October 11, 2004

A SERVER BELONGING TO INDYMEDIA HAS BEEN SEIZED by the FBI, pursuant to a foreign court order.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I'm no fan of Indymedia, an outfit that blurs the line between dissent and incitement. But they're also a news service of sorts, and I rather doubt that any more "mainstream" service would get this kind of treatment almost regardless of the conduct involved. (And despite the fact that, I believe, posts on IndyMedia have in the past called for people to bring down InstaPundit through extra-legal means, I don't want Indymedia treated differently by the authorities than a more "respectable" outfit would be, if engaged in the same conduct).

Orin Kerr and Eugene Volokh have far more detailed observations.

UPDATE: Hey, maybe it's actually an anti-Bush move! After all, those guys are recycling InstaPundit posts mocking the antiwar movement, so they must be Karl Rove puppets.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader sends this explanation for why the servers were pulled, not just copied:

I work in a huge company with a lot of rack-mounted servers.

We have no "documented process" that an Operator (or even Technician) could provide the contents of a server.

We have mainframe tape drives and remote backup systems, but they are all proprietary - and complicated to use.

It's not like we can just burn a DL-DVD (or 10+) and provide a backup of the hundreds of gigs of data that a server holds. Not only do we not have the burner or the media, we also don't have the procedures. If it's not documented and approved, an Operator cannot perform the action on the production data. And only an Operator can perform tasks relating to production data - not Technicians.

It would be far, far easier to just shut down the boxes, pull them, and give them to the Feds. Two non-production servers could be re-assigned and automated restores queued. The process for swapping out failed servers (which is what this simulates) is documented and proceduralized.

That's how we would handle it, if it ever came up.

This makes sense to me, though I don't know that much about this stuff.