back to article Blog service shut down by order of US law enforcement

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, …


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    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters


      CP seems much more likely than the terrorist claim.

      If there were terrorist blogs--and the Feds had any sense--they'd just force the hoster to give them all the information about who was posting and reading those blogs. It's a whole lot easier to pick off your enemy when you know where they'll be and when they'll be there. They'd get some easy arrests before the terrorists figured out what was up.

      With CP all you need are the access logs, no sense in letting the stuff sit around after they've raided all those involved.

      1. Merchman

        Re: Agreed

        It appears, from the report on the BBC ( that there was Al-Qaeda and bomb-making related materials on posted. There is more at cnet (;trendingNow).

        (Grenade for obvious reasons)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Any fascist regime would be proud of these guys.

    Homeland Security nazis strike: You must disconnect the server and you may not say that we did it or else!

    Any fascist regime would be proud of these guys.

    Black helicopters, obviously.

  3. John Savard


    If there is illegal material, of course it should be dealt with.

    But no innocent third parties should be affected if it can be avoided.

    People using the service legally should be able to retrieve their data as soon as this can be done without interfering with the police investigation. If harm to law-abiding citizens can be avoided, it must be avoided, even if some additional expense is involved.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    The wrong mentality.

    "Without knowing more about the underlying case involving Blogetery , it's impossible to say the draconian move is unjustified."

    Now see, this is the wrong way round. The presumption there is that this move was necessary. Which really is taking a very large step in the wrong direction, or down the slippery slope if you will.

    When the media starts making statements such as this......

    [Rest of comment removed with no reason given and thus you cannot say that it is unjustified]

    [Note: That previous bit was tongue in cheek, but you get my point].

  5. Christoph

    Collective punishment?

    Presumably the whatever-it-was got posted by at most only a few of the users. Unless the management of the service was directly involved there seems to be no sense to the removal of the entire thing, or for the deletion to be permanent.

    Unless they are accusing every single user of being involved, this amounts to collective punishment of innocents.

    Why did they zap everything on Blogetery, but not everything on any server hosted by Burstnet? Or everything on the Internet? It would make just as much sense - i.e. none.

  6. Paul 75

    bunch of bloggers...

    ...who will even notice and give even a small amount of poop?

    1. Steve Roper

      You will notice

      at 5am one morning when the police kick your door in for something you know nothing about, because nobody noticed or gave even a small amount of poop.

      Quoting Pastor Niemöller here would be superfluous.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Combat Wombat

    I call bullpucky !

    What the hell ?

    If it has been terrorist related, they would be crowing about shutting down a terrorist cell.

    If it were pedo related, they would have pulled IP's, grabbed the kiddy fiddlers, and been crowing about it

    So why are they NOT crowing?

    So it is part of an ongoing investigation.

    My money is that a fair bit of copyright related material was being hosted, and they are in the process of handing over the details to the *IAA goons as we speak.

    It's more concerning that they are NOT saying which law enforcement group took it out.

    So it's the internet version of the KGB.

    Your blog gets kidnapped in the night by faceless police goons, never to be seen again.

    Moral of the story

    Do NOT host anything in the states.

    It is liable to the stupid laws of the US, in regards to copyright.

    Mine's the one with the Canadian passport in the pocket

  8. kempsy

    Apple related?

    Could they have details of the new iPhone 5 on there? Maybe Apple are getting a bit more draconian after the Gizmodo episode?

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      iPhone 4

      No - someone posted about consumer reports saying that they can't recommend the iphone 4, and Darth Jobs found out...

  9. Daniel 4
    Dead Vulture

    Dan Goodin inviting fascism in by the back door?

    "Without knowing more about the underlying case involving Blogetery , it's impossible to say the draconian move is unjustified."

    With all do respect (which after the above statement, may not be very much), this statement is complete and utter crap. 70,000 users, many, if not the majority of them, U.S. citizens (and thus due the full and complete protection of the U.S. constitution) have had their I.P. confiscated* and their right to free speech at least impinged upon. There is NO situation in which the innocent users of this service should not be allowed to get their data back. Personally, I care not one wit if this operation is directly related to preventing a terrorist attack in my home town - law enforcement should be able to do it without walking over 70,000 innocents.


    * Yes, everyone should make backups of anything they really care about and put up on an online web service, but that really is not the point - this was not accidental data lass, this was deliberate.

    1. Kevin Fields

      TOS probably clears them.

      It is my guess that the Terms of Service for these providers holds them without fault or guilt for this sort of thing. Still, it might be a good idea to enlist the EFF to draw a lawsuit over it.

  10. Alexander Rogge

    Problem of centralized services

    This is another example of the problem of using centralised services for communication and news reporting. One bureaucrat can come in and make threats, and the service provider may decide that it's easiest to "cooperate" blindly instead of fighting for their rights and the rights of their customers. The world really does work like the one in the FOX television series Prison Break. If you don't stand up for your rights, and you don't think through the problems that you face, you can end up with a situation in which the people on both sides of the conspiracy lose everything and themselves expose the very secrets that they were trying to hide.

    You can't trust anybody to protect the right to free speech anymore. The excuse is often related to online services being private property, and so the customers have no rights over what happens to their privacy and ability to send and receive information. You have to agree to all the oppressive terms on the server side of the agreement, but you don't get any rights in return. These service agreements basically say that the service provider can do whatever it wants, change its policies without notification or public posting, and delete your data and your account for any reason.

    I doubt very much that any security has been gained by preventing those 70,000 bloggers from communicating. If any real investigation was going on, the bureaucrats just blew it up, because now everybody knows that the security of the service has been compromised. Now there won't be any more sharing of information, and no way to trace the suspects without their knowledge. This could be yet another botched investigation, leading to an intelligence failure, and all because a bureaucrat got in the way of the people who were doing the job of gathering information.

    1. Dave Bell

      Secret Investigations

      I think you're right. Now it's gone public, anyone using the blog service for anything illicit is going to start covering their tracks.

      On this sort of thing, you could get a few days by claiming "technical problems", especially over a weekend, but now the lawyers are going to be turning up.

      It looks as though the big problem is that none of the 70,000 customers have a contractual arrangement with the people who pulled the plug. I have, myself, contracts with my ISP and with a couple of service providers on the Internet, but there's that hugely uncertain in-between of packet switching which gets my signals to a datacenter somewhere in the USA. I don't think the Internet really routes around damage any more.

  11. Tron Silver badge

    I doubt all 70,000 users were breaking the law.

    Competent law enforcement organisations take off the illegal stuff and pursue the offenders. Fascist goon squads take down the entire system without comment, explanation or redress.

    Fourth Reich.

  12. Franklin

    70,000 users?

    I'm not quite sure that's correct. I've read other Web sites that claim that Blogetery hosted 70,000 blogs, which isn't necessarily the same thing as 70,000 users. As near as I can tell from looking at what's left in Google caches, it seems that the service hosted 70,000 blogs, a few hundred of which were real blogs and 69,900 of which were simply redirectors to advertising sites. The owner claimed in a posting on that shut down one of his servers; it seems a bit implausible that a single server was actually hosting 70,000 users.

    I'd love to see some hard information about how many actual users there were, how many actual blogs there were, and what the blogs were used for. It LOOKS like the blogs in question were mostly phony astroturf blogs that were simply acting as redirectors to affiliate sites and advertisers. Anyone know any of these purported 70,000 users?

  13. John Lilburne

    From what I recall ...

    ... I looked into this site a few months ago when we found it hosting a number of cracks of our software, and a large number of blogs that were little more than link farms to torrents. At the time of looking I discovered that it had moved web hosts a number of times as the hosts kept shutting it down following complaints about it being a spam portal. They also lost the user data when this happened as they didn't keep any backups. Here is one such move:

  14. John Lilburne


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

    This is most likely the truth ot the matter and any talk about FBI involvement is simply the blogetry site owner lying again:

  15. Rogerborg

    Evidence of the Reptoid Overlord Cabal

    Our Scaly Masters don't like it when the Truth gets out.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CP is still the most likely cause...

    Because responses by the authorities to it deal only in absolutes shrouded in silence, never given to outside criticism.

    We know from UK police that CP is appearing more and more on social networking, blogging and public image-hosting sites - given away free (not 'traded' or 'sold' as they've always liked to pretend).

    Who might be putting it there and why is another matter entirely. It certainly does make it very easy for a frightening police raid to march in and close down an entire network.

    The Moral Panic has many uses.

    Make of that what you will.

  17. Ku...

    A lot of people missing the point

    The point is that the FBI did NOT ask burstNET to take down the site, they did that themselves for breach of ToC. Read the CNET article linked to by The Reg. The FBI did not ask for the site to be shut down. Seems people would rather go off on paranoia fuelled rants about the forth riech and lack of freedom of speech than actually read the article in full...

    Yes, if I ran a hosting company and someone was hosting blogs about killing innocent citizens and publishing hit lists I would shut it down.

    If you run a business hosting 70,000 blogs how come you don't back it up?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Isn't the first rule of conspiracy club: It's always a conspiracy, even if you're the only one in the world who isn't in on it?

      People believe conspiracies when the truth is so banal that the juicy, yet obviously rubbish, conspiracy theory is more interesting.

      Case in point: The site was closed because of TOC breaches.

      The conspiracy: We're living in a fascist police state where unknown shadowy law enforcement agencies can walk in to a private company and take equipment or shut down services with not even a nod to the rule of law.

      I know which I believe, but I know which I'd rather watch a film about.

    2. John Lilburne

      Well DUH!

      As the blogetry site was full of stuff it shouldn't have been full of and was a portal for spam, perhaps they wouldn't want backups. Its webhost in 2008 shut it down for TOS violations, it seems to have moved to burstnet 7 months ago, perhaps the intervening webhost also shut them down.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Not the FBI

    The FBI, despite all those spy TV shows, does not have the direct authority to remove any information from the web. All they can do is "put the frighteners on ISPs" to make them consider what might happen if they don't think about it.

    Burstnet have panicked and taken the lot down without any thought.

  19. corestore


    Offsite bloody backups! How many times must I bang that drum? If the host pulled the plug, for any reason or no reason... well there are thousands of hosts out there. Restore the backup and get the bloody thing back up. If your backup is incomplete, hack something together and start again. Not rocket science and doesn't take long. If the site is still down it means that either the admins WANT it down, or the admins have been FORCED, somehow, to keep it down. There's no site so toxic that no-one will host it.

    I'd never heard of the site before now. Just saying, you know...

  20. Alan Brown Silver badge


    Well known (and despised) in spam fighting circles.

    I'd take ANYTHING claimed by them with a bucket of salt (ditto for claims made by anyone they're hosting or were hosting. ).

  21. Northumbrian
    Black Helicopters

    Not just blogetry

    Article says,

    "It's at least the second mysterious closure of an online service this month. On Wednesday, 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.”"

    Don't know about blogetry, but iPBFree have expressly denied DMCA violations. Elsewhere I read, "The new antipiracy taskforce denied it was an action of its own, same with the RIAA and the MPAA.." There is also a runour doing the rounds that this is part of a divorce wrangle. However, if the issue was a civil wrong, then it's unlikely that the entirety of iPBFree would have been taken down permanently.

    I think we can assume that there really is a gag order on this, and that it has been imposed. That's either a government matter, or someone big enough to say, "if you talk about this we'll sue you personally for $$$$$$$." Big money or big government - not for the taking down (could have been a panicky admin/server owner etc), but for the gag.

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