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Dow Retaliates via Verio vs. Thing.net

Bowing to pressure from the Dow Chemical Corporation, the internet company Veriohas bootedthe activist-oriented Thing.net from the Web.
December 23, 2002

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thing.net assistance page:
secure.thing.net/backbone/

Contact:  thing-group@rtmark.com


ACTIVIST NETWORK IN NY EVICTED FROM INTERNET BY DOW, VERIO

Bowing to pressure from the Dow Chemical Corporation, the internet company Veriohas booted the activist-oriented Thing.net from the Web.
Internet service provider Thing.net has been the primary service provider for activist and artist organizations in the New York area for 10 years.
On December 3, activists used a server housed by Thing.net to post a parody Dow press release on the eighteenth anniversary of the disaster in which 20,000 people died as a result of an accident at a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India. (Union Carbide is now owned by Dow.) The deadpan statement, which many people took as real, explained that Dow could not accept responsibility for the disaster due to its primary allegiance to its shareholders and to its bottom line.

Dow was not amused, and sent a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaintto Verio, which immediately cut Thing.net off the internet for fifteen hours. A few days later, Verio announcedthat Thing.net had 60 days to move to another provider before being shut down permanently, unilaterally terminating Thing.net's 7-year-old contract.

Affected organizations include PS1/MOMA, Artforum, Nettime, Tenant.net (which assists renters facing eviction), and hundreds more.

"Verio's actions are nothing short of outrageous," said Wolfgang Staehle, Thing.net Executive Director. "They could have resolved the matter with the Dow parodists directly; instead they chose to shut down our entire network. This self-appointed enforcement of the DMCA could have a serious chilling effect on free speech, and has already damaged our business."

RTMark, which publicizes corporate abuses of democracy, is housed on Thing.net. Please visit secure.thing.net/backbone/to help Thing.net survive Dow's and Verio's actions, and to develop a plan to avoid such problems in the future.

See what "Dow" has to say about this!  http://www.dowethics.com/r/environment/freedom.html

And for more on the realDow, see this incredible item.  http://www.greenpeace.org/international_en/news/details?news_id=95504
indymedia is next 31.Jan.2003 08:25

The Patriot Guy

I have been waiting for this would happen and it surprises me that Dow / Bhopal was the inaugural issue, but now that there has been a successful squelching of free speech, it is only a matter of time before W & company come after all the ISPs that house various radical content.

Lets us face the fact that W has to stop the internet. How can he have his phony war when the truth is still available to the masses? Expect to see more of this, and to the valiant person who made this post, my heart felt thanks.

The Next Warfront 31.Jan.2003 10:37

Metal Pancreas

I thought people might be interested in this- sorry for the cut and paste typos, but I published it at 5 in the morning.

The relevance of this is pretty self-evident, and, as computer users by definition, I figured this would hit home. If corporations can leverage their lawyer-soldiers at anyone they don't like, we're in for a tough struggle. Fortunately, as one of the links in the story points out, people around the world mirrored the site and kept the story going.

To my eyes it looks like the classic scenario with the Hydra, except this time the Hydra is the good guy: you start hacking away at the enemy and you obliterate part of it, only to make two more appear elsewhere. This can only work, of course, if the knowledge makes it out in a dissemenatable form (which is usually why someone like Dow wants to stamp it out in the first place.)

I propose that we post stuff like this on Indymedia's whenever we hear about it so that whoever wants to mirror the sites can, and so that the most people hear about this kind of activity and have access to it. If one of the world's major producers of chemical doesn't want me to know something, then, by jove, I wanna know it!

Keep fighting the good fight and keep speech free and absolute!

we need to decentralize and mirror content 31.Jan.2003 14:03

m2

this is yet one more reason why we (meaning anyone interested in free speech and free exchange of ideas) need to work to build the technical infrastructure to decentralize and mirror the hosting of information. we can not rely on ANY corporate or government entity to be reliable or trustworthy hosts for us, and many are or will be actively working to shut us down.

here are some steps to start learning about this:

1. check out some sites regarding digital free speech:
 http://freespeech.org/
 http://www.gilc.org/
 http://tao.ca/
 http://www.eff.org/

2. learn about open source software:
 http://www.gnu.org/
 http://www.opensource.org/

3. download and learn a flavor of linux:
 http://www.linux.org/
 http://www.debian.org/
 http://www.redhat.com/

4. pick up a book at the library on linux, open source, peer to peer networking, electronic freedom

5. start learning about decentralized information sharing and peer-to-peer networks:

 http://freenetproject.org/
 http://www.gnutella.com/

6. dream up ways to design electronic information sharing systems which are secure, anonymous, decentralized, independent, run on renewable energy, re-using old computer components, and free...

RE: m2 31.Jan.2003 17:33

cj

m2,

i agree with you completely. the main role of the corporate media is to filter information on behalf of the ruling class and i dont see that ever changing. we (being anyone who cares) have to start some sort of decentralized hosting service that is completely independent of any corporate control. it should be run in a voluntary and participatory way and provide webspace for activist groups and research. im studying computer science in university and am specializing in distributed computing, networking, OS design and databases and i hope to write software to run a completely decentralized web server (GPL'ed of course). the elite are losing their control of information because of the internet.