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NYC-IMC Subpoena'd

A few weeks back the FBI was harassing activists,
including an Indymedia tech volunteer, and now
the Secret Service is again engaging on 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.
A few weeks back the FBI was harassing activists, including an
Indymedia tech volunteer, and now the Secret Service is again engaging
on 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. 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.

The order in question is puzzling, it is Title 18 U.S.C. 594
"Intimidation or interference of voters." This has plainly has not
happened but is ironic to be bring up this subject during the
Republican National Convention if one remembers Bush's connections to
the voter fraud and disenfranchisement in Florida during the last
election. Additionally, the Republican party's connections to the
largest corporate voting interference ever, The Diebold corporation,
who makes flawed electronic voting systems. In October of 2003,
Diebold issued a cease and desist notice to the IMC, 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 (EFF),
The Online Policy Group (OPG), and Indymedia, Diebold was forced to
back down out of embarrassment. (Press release:
 http://www.onlinepolicy.org/media/031016dieboldthreat.shtml and more
information:  http://www.eff.org/Activism/E-voting/)

Indymedia is keenly aware of this kind of fishing expedition, as it
has to us 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:
 http://www.indymedia.org/fbi)

The IMC was able to defeat this 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:
 http://docs.indymedia.org/view/Global/FrequentlyAskedQuestionEn#hits
 http://www.eff.org/osp/)

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
doesn't 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 have
not been met here. I am truly disappointed that this 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.

homepage: homepage: http://www.indymedia.org/en/2004/08/111732.shtml