THE SUIT WEARING US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has seized an anonymising email server to find out who sent a bomb threat.
The FBI seized the server on Wednesday, said co-location hosting firm Riseup Networks and May First/People Link, an organisation that offers technology services for counterculture groups. In a blog post they said that the server operated by the European Counter Network (ECN) that provided an anonymous remailer service called Mixmaster was taken because it might provide evidence about bomb threats. However, they added that it will not contain any useful information or evidence.
"The company running the facility has confirmed that the server was removed in conjunction with a search warrant issued at the request of the FBI," said May First/People Link director Jamie McClelland. "The server seizure is not only an attack against us, but an attack against all users of the Internet who depend on anonymous communication."
McClelland said that many users are affected by the loss of the server, including academics, artists, historians, feminist groups, gay rights groups, community centers, documentation and software archives and free speech groups, as well as a number of mailing lists.
Three hundred email accounts, between 50-80 email lists, and a collection of web sites have been taken down thanks to the seizure. None of them are likely to be of any use to investigators because of their anonymising nature.
"The FBI is using a sledgehammer approach, shutting down service to hundreds of users due to the actions of one anonymous person," said Devin Theriot-Orr, a spokesperson for Riseup.
"This is particularly misguided because there is unlikely to be any information on the server regarding the source of the threatening emails. Taking this server won't stop these bomb threats. The only effect it has is to also disrupt e-mail and websites for thousands of unrelated people." µ