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FBI seizes computer equipment in Britain
Feds target Indymedia

By Nicole Colson | October 15, 2004 | Page 2

THE LONG hand of the FBI reached overseas last week to seize computer servers for London's Indymedia Web site.

The London offices of Rackspace, the Web site's Internet service provider, turned over the equipment after the FBI served the company's U.S. offices with a subpoena, The seizure of the servers temporarily shut down more than 20 Indymedia sites worldwide, as well as the global Indymedia Radio site.

While the FBI wouldn't specify why it seized the equipment, according to the British Register, the order may be related to the posting of photos on a French Indymedia site last month of what are believed to be undercover Swiss police officers photographing protesters at a French event.

The FBI requested that Indymedia pull the photos because they "revealed personal information" about the undercover police, according to Indymedia press officer Hep Sano. "They never clarified what they meant by personal information," Sano said. "The photos were taken on a public street." Indymedia believes the photos were eventually pulled--but can't check, since it no longer has access to the servers or hard disks.

This is the second time in two months that the Feds have gone after Indymedia. In August, prior to the Republican National Convention, the Secret Service subpoenaed Indymedia to get information about who posted an article that included publicly available information about Republican delegates.

"We have witnessed an intolerable and intrusive international police operation against a network specializing in independent journalism," Aidan White, general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, told the Register. "The way this has been done smacks more of intimidation of legitimate journalistic inquiry than crime-busting."

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