Feeds

Blog service shut down by order of US law enforcement

Move shrouded in secrecy

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A blogging service with 70,000 users has been forced to permanently close its doors under orders from unidentified law enforcement officers, in a case that raises questions about free speech and due process on the internet.

Blogetery went offline on July 9, leaving some 70,000 subscribers with no way to access their blogs, according to this communique from site administrators. The website was “terminated by request of law enforcement officials, due to material hosted on the server,” according to an email sent by Burstnet.com, Blogetery's webhosting provider. Blogetery officials say the closure is permanent and users won't be able to retrieve content they stored on the service.

“Please note that this was not a typical case, in which suspension and notification would be the norm,” Burstnet officials wrote. “This was a critical matter brought to our attention by law enforcement officials. We had to immediately remove the server.”

It's at least the second mysterious closure of an online service this month. On Wednesday, IPBFree.com was also taken offline, according to this post. Administrators have been “legally precluded from discussing the exact bits of what happened” except to say the outage is permanent and isn't the result of hacker attacks or any copyright violations by its users.

“The owner had no choice in the matter,” one IPBFree representative said on Twitter. “Legal reasons forced us to close. Death threats are rather over-the-top really.”

Officials from Burstnet have yet to respond to email seeking comment on the reasons they pulled the plug on Blogetery.

The outages are highly unusual because they strand tens of thousands of users without providing them any notice or explanation. In some sense, they resemble the plight of the Internet Archive a few years ago, when the San Francisco-based digital library was secretly ordered to turn over personal information of one of its users under a tough anti-terrorism law passed following the September 11 attacks in the US. The FBI eventually withdrew the demand after it was challenged in secret court proceedings as unconstitutional.

Without knowing more about the underlying case involving Blogetery , it's impossible to say the draconian move is unjustified. Indeed, CNET is reporting that it came after FBI officials found al-Qaeda materials on Blogetery's servers that included the names of American citizens targeted for assassination and messages from Osama bin Laden and bomb-making tips.

A Burstnet official told the news outlet they terminated Blogetery's service because the materials are a violation of its terms of service. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Shellshock over SMTP attacks mean you can now ignore your email
'But boss, the Internet Storm Centre says it's dangerous for me to reply to you'
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.