8 October 2004
FBI seizes Indymedia servers in the United Kingdom
(AMARC/IFEX) - AMARC is deeply concerned by reports about the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seizure of Indymedia servers in the United Kingdom. Indymedia is a global independent media network. Indymedia activists report that on the morning of 7 October 2004, United States (US) authorities issued a federal order to Rackspace, an internet service provider, ordering them to hand over information hosted on Indymedia web servers to the FBI. Rackspace, which provides hosting services for more than 20 Indymedia sites at its London facility, is reported to have complied by turning over two Indymedia servers to the US authorities, effectively removing those sites from the Internet.
In September, Indymedia was asked by the FBI to remove a story about Swiss undercover police from one of the websites hosted at Rackspace. It is not known, however, whether the 7 October order is related to that incident since the order was reported to have been issued to Rackspace and not to Indymedia. According to an Indymedia report, Rackspace said they "cannot provide Indymedia with any information regarding the order." ISPs have received gag orders in similar situations which prevent them from informing concerned parties about what is happening. It is unclear how and why a server outside US jurisdiction can be seized by US authorities.
Indymedia has reported that the list of local media collectives affected by the FBI seizure includes those in Ambazonia, Uruguay, Andorra, Poland, Western Massachusetts, Nice, Nantes, Lilles, Marseille, Euskal Herria (Basque Country), Liege, East and West Vlaanderen, Antwerpen (all Belgium), Belgrade, Portugal, Prague, Galiza, Italy, Brazil, the United Kingdom and Germany. Additionally, several streaming radio stations, a Linux distribution site and other services hosted on those servers were also affected. Many of the services have since been re-established by Indymedia activists working overnight to restore them from back-up media and redirect the Indymedia content to replacement servers.