NYC IMC Subpoenaed for Server Logs Over Posts of Publicly Available Information

Thanks to Kellan, Rabble, Jebba, and U-C IMC, I’ve learned that the Secret Service has opened an investigation into lists of 2200 RNC delegates that were posted to the NYC IMC newswire.

In a statement posted to their website, the NYC IMC collective writes:

NYC Indymedia believes that this investigation is wholly without merit, and is part of a larger campaign of intimidation against our supporters and peaceful protest activities surrounding the RNC.

Additionally, NYC Indymedia does not keep the records that the DOJ is seeking. According to Global Indymedia, “as a result of [previous] attempts to violate our clear rights, we felt it prudent to develop a policy of not voluntarily gathering data for the government on people who visit our websites, or who post material to sites. ‘. . . we do not log IP addresses as a way of protecting the privacy of our visitors. . .’

This looks like a repeat of an incident in 2001 when the FBI tried to obtain the Seattle IMC’s server logs, searching for info on posts made to a Seattle-hosted IMC site that leaked security documents regarding the FTAA meetings in Quebec City in April 2001. The government dropped its case in June, 2001.

The ACLU is defending the NYC IMC and their Internet provider, Calyx, in the RNC info case. From a press release on the situation:

“This type of investigation is really a form of intimidation and a message to activists that they will pay a price for speaking out,” said ACLU Associate Legal Director Ann Beeson. “The posting of publicly available information about people who are in the news should not trigger an investigation. Indeed, if the mere posting of the delegates’ name is cause for alarm, then the Secret Service should be investigating the many Republican websites where the same kind of information is available.”

Beeson added that the posting did not include anything remotely threatening, but involved political speech fully protected by the First Amendment.

If names and info about RNC delegates are so sensitive and secret, then I guess the Secret Service better go after the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette for its puff piece about a local delegate to the RNC.