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Conspiracy theorists: Feds, web hosts conspire against us

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Watt suspects he is the real reason for the Red Ice blackout. You see, Watt made an appearance on Red Ice Radio just days before One.com suspended Palmgren's site.

As for Cutting Through, Yahoo! spokeswoman Kristen Wareham refused to say if the company has ever pulled or edited a website under pressure from US intelligence or law enforcement agencies.

But many internet services are also US government contractors (Google provides geospatial and other search services to the government through its Enterprise division). It seems logical, therefore, to presume the companies have a motive to cooperate with any government internet data mining operations.

Prison Planet last year reported the claim that the CIA once provided seed money to a young Google. The spy agency is currently supporting dozens more startups to help it troll the internet for content that might reveal plots against America by its enemies.

"You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to see the government wants access to as much information as possible," said Nicole Ozer, technology and civil liberties policy director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.

Ozer was one of the few civil libertarians to question Google's recent promise to anonymise its users' identities after 18 months to two years. She asked if Google is "actually capitulating to government requests to keep more data for longer," rather than limiting access to its records, as the company's announcement implied.

Ozer fears that web hosts and search services will use their terms of service agreements as an excuse to suppress bloggers in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election.

"The terms of (service) are very broad and companies are pretty free to interpret them any way they want," Ozer said. She recommends shopping for a web hosting service with a hands-off policy toward legally protected speech.

Google's Blogger makes no such promises. The service reserves the right to remove any content at blogspot.com it considers "objectionable", according to its terms of service.

Google's lawyers review all complaints about the content of Blogspot blogs, and contact bloggers whose websites they've edited or deleted, "if we have their current contact information", said Google spokeswoman Victoria Grand.

There are no spooks taking up cubby space at Google, nor is there a "red phone" that rings with calls from the government objecting to the blogs and videos on its websites, Grand said.

"We treat all complaints about content exactly the same, whether or not they come from someone in the government."

US Department of Homeland Security spokesman Larry Orluskie also said he doubts DHS has ever asked a company to remove, alter, or suspend a site for its anti-government content.

But Alan Watt is taking no chances. He has been setting-up mirrors for Cutting Through the Matrix since February, in case the cyber spies decide to strike again. ®

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