Thousands of blogs shut down over ‘terrorist material’

Maggie Shiels
BBC News
20 July 2010

A web hosting company has said it shut down a blogging platform that was home to over 70,000 bloggers because a “link to terrorist material” and an al-Qaeda “hit list” was posted to the site.

BurstNet said Blogetery.com also posted “bomb-making instructions”.

The company said it acted after receiving “a notice of a critical nature from law enforcement officials”.

But the move has angered bloggers who use the platform and say they were given no notice of the shutdown.

In response Blogetery.com said its server had been “terminated without any notification or explanation.”

The site added that it is trying to resolve the situation.

BurstNet defended its position.

“The posted material, in addition to potentially inciting dangerous activities, specifically violated the BurstNet acceptable use policy” said the web host firm.

BurstNet also claimed that the site had a history of previous abuse.

The news blog Cnet.com reported that officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) told BurstNet on 9 July that al-Qaeda materials had been found on Blogetery’s servers.

It also claimed that material allegedly found on the server included “the names of American citizens targeted for assassination by al-Qaeda” as well as messages from Osama bin Laden and other leaders of the terrorist organisation.

BurstNet’s chief technology officer, Joe Marr, said that the FBI sent a “Voluntary Emergency Disclosure of Information” request to the firm.

Sources have confirmed to the BBC that this was the case but FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said the bureau does not comment on active investigations.

The rest is at BBC News.

At Torrentfreak.com, U.S. Authorities Shut Down WordPress Host With 73,000 Blogs:

After the U.S. Government took action against several sites connected to movie streaming recently, nerves are jangling over the possibility that this is just the beginning of a wider crackdown. Now it appears that a free blogging platform has been taken down by its hosting provider on orders from the U.S. authorities on grounds of “a history of abuse”. More than 73,000 blogs are out of action as a result.

Hot on the heels of recent threats from Vice President Joe Biden and Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel directed at sites offering unauthorized movies and music, last month U.S. authorities targeted several sites they claimed were connected to the streaming of infringing video material…

…73,000 blogs is a significant number to take down in one swoop, regardless of what some users of the site may or may not have been doing…

H/T to Gina for both articles.

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