Archive | August, 2004

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.

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Pirate Radio Covering RNC Protests

Sue Carpenter, author of 40 Watts from Nowhere, files an article for the LA Times on the decentralized network of pirate stations that will carry the audio webstreams out of NYC:

Beginning today, RNC protesters plan to use wireless phones to call in live, in-the-trenches reports that will be streamed over the Internet and picked up for rebroadcast nationwide on community-based micro radio stations — some licensed, most illegal.

“It has become sort of a thing that whenever there’s a big protest like this, someone sets up a pirate radio station the same as someone setting up the food truck or the sound system,” said Pete Tridish, a longtime activist and founder of the Philadelphia-based Prometheus Radio Project, an advocacy group for legal, noncommercial micro-radio broadcasters. “Someone knows how to start a radio station, and so someone does it.”

There are two major radio streams going on:

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Video from the Community Wireless Summit

We’ve got the opening and closing plenary videos on-line from last weekend’s National Summit on Community Wireless Networks.

Both plenaries were great. In particular, Harold Feld, associate director of the Media Access Project, gave a call to the audience to spend 5 minutes a day to protect and enlarge wireless networking spectrum, during the opening. In the closing plenary, Mark Cooper, Director of Research at the Consumer Federation of America, gave a rousing talk putting the fight for free wireless spectrum rights in historical perspective.

Right now the videos are in streaming Real Video, which is accessible from 56k modems up to broadband, but is best experienced on a 150kbps connection or better. Coming soon will be MPEG-4 downloadable videos and audio in mp3 and ogg vorbis.

I’m trying to balance the need for convenient streaming videos with making them maximally accessible and open, which is why we’re releasing audio and video in multiple formats. I’m considering putting video in the Ogg-related open-source video format Theora, which was just frozen in alpha. Any comments on this approach are welcome — drop me an e-mail.

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Press for the Community Wireless Summit

The AP ran a story on this weekend’s Summit that got picked up by USA Today. What’s kind of nice about this sort of “event journalism” is that reporters and editors don’t typically feed the need to go dig up an opposing viewpoint in order to justify their supposed objectivity. Thus the AP article doesn’t have some PR flack from the cellular industry fear mongering about chaos in the spectrum or some other baseless reaction.

TV cameras from the local CBS affiliate came by today and I thought I saw a print reporter popping in and out, too, but I don’t know if anything will come of it.

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End of the Wireless Summit

The National Summit on Community Wireless Networks ended a few hours ago, on a high, but tired note. This was one of the best conferences I’ve been to, from the standpoint that everyone attending is smart, experienced and has valuable thoughts to share.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, there will be audio and video of the sessions coming on-line over the course of the next couple of weeks. By this Wednesday, we should have the opening and closing plenaries up for video streaming and mp3 and ogg vorbis audio downloads.

How do I know? I was lucky enough to coordinate the recording of the Summit, with the help of Jay Eychaner, John Anderson (of and Drew Tarico, producer of the mediageek radioshow, and the support of ATLAS, the dept. I work for at the University, which is hosting the streaming content.

The panel sessions on Saturday were very productive and enjoyable to be in because there was a definite attempt made by the summit organizers to make the sessions more interactive and collaborative, rather than 90 minutes listening to experts tell us how the world should be. …

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