In the morning, Kent Police had emailed Indymedia UK, an independent online news platform, requesting that personal information about Justice Neil Butterfield, the trial judge, be removed from the Indymedia website and that details of the poster be retained.
Dr. Lee Salter, a senior lecturer in journalism at the University of the West of England, told Indymedia "Journalistic material is protected by law, and the police should not gather more information than is relevant for their investigation — by seizing this server they are not only getting information on Indymedia but also on wholly unrelated groups. The police should know that Indymedia does not hold personal information on its participants, so it is a concern is that the police are collecting random information on participants".
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. Most of these websites could be restored.
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 with 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 DIY-media activists continue to provide a platform for "news straight from the streets".
Info Sheet 24.01.2009 by: imc-uk press group
Notes to the editor, for further information, contact Imc-uk-contact at lists.indymedia.org.
I'm posting this as a concerned UK administrator who hosts a number of sites. The message appears to be clear, the UK establishment does not want political content, legitimate or otherwise hosted from these shores. The message has been noted, however free speech must be supported even where it may not be agreeable."