Betreff: [prep2003discovery2] Attempted Subpoena for Indymedia Logs
Von: Anna Webb
Datum: Sat, 4 Sep 2004 13:08:51 -0400

Independent Media Center | | ((( i )))

Gov't Attempts Subpoena For Indymedia Logs - Service Provider Refuses

The FBI and the US Secret Service is again engaging in a fishing 
expedition to route out dissenting viewpoints, harass people who are 
simply exercising their free speech rights, and intimidate others from 
exercising their right to protest in connection with the Republican 
National Convention. To quote one indymedia volunteer, regarding New 
York Indymedia     (  )
"It has come to my attention, that our hosting provider, Calyx Internet 
Access, has been under harassment and scrutiny by the United States 
Secret Service in a blatant attempt to disrupt our relationship. 
Furthermore, it has been revealed to me that my contact information, 
was required to be disclosed to the government, presumably to begin 
directly harassing me. The SS did not contact the IMC directly in 
relation to this matter, but instead felt it prudent to put a strain on 
a place which we do business with.

The agents attempted to circumvent Indymedia by contacting Calyx by 
phone, originally without a warrant or subpoena, in order to obtain 
user connection logs regarding a particular post on an Indymedia site. 
The post in question is a repost by an anonymous person containing 
information that is already available all over the Internet, and 
publicly available in other forms."[Subpoena (US law)  (   to 
order someone to go to a court of law to answer questions, or to order 
the appearance of documents in a court of law ] T subpoena is for 
information leading to the posters of a list of RNC Delegates.

Calyx's contacts at Indymedia are represented by the American Civil 
Liberties Union (  ) and the Electronic Frontier 
Foundation  (  ).   Indymedia is keenly aware of 
this kind of fishing expedition, as it has happened before, under 
similar circumstances. In April of 2001, while tens of thousands 
demonstrated against the proposed Free Trade Agreement of the Americas 
(FTAA) in the streets of Quebec City  (  ) 
the federal government attempted to do something very similar.

In this case the FBI and Secret Service obtained an order issued by 
Judge Benton, directing the IMC to supply the FBI with "all user 
connection logs" for April 20 and 21st from a web server occupying an 
IP address which the Secret Service believed belonged to the IMC. At 
that time, IMC counsel Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (  ) had this to say, and it is still apropos today:
"This kind of fishing expedition is another in a long line of overbroad 
and onerous attempts to chill political speech and activism. Back in 
1956, Alabama tried to force the NAACP to give up its membership lists 
-- but the Supreme Court stopped them. This order to IMC . . . is a 
threat to free speech, free association, and privacy."
[ More information: ]

The IMC was able to win that battle, and as a result of this attempt to 
violate our clear rights, we felt it prudent to develop a policy of not 
voluntarily gathering data for the government on people who visit our 
websites, or who post material to sites. ". . . we do not log IP 
addresses as a way of protecting the privacy of our visitors. . ."
[ More info: Indymedia FAQ (EN) | EFF | ACLU]
The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that the First Amendment protects 
the right to communicate anonymously with the press and for political 
purposes. We cannot understand why the Secret Service does not respect 
the U.S. Supreme Court. Additionally, a federal statute requires such 
attempts against the press to be approved by the Attorney General - and 
only after alternatives have been exhausted. It is plain that these 
standards have not been met in the past and are not being met here.

The particular order in question in the current, New York, case is 
puzzling: it is Title 18 U.S.C. 594 - "Intimidation or interference of 
voters." This plainly has not happened, but it is ironic to be bring up 
this subject during the Republican National Convention if Bush's 
connections to voter fraud and disenfranchisement in Florida during the 
last election are remembered. Another example is the Republican party's 
connections to the largest corporate voting interference ever, The 
Diebold Corporation, who make flawed electronic voting systems. In 
October of 2003, Diebold issued a cease and desist notice to Indymedia, 
because we had links to mirrors of a damning internal Diebold memo that 
was leaked. As a result of challenges by the Electronic Frontier 
Foundation, The Online Policy Group (OPG), and Indymedia, Diebold was 
forced to back down out of embarrassment.

It is truly disappointing that this United States government, which 
holds the moral ideals of free speech and free assembly, continues to 
resort to fear, intimidation, and terrorizing people who celebrate 
these essential American values. 

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