FBI returns Riseup server to May First/People Link cabinet

From the organization that hosts Columbus Indymedia.

Progressive Internet organization May First/People Link has released footage of what appears to be an FBI operation to return the Riseup.net server that they had seized two weeks ago from a colocation space shared by riseup.net and MF/PL. The footage, taken by a small surveillance camera MF/PL technologists installed after the FBI seizure of the server, is a rare glimpse of what appears to be an FBI operation.

Neither May First/People Link or Riseup was not notified that the server was being replaced. It was never notified that the server was taken in the first place.

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May First/People Link has removed the server from the facility and is in the process of analyzing it. The server will not be put back into production.

Background

On April 18, 2012, a Riseup server located in MF/PL's colocation cabinet and managed by ECN, a progressive provider in Italy, was seized by the FBI. MF/PL found out about the seizure when Riseup reported that there was no response from the server. Technologists visited the server location and found that the machine had been removed.

The FBI is investigating bomb threats being made to facilities and people at the University of Pittsburgh and believed that one of the servers used to email these threats was an anonymous email server operated by ECN. "These servers have no logs or traces of who used them," MF/PL Director Jamie McClelland said. "Nothing useful could be gotten from this seizure but there is a concrete outcome: the seizure disrupted May First's work and disrupted the communications of hundreds of people who lawfully use that server for email and website services everyday."

Anonymous email servers keep no records of their users and are frequently used by activists, organizers and information sources world-wide.

"For many people in the world, public expression can be life-threatening. Anonymous email is life-protecting," McClelland said.

For more information, please see MF/PL's previous statement: https://mayfirst.org/fbi-attacks-anonymous-speech