According to several recent articles, that’s how the story goes. “Official” details state the following chain of events.
* The FBI discovered terrorist material, including covert communications with key Al Qaeda operatives and a US-citizen hit list, on a website (Blogetery.com) hosted by BurstNET.
* The FBI requested – from BurstNET – access to said information, using all proper legal channels.
* BurstNET employees overreacted and shut down the entire Blogetery platform.
The story falls apart a bit at step 3. In fairness, we’ve all seen employees do pretty wicked stupid things, but those things usually revolve around isolated incidents and single individuals. In this case, we’re asked to believe that a brain dead, ultra-paranoid employee made the executive decision to shut down a rather sizeable website with information from thousands of people.
Unfortunately, the basic premise, while hard to imagine, is not necessarily fully outside the realm of possibility. If someone would consider lighting their panties aflame effective mode of political discourse, it is certainly possible that a person would see no other option but to a server in the interests of national security.
A more likely (and unfortunate) possibility is the testing of an Internet Kill Switch. (Whether this is associated with the network-wide “kill switch” supported by Lieberman isn’t apparent and probably never will be.) Considering that a scant week after the Blogerty shut-down a similar blanket kill took place, this possibility isn’t as odd as it may seem. IPBFree was taken down, with a similar gag order and no information.
The key difference between Blogetery and IPBFree is the information coming after the fact. BurstNET came forward, initially, and stated they were given no choice but to shut down and couldn’t say anything more. Later, they retracted their statement and insisted they were not forced to close it off.
On the flip-side IPBFree has said…nothing. Neither has their hosting provider, who has yet to be named. If their WhoIs records are still accurate, the host would appear to be GoDaddy (or a subsidiary), but the hostnames could have been changed after the takedown.
Hopefully, this won’t fall to the wayside of stories that break, explode across the WWW and fizzle without resolution. The reasoning for the IPBFree shutdown will be particularly interesting.