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QUESTIONS for UK Home Office + UK Government over Server Seizures

Questions | 10.10.2004 11:53 | European Social Forum | FBI Server Seizure | Indymedia | Repression | Technology | London

The seizure of the Indymedia Servers in London raises serious constitutional questions as well as serious questions over the ability of domestic and foreign powers to shut down media outlets while shrouding the operation in a veil of secrecy.

The situation is akin to some legal and informational Guantanamo. Twenty Media Outlets from around the world were shut down with the seizure of two webservers in this country, and there is still several days later no information about who has the servers, where they are, why they were seized, who in fact authorised it, when or if they will be returned, and importantly why this action was taken.

This is bigger than Indymedia, it is a concern for all. Below are some relevant questions that need answering. There are probably many more as well.

Can the UK Governemnt confirm that they will ensure the seized servers ARE RETURNED as per STANDARD PROCEDURE under a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT)?

(NOTE: the uk gov / home office can waiver this requirement if they like - so we need to be told - as it is THEIR DECISION)

WHEN will seized property be returned?

WHY was the property seized?

WHO in the UK was RESPONSIBLE for authorisation?

WHO in other countries was RESPONSIBLE for both requesting and authorising this?

WHO were the servers handed over to? (FBI? Other US Officials?)
Were UK POLICE OFFICERS present? If yes from which units?

This is important since NO INFORMATION has yet been provided on this. Indeed journalists making enquiries on Friday drew a complete blank when phoning police units in the UK. Here are just a few that were tried:

UK London Met Police - nothing
MET press office - nothing
Serious fraud office - nothing
National Crime Squad Unit / NCIS - not one of our jobs
Serious Crimes Unit - no idea
Computer Crimes Unit - "not involved in this particular operation"


Has the Home Office, Blunkett, the Mutual Legal Assistance Unit at the Home Office, or a Judge examined the seizure to decide if it was PROPORTIONATE? Have they looked to see if the request could have been fulfilled in any other way, as they are allowed to do under MLAT?


What comment do they have over the seizure of JOURNALISTIC MATERIALS which come under specific clauses of MLAT and may be excluded?


What comment do they have over the shutting down of TWENTY MEDIA OUTLETS?


Please add any other relevant questions:



Hide the following comment

What stange behaviour

11.10.2004 22:09

I wish these governements would seize the servers of spammers and child pornographers instead. What on earth have you done to upset them so? It's a weird tactic since the whole point of the net is to easily cope with the loss of a server here or there. Fortunately for freedom of information there are multiple hosting companies to host your servers and since the physical servers hardly cost more than a few hundred bucks getting up and running again shouldn't have been too difficult. Anyway I'm really intrigued now.


Ian Yates