January 2009


Independent Media Centre UK Press Release 26.01.2009

For immediate release
Indymedia Server Raided by UK Police
Issued by: IMC UK Press Group

indymedia-targeted-logo

ON 22 January 2009, KENT POLICE seized an INDEPENDENT MEDIA CENTRE server hosted by MANCHESTER-based company, UK GRID, in relation to a comment published on the news web site.

The raid in which the server was seized is an attack on free speech and independent journalism in the UK, and especially on the grassroots open-publishing platform that is Indymedia.

In the morning of the 22nd, KENT POLICE emailed Indymedia UK requesting that personal information about Justice Neil Butterfield, the judge overseeing the STOP HUNTINGDON ANIMAL CRUELTY (SHAC) trial, be removed from a comment to a report published on the Indymedia website and that details of the poster be retained.

Indymedia UK volunteers had already removed the information from the report in line with the project’s own privacy policy. Indymedia UK was unable to comply with Kent Police’s request to retain data relating to poster. As an open publishing project, Indymedia UK does not keep logs of the server activity.

Nevertheless, Police seized the machine which was handed over by the management of UK Grid. No search warrant was shown.

The loss of a server represents serious damage to the Indymedia infrastructure in the UK.

Several websites including the global Indymedia documentation project, the new website of Indymedia London, la Soja Mata (an anti-GM soya campaign focusing on South American development), Transition Sheffield and a Canadian campaign against the 2010 olympics were affected.

Background:

The present case is not the first time that Indymedia servers were seized in the UK. Shortly before the opening of the European Social Forum in 2004 in London, a main Indymedia server was seized from the hosting company Rackspace in an operation which involved an Italian Judge, an American District Court and the FBI.

In 2005, the server of Indymedia Bristol was seized under a search warrant. One Indymedia Bristol volunteer was arrested on suspicion of incitement to criminal damage, but was never charged.

As in previous cases, Indymedia UK stayed online this time. This was possible due to a system of ‘mirrors’, which was set up to protect the technical infrastructure of the alternative media project. Despite the resource intensive interruptions caused by server seizures, the independent media activists continue to provide a platform for “news straight from the streets”.

Contact:  Imc-uk-contact@lists.indymedia.org

Further information:

2009 Indymedia Server seizure, Indymedia UK

Info Page: Indymedia UK server seizure 2009

Summary of the Responses to the 2004 Indymedia Server Seizure by Electronic Frontier Foundation

Responses to the 2004 Indymedia Server Seizure, Indymedia UK

About the 2005 Bristol Indymedia Server Seizure, Indymedia UK

Since there have been a number of ‘CCTV events in Nottingham recently [reports on the Notts newswire and features], I thought I’d take this opportunity to show you some of my more recent work on the subject, describing some of the technological advances that are proceeding apace.

Back in March 2006, I showed you some of what it all looked like then. “Surveillance of Nottingham City Centre”
http://indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/nottinghamshire/2006/03/335022.html

Earlier, in December 2005, I went on a walk-about with Artist and designer Jez Noond of Nottingham Trent University. He has produced a complex map of Nottingham city centre CCTV charting the different networks in use and the extent of coverage. It shows their overlap of fields of view and how they triangulate almost any position in Nottingham city centre.
Short Sharp Shots: A Tour of CCTV in Nottingham City Centre. http://indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/nottinghamshire/2005/12/329575.html

Nottingham city centre is one of the most heavily surveyed places on the face of the earth, outside of London. All in aid of ‘crime reduction policies’ they say.

All in aid of ‘crime reduction policies’ they say. Newham in East London is still streets ahead though [i think] with its system that involves the Mandrake Facial Recognition System. They have been testbeding it for a few years now. All very expensive of course, which means I think, a displacement of crime to other areas. Not as advertised, ‘crime reduction’ when measured ‘in total’.

Face Recognition – More than you think!
http://www.morethanyouthink.com/security/mandrake.html

In addition to the ‘civic’ and police cameras, there are of course, loads of cameras outside of shops, bars, transport termini, mobile on the buses, trains and trams. As compression and bandwith advances, the internet will allow the combining of ALL of the sources, to the various control rooms. All this before I even get round to telling you about the ID card Database. http://www.nottingham-defy-id.org.uk and the convergence of those technologies with CCTV in the street. Scary eh?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sousveillance

Inverse surveillance, sometimes known by the neologism “hierarchical sousveillance” (“seeing from below” hierarchically), refers to the recording or monitoring of real or apparent authority figures by others, particularly those who are generally the subject of surveillance. Steve Mann, who coined the term, describes it as “watchful vigilance from underneath”. (The term stems from the contrasting French words sur, meaning “above”, and sous, meaning “below”, i.e. “surveillance” denotes the “eye-in-the-sky” watching from above, whereas “sousveillance” denotes bring the camera or other means of observation down to human level.)

The more general concept of sousveillance goes beyond just inverse surveillance and the associated 20th Century political “us versus them” framework for citizens to photograph police, shoppers to photograph shopkeepers, or passengers to photograph taxicab drivers. Just in case THey do something wrong, you understand …..

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You can view the output of some cameras. A camera is mounted [just to the left of centre], on the freeze above the Council House overlooking all of the Market Square.

The council makes a low-res image available on their itsnottingham.info webpage at:

Old Market Square Webcam http://www.itsnottingham.info/NOTTM_CAMERA_OMS.jpg

Also, Nottingham Travelwise ‘traffic cameras’ can be viewed at: http://www.itsnottingham.info/mapping/cctv.asp

…. unless of course, there is anything interesting going on, when they are likely to be turned off 🙂

Some of my earlier work on the subject:

Surveillance of Nottingham City Centre
http://indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/nottinghamshire/2006/03/335022.html

Nottinghamshire Police Surveillance Vehicles and Evidence Gathering
http://indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/nottinghamshire/2005/08/320469.html

Prime Minister visits Nottingham University :: Surveillance Operations
http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/01/331596.html

Nottingham Fossil Fools Blockade E.On Offices Surveillance and Specialist Equipment
http://indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/nottinghamshire/2008/04/395429.html

Surveillance at Demo at Heckler & Koch weapons manufacturers HQ in Nottingham
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/05/398414.html

CPO’s with HeadCam, at protests against deportation of Amdani Juma
http://indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/nottinghamshire/2008/06/400142.html

CCTV ‘Treasure Hunt’ around Nottingham
http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/01/419329.html

Nottingham PCSO Watch – Office of Community Sousveillance
http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/01/419347.html

Watching the watchers in Nottingham [Feature]
http://indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/nottinghamshire/2009/01/419530.html

In December 2005, I went on a walk-about with Artist and designer Jez Noond of Nottingham Trent University. He has produced a complex map of Nottingham city centre CCTV charting the different networks in use and the extent of coverage. It shows their overlap of fields of view and how they triangulate almost any position in Nottingham city centre.
Short Sharp Shots: A Tour of CCTV in Nottingham City Centre
http://indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/nottinghamshire/2005/12/329575.html

*****

Surveillance Camera Players
http://www.notbored.org/the-scp.html

Nottingham Defy-ID Active resistance against UK ID cards and the National Identity Register
http://www.nottingham-defy-id.org.uk

Privacy International ‘Big Brother Awards’
http://www.gn.apc.org/tash/big_brother.htm

I say be afraid, be very afraid ……