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Government Censorship Communications Crime The Internet United States

Blogetery Shutdown Due To al-Qaeda Info 330

Archness1 writes "Over the weekend we discussed news that blog host Blogetery.com had been shut down at the request of the US government. Now, it appears the site was shut down because some of the blogs it was hosting contained information on al-Qaeda hit lists and bomb making. According to the article, Burst.net shut down Blogetery of its own accord after the FBI made a request to the host for information on the people who made the posts. '[Burst.net CTO Joe Marr] said the FBI contacted Burst.net and sent a Voluntary Emergency Disclosure of Information request. The letter said terrorist material, which presented a threat to American lives, was found on a server hosted by Burst.net and asked for specific information about the people involved. In the FBI's letter, the agency included a clause that says Web hosts and Internet service providers may voluntarily elect to shut down the sites of customers involved in these kinds of situations.'"
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Blogetery Shutdown Due To al-Qaeda Info

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  • Hysteria indeed (Score:3, Informative)

    by poptones ( 653660 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @06:36PM (#32957570) Journal

    I truly hope you and the folks who have thus far replied to your post will some day take the time to actually read some of the works that inspired our Constitution. Start with "Common Sense" - it was written so as to be understood by the commoners of the day; hopefully y'all have sufficient education as to be able to understand the work today...

  • Re:Brilliant.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @06:38PM (#32957600)

    I don't think you really understand what happened. Burst.net is a hosting provider. They found out that one of their thousands of customers was blatantly violating TOS, and shut it down. Bloggetry was that one customer, but they happened to resell what they bought to 70,000 other people, so when one Blogetery user violated Burst.net's TOS, all 70,000 got shutdown. Blggetery is clearly pathetic here, as they relied entirely on someone else's infrastructure, made no attempt to monitor what they were hosting, and had no backup. They had no "investors", Blogetery is one twenty something year old retard who had no idea what he was doing, and was just offering free blog hosting and collecting Adsense dollars. Burst.net has investors, and made the right and obvious call.

  • Re:Hysteria indeed (Score:3, Informative)

    by headkase ( 533448 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @06:50PM (#32957730)
    Since you brought it up, here is a link: Common Sense [usconstitution.net].
  • Re:Why stop there? (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheMeuge ( 645043 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:37PM (#32958162)

    I assume DHS will be raiding libraries nationwide, removing books on bomb making, explosives, etc?

    And of course many chemistry texts, especially those which focus on such experiments?

    Then they can go and visit our colleges, universities, and technical schools, so that these institutions can discontinue any teaching of such dangerous and unacceptable subjects?

    It's already happening. So many new organisms have made it onto "select agent lists" that I am surprised any decent virology is still being done in the US. Soon we'll be left with no human pathogens outside the list that can be used for research.

    And to do work on something that's on the list, you have to go through a process that takes so long that the student or post-doc would want to be leaving by the time they are cleared to do the work.

  • Re:Sounds right. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:30PM (#32958708)
    Um, actually that's not true. I am not sure where you got that information, but in fact it is one of the Federal government's legitimate duties to maintain a "standing army", and there is no restriction about it being inside the U.S. The only real restriction is that the government cannot force citizens to put the army up in their own houses.

    The Second Amendment even says: "A well-regulated militia [i.e., a "standing army"] being necessary to the security of a free State..."

    We were guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms, because it is necessary to have a standing army. Nowhere does the Constitution or Declaration of Independence say that the army shall not be "maintained" within the United States.
  • by Liquidrage ( 640463 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @09:44PM (#32959322)
    The Burst.net employee who handled the request erroneously believed that the FBI would want to seize the customer's server and thus the employee cut off service to Blogetery. Marr said the FBI, however, never asked for the server.

    Well, that could clear up some of the shitty posts here.

    Also FFTA:
    Sources close to the investigation say that included in those materials were the names of American citizens targeted for assassination by al-Qaeda. Messages from Osama bin Laden and other leaders of the terrorist organization, as well as bomb-making tips, were also allegedly found on the server.

    Now, just my speculation here, but obviously there's a lot of "terrorist" crap all over American servers that the Gov doesn't give two shits about. So maybe in this case the FBI concluded that the information was actual communication from the organization, etc, and not just drivel. If so, good for them for removing it. Removing a "hit list" doesn't violate free speech that I care for. Either way, burstnet made a mistake and one that is probably an honest mistake. Shit happens.
  • by Chimel31 ( 1859784 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @11:31PM (#32960042)

    I did read it already, what do you think? It was referenced in 4.5. BTW, the link is: https://www.burst.net/policy/contract.pdf [burst.net]

    But as I said in http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=965094 [webhostingtalk.com], this clause does not make sense. The same Exhibit B section states:

    "(D) Offensive or Objectionable Material. BurstNET reserves the right to request you remove any material which BurstNET deems offensive, hurtful, or otherwise objectionable.
    Failure to do so may result in blocking your site or termination of the Agreement by BurstNET Services."

    In that case, blogetery was not even given the chance to delete the offending blog(s). Even if burst.net gives itself all powers (basically making the whole contract a total joke), it was 1) not legal (as in "required by a legal court order or Patriot Act request") for burst.net to take down the site, 2) a partial breach of 4.5 and Exhibit B (D) of the contract, and 3) a totally stupid act to take down 73,000 blogs when only a couple were being investigated by the FBI.

    Burst.net should get all the blame and bad publicity it deserves for such an outrageous act. The whole blogosphere is posting comments asking everybody to stop working with burst.net, I totally agree.

  • by Chimel31 ( 1859784 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @11:44PM (#32960114)

    Source links?
    The only "mistake" made was when an employee inadvertently let out that it was a "federal matter", when he was not supposed to tell that much. Burst.net official statement states that the take down was a conscious decision made after reviewing the blogs referenced by the FBI, not an "honest mistake": https://www.burst.net/news/blogetry.shtml [burst.net]

    Plus I wonder how happy the FBI is with burst.net's decision and all the publicity: It might have wanted to infiltrate the terrorist blog(s) or at least track which IPs were posting or commenting on it. The FBI was only asking burst.net who the blogetery owner was.

  • Re:CYA (Score:3, Informative)

    by EllisDees ( 268037 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @12:39AM (#32960414)

    Ask Maher Arar [wikipedia.org] about that.

    "Arar was detained during a layover at John F. Kennedy International Airport in September 2002 on his way home to Canada from a family vacation in Tunis. He was held in solitary confinement in the United States for nearly two weeks, questioned, and denied meaningful access to a lawyer. The US government suspected him of being a member of Al Qaeda and deported him, not to Canada, his current home, but to his native Syria, even though its government is known to use torture. He was detained in Syria for almost a year, during which time he was tortured, according to the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar, until his release to Canada.

    The government of Canada ordered a commission of inquiry which concluded that he was tortured. The commission of inquiry publicly cleared Arar of any links to terrorism. The government of Canada later settled out of court with Arar and awarded him a C$10.5 million settlement. The Syrian government reports it knows of no links of Arar to terrorism."

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @12:48AM (#32960450) Homepage

    Search "how to make a bomb" [google.com] with Google. Not only do you get videos and diagrams, Google is very helpful in coming up with additional information:

    Searches related to "how to make a bomb":

    • how to make a bomb with household items
    • how to make a tennis ball bomb
    • how to make a stink bomb
    • how to make a chlorine bomb
    • how to make a pipe bomb
    • how to make a gun
    • pipe bomb
    • how to make fireworks

    It's not like it's difficult information to find. A Justice Department report says [justice.gov] "the DOJ committee has determined that anyone interested in manufacturing a bomb, dangerous weapon, or a weapon of mass destruction can easily obtain detailed instructions from readily accessible sources, such as legitimate reference books, the so-called underground press, and the Internet."

  • Re:US Hysterical (Score:4, Informative)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @09:57AM (#32963550) Homepage Journal

    Fortunately, the US is a democracy

    Unfortunately, it isn't. It's a plutocratic republic where corporations can bribe both major candidates with campaign cash and get any damned thing they want, and to hell with the average person.

    That, and having a polarized two-party system, nobody's really able to do anything even in power.

    There's little real difference between the two parties; the Democrats are tax and spend, the Republicans are borrow and spend. Both are beholden to corporations; the only difference is which corporations. Neither one gives a damn about the Constitution or your rights. Both are for increased copyright lengths and increased penalties for infringing copyright, even noncommercial infringement. You won't find but maybe one or two politicians from either party who would legalize marijuana, for instance, despite the fact that the only people who benefit from marijuana laws are the ones growing, importing, and selling marijuana; both major parties are in lockstep. It makes me wonder how much bribe money the drug cartels shovel to the Republican and Democratic parties.

    And the corporate media has convinced everyone that if you vote Green or Libertarian you've wasted your vote. I say if you vote for a candidate who wants you in jail for smoking pot or sharing MP3s you're a fool.

  • Re:US Hysterical (Score:3, Informative)

    by DrgnDancer ( 137700 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @01:41PM (#32967414) Homepage

    I stand in a position to know, as I was a battalion staff officer in theater during the transition: Between 2003 and 2005 the money being given out for civilian aide and reconstruction came under *much* tighter scrutiny. I entered theater in the tail end of the "lawless" period, and the transition still wasn't totally complete when I left, but It was a very different system. For the first year or two of the Iraq war, we really were just pretty much shipping money over.

    When we first got there our logistics officer used to report to a building once a month and just get issued wads of cash. I think it was like 50K a month in the first month or two (this was a battalion level logistics officer. There are probably hundred of battalions in theater). He had to turn in receipts of course, but the nature of the people we were doing business with meant that even legitimate receipts often looked like something forged. Our S-4 was an honest guy (at least I never saw any evidence to the contrary, and I worked with him all the time), but he and I came up with at least 6 ways wee could have walked off with a good chuck of that money if we'd wanted to.

    After a couple months the first wave of "Holy Shit where is all this money going?" had begun to trickle down and our allowance was cut to 15K a month, and the rules tightened significantly on what the money could be used for and how it was to be tracked. The *really* scary part is that the Logistics officer from the unit we replaced told our S-4 that they'd already tightened things considerably from when he first arrived.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky