The news that the government pressured Burst.net to take down 73,000 websites still hasn’t made much of a mark in the mainstream media, but it is starting to get coverage in the tech media and new details are emerging which raise even more questions.
Contrary to early reports the target of the government action may not have been piracy or file sharing, though those issues may have been the subject of a separate investigation. It is now clear tht the agency behind the takedown of Blogetery.com was not the office of the Intellectual Property Czar and that the Digital Millenium Copyright Law may not have been involved. The new story is that the target was an online magazine called Inspire which has connections to al-Qaeda and was designed as a terrorist recruiting and training tool. Specific concerns included the presence of bomb making information and some sort of terrorist “hit list.”
The FBI’s role in this was apparently only to request user information about several sites from the ISP under a provision of the criminal code which does not require a warrant. Burst.net then overreacted and assumed that the FBI would want to seize the entire server and shut down all of the Blogetery.com sites in response.
However, based on statements from the operator of Blogetery.com he has still not been informed of what type of material was on the target sites or been contacted by the FBI or any other law enforcement group and Burst.net will not divulge the reasons why his service was shut down.
While some basic facts have come out, many aspects of this story still appear to be mostly speculation with key information still withheld by the parties involved. Many questions remain about the nature of any crimes involved and the rights of users in such a situation.