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Ahimsa article


If we want to start campaigning in a bigger way about the ahimsa server, and related questions we need one article with the facts and the main questions that arise from it.

a) die fakten dargestellt werden (wer hat wann was gemacht/gesagt). Wichtig dabei: Wann sind die verschwundenen webseiten jeweils wieder ins netz gegangen, was ist verloren? b) eine Diskussion ueber was das fuer internet rights bedeutet, evt. koennte die leitfrage sein: warum haben so viele uns unterstuetzt? c) eine Diskussion ueber die Rolle von ISPs, was ja in die Frage der Struktur des Internet uebergeht.


  • Intro: What is Indymedia: open posting. Local collectives in a global network, sharing resources like support, servers and url, but no governing body, and no responsibility for other sites.
  • Rackspace and Ahimsa before the seizure

  • Server seizure: time line of events, including events in italy and switzerland
  • state of things: motion to unseal etc (the section might need updating once in a while
  • support by others

  • internet rights: who owns the postings, logs, content of sites and admin interfaces? the owner of the url, or the owner of the server? the differenc between a printing press and a server, since the tool to produce a product also contains information about the production.
  • rights and responsibilities of ISPs: this might need 3 sections for EU, US and the interaction between both. what kind of obligation does an isp have towards authorities - and towards it's clients. what rights do the client have? the responsibility of a provider who sets ups sites for clients on a server: what do you do when you host 10 sites, and all go down because some authority wants info on 1 site? is that legal? indymedia collectives don't pay for services, but a business could be damaged if their site is down for a week because the provider hosts some ngo on the same server. where does that leave isp and other providers? where does that leave small radical sites?

resources including a list of imc's that were up fast and of those who were still down

Threats against websites and resolutions

Report about biwater case

ahimsa gone and returned

Letzteres entstand aus dem Wunsch, die wiki-seite in einen zitierbaren Artikel umzubauen.

timeline: diese version habe ich aus allen verschiedenen versionen zusammengestellt.

EFF text:

this text is not completely correct in distinguishing between facts and strong assumptions

1 On October 7, 2004, hard drives from two Indymedia servers, held under contract with an Indymedia volunteer (A) were seized from the London office of a US-owned web hosting company, Rackspace at the request of the US Justice Department after a request from Italian authorities. The hard drives were returned on October 13 but it is likely US authorities copied the contents. The legal basis for the removal is still under contention. Rackspace did not formally request information about the postings prior to the seizure, which shut down an Indymedia radio station and 20 different Indymedia websites across the world. The UK Home Office refused to confirm or deny involvement.

October 8, 2004, Rackspace stated: �In the present matter regarding Indymedia, Rackspace Managed Hosting, a U.S. based company with offices in London, is acting in compliance with a court order pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), which establishes procedures for countries to assist each other in investigations such as international terrorism, kidnapping and money laundering. Rackspace responded to a Commissioner's subpoena, duly issued under Title 28, United States Code, Section 1782 in an investigation that did not arise in the United States. Rackspace is acting as a good corporate citizen and is cooperating with international law enforcement authorities. The court prohibits Rackspace from commenting further on this matter.� On Friday, October 20, 2004, Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) filed a motion to unseal the Seizure Order in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. In the motion, EFF attorneys argue that "the public and the press have a clear and compelling interest in discovering under what authority the government was able to unilaterally prevent Internet publishers from exercising their First Amendment rights." Italian Judge in Bologna Marina Plazzi made the original request to US authorities for server IP logs on October 13, 2004. The request related to postings about an enquiry into four letter bombs that were sent to various European dignitaries including Romano Prodi were allegedly sent by a group calling themselves FAI (Informal Anarchist Front) in December 2003. But Bologna anarchist group, which is actually known as FAI, did not know of the incident and condemned the action. The right-wing Italian newspaper La Repubblica, which received identical statements from the alleged FAI group published the information without any sanctions. Italian authorities have since claimed that US authorities went beyond the remit of the original request.



Indymedia is a network of local, autonomous collectives brought based on the idea to provide a space for open publishing: a space where everybody can post anynomously and without the (prior) controll of an editorial team. All IMCs accept the Pricinciple of Unity, but how and what they do to fill in these ideas in their respective communities and conditions are their autonous decisions. However, a lot of IMCs share resources such as the URL where each IMC can get a subdomain (e.g., server space and tech support. It's not uncommon for a few IMC sites to be hosted on one server together somewhere. However, they don't have access to each others sites, or influence on their editorial policies. The access of the techies to different sites on each server is also restricted. It is the common understanding of what Indymedia is doing that keeps the network together - not a hierachical structure. In this respect different IMC sites are like sites of different organisations, even if they are hosted on one server.

Rackspace and Ahimsa

Rackspace Managed Hosting ( is a US webhosting company, located in Texas, US. They have a subsidary in the UK. [check the legal facts on that: but it should mean that this is a seperate legal entity.] Legally both companies are sperate entities, subject to different laws (US and UK). Legally the actual ahimsa hardware is probably the property of rackspace UK, but that should be checked. The US company might have access to the UK hardware through the setup of the company/ies, but we might need to stress the fact that they are two companies. J., an Indymedia techie has a contract with Rackspace UK, identical with the master service agreement that can be downloaded from the site [link]. The contract is renting and hostign about a (dedicated) server (called Ahimsa) which was located in the UK under the UK contract. J. therefore has no legal contract with Rackspace US. The only connection to the US is that the domain is registered in the US, but not by J.

In agreement with J. about 20 indymedia collectives hosted their sites on this server. He also hosted a webmail server, blag and other sites and data on it. (get complete list) Are Ahimsa 1 and 2, two hard drives or 2 servers?

timeline maybe we should try to get the timeline more in a table: with different threads on issues or locations

This is what I got from rackspace: Thu Oct 7 12:25:13 2004


Unfortunately, we have received a federal order to provide your hardware to the requesting agency. We are complying at this time. Our datacenter technicians are building you a new server which will be online as soon as possible. Your account manager will notify you once the new server is online and available.

I apologize for abruptness of this. However, we are required to comply with all federal orders of this nature.

Please let us know if there is anything that we can do to make this easier on you.


Jennifer O\x92Connell AUP Administrator Rackspace Managed Hosting The Managed Hosting Specialist\x99 1-800-[CENSORED]

Thu Oct 7 12:52:54 2004

Jeff, I also wanted to let you know that we did attempt to call you. However, your voicemail said that your mailbox was full.


Jennifer O\x92Connell Rackspace AUP

- imc nantes/switzerland - imc italy - the actual seizure, marking clearly what are assumptions and what facts - UK authorities - EFF

state of things

The US court order (which ever form it might have) is sealed. Does that mean that not even Rackspace in the US knows what it says? The EFF is currently trying to get the courtorder unsealed, so that Indymedia knows what this is actually all about. The following legal steps depend on that.

Topic revision: r5 - 17 Feb 2005, ClarA
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