shows some *sunglasses* backbone?
  • misleading (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @04:13PM (#30585880)

    How can you blame the Canadian government for the hosting provider incompetence? They sent the provider a letter with their grievance, the provider is the one responsible for following through without due process, a warrant and apparently then they screw it up?

    Sounds like hosting provider fail to me and the yes men crying like little whiners.

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

    by TrebleJunkie ( 208060 ) <ezahurak@at l a n> on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @04:13PM (#30585886) Homepage Journal

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

  • Re:Works for me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nos. ( 179609 ) <andrew&thekerrs,ca> on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @04:19PM (#30585964) Homepage

    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 them again, within a matter of hours?

  • Re:misleading (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shentino ( 1139071 ) <> on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @04:21PM (#30585996)

    The government never should have issued the letter in the first place.

    Wussy provider or not, issuing a bogus takedown notice is a dick move by itself.

  • by Nos. ( 179609 ) <andrew&thekerrs,ca> on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @04:28PM (#30586088) Homepage

    I'd like a little more confirmation before I believe the Canadian Government issued a take down notice. At best, its an employee of the Government. I didn't see it mentioned anywhere that an elected official had any part in this.

    Also, the ISP is in Germany. If an employee from some department in some other company sent me a take down notice, I doubt I'd jump. If this is being reported accurately (and I have some doubts), I'd have more questions for the ISP than I would for the Canadian Government. For example, why did taking down 2 sites interrupt service to 4500 other sites?

    That being said, is close enough to to cause confusion to a casual surfer. I don't think they should be allowed to use it, but in that case, the trademark/copyright holder should go through CIRA.

  • Re:Works for me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by genner ( 694963 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @04:30PM (#30586100)


    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.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @04:32PM (#30586132) Journal

    Why don't you blame the people who are REALLY responsible? The voters.

    As long as people vote for the guy who tells them they can keep their 2 suvs and that he will lower their taxes (never actually happened anywhere) you will get these kind of guys.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BlueStraggler ( 765543 ) * on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @05:00PM (#30586464)

    How else do you explain the politicians who self-identify as "conservative" who are so eager to expand the size and power of government?

    That's an easy one. The core philosophy in conservatism is maintaining the existing power structures in society. The size of government is immaterial, and will be increased when necessary and decreased when unnecessary to the achievement of this aim. The existing power structure in the USA is based around the military industrial complex, which dictates big, big, big government (but which spends very little on actual social programs). The power structure in Canada is based around the resource economy, which dictates government small enough that the energy, mining, and forestry companies can override popular opposition. That pretty much explains everything you need to know about the differences between American and Canadian conservatives.

  • Re:Works for me (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @05:10PM (#30586574)

    Misleading for what purpose?

    If misleading to gain by foul means: tricking people into buying something they think is something else, providing personal information they wouldn't otherwise provide; etc. then yeah, shut that down.

    If misleading to draw attention to a social ill by pulling a prank, then no, that's a very clever use of freedom of speech, even if somebody doesn't happen to think the prank is funny.

    I think the "grandma test" is the best way to assess the situation. I wouldn't want my grandma to inadvertently give her credit card number to identity thieves. I wouldn't mind if my grandma was tricked into believing that Canada was going to pave the entire country. The former is malicious and harmful, the latter is just good clean confused-grandma fun.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eddy the lip ( 20794 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @05:10PM (#30586588)

    Succinct, cogent and accurate. Are you sure you're on the right site?

  • Re:Works for me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by azgard ( 461476 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @05:48PM (#30587012)

    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:3, Insightful)

    by ArsenneLupin ( 766289 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @05:51PM (#30587040)

    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:5, Insightful)

    by Intron ( 870560 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:05PM (#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:Uh, More Hoax? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:11PM (#30587426)

    That's what I'm starting to think, and I'm finding it absolutely hilarious, given that this is exactly the sort of stunt "The Yes Men" stage all the time. This particular stunt would be peanuts compared to some of their others.

  • Germany has a sketchy concept of free speech [] to begin with. Perhaps they figured this would fall under "incitement of the people," albeit the Canadian people.
  • by gizmonic ( 302697 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:33PM (#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.

  • Re:Works for me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grcumb ( 781340 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:34PM (#30587818) Homepage Journal

    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 Arimus ( 198136 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @07:02PM (#30588182)

    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 countertrolling ( 1585477 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @07:16PM (#30588346) Journal

    The sad thing is the alternatives aren't much better.

    Then I would suggest voting for better alternatives.

Friction is a drag.