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Indybay Feature
Thu Jan 22 2009 (Updated 01/24/09)
Police Seize UK Indymedia Server (Again)
Indymedia Server in Manchester Seized by Authorities
On January 22, an Indymedia server was seized by police in Manchester, England. UK Indymedia believes the search and seizure was connected to postings about the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) trial, in which seven activists from SHAC were found guilty of "conspiracy to blackmail" and on January 21 were sentenced to a total of fifty years in prison.

Kent Police had e-mailed Indymedia UK earlier in the day, requesting that two comments containing the address of the judge in the SHAC trial be removed from the site. However, this information had already been quickly removed in line with IMC UK editorial policy. The e-mail also requested that information relating to the poster be retained. As an open posting news service, Indymedia does not log such information about its sources.

Management at hosting company UK Grid say they asked the police for a warrant, and the officers said they did not have one but could get one after a phone call. Apparently the server was handed over by UK Grid without a warrant being served.

The search and seizure specifically targeted a server known as "Strummer" which functions as a mirror of the UK site and does not actually receive submissions from users. If a search warrant was issued, it appears that the judge did not check the validity of the request to seize the server, and the seizure was perhaps intended only to attack Indymedia infrastructure.

Other sites that have been affected as a result of the seizure include London Indymedia, the global Indymedia documentation site, la Soja Mata – an anti-GM soya campaign focusing on South American development, Transition Sheffield, and a Canadian campaign against the 2010 Olympics.

On October 7, 2004, the hard drives of an Indymedia server named "Ahimsa" hosted at Rackspace UK were seized in an operation that apparently involved the cooperation of law enforcement from the US, UK, and Italy, and resulted in the disruption of more than 20 Indymedia sites as well as an entire Linux distribution. On June 27, 2005, another Indymedia server was seized by police from a home in Bristol, England.

Indybay Coverage of 2004 UK Indymedia Server Seizure
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