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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

73,000 blogs wiped off overnight

The sheer number is scary. The
WordPress powered blog-hosting site Blogetery was closed down on July 14 on initially unknown reasons. The closure brought down some 73,000 blogs.

As I say, it was unclear why the site was closed down because, whatever the possible crimes committed by individual bloggers, it made little sense to close all them. However in the end it seems it was not the FBI nor the judicial authorities which ordered the closure but the hosting server BurstNet on its own (pretty much abusive and unjustified) decision.

Apparently the case is after all not about copyright issues nor child pornography as was speculated early but about one blogger seemingly linked to Al Qaeda who posted a bomb making manual. While the FBI did use the powers granted by the Patriot Act to demand access to hosted data, the closure was decided, admittedly, by the host company.

Sources: various but specially CNET. See also the discussion at this forum between a BurstNet employee and the owner of Blogetery, who was obviously confused and upset. Notice how many people in the thread take the side of the blurry authority figures regardless that it's a clear case of freedom of speech and contractual responsibility and that the victims were not offered any explanation at all. It's quite worrisome that people tend to think that way because that is the gate that lead us to fascism.

Update: seems the issue has snowballed to some dimension. BBC reports on the matter today reflecting the anger of users who blame BurstNet of not caring about their customers. Certainly a bad publicity move, I'd say: would you hire their services?

Another site, iBPFree, hosting forums, has also been closed without apparent reason.

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