I experienced the summary ad hoc censorship of an ISP as a result
of a single anonymous complaint, resulting in a 69 page PDF document
critical of an occult organisation in the US with members here having
to be removed from my website. No explanation was given as to what
precisely was regarded as the publication of "private material
without the consent of the person concerned", who the person
was who complained, or any indication that the ISP (BT Internet) had
even checked whether the complaint was genuinely from that person.
I cited my NUJ membership in response, requesting further details,
and to date have simply been stonewalled by the ISP.
In this particular case, I might note that this occult organisation
has been getting websites critical of it taken down in the United
States for several years now by employing this simple and cost-free
tactic of dashing off an email to abuse@whateverISP.com, relying on
the ISP's timidity. So it now seems that press freedom is in the hands
of people who couldn't care less and totally dependent upon a single
complaint from a supposedly aggrieved party.
This kind of thing makes a mockery of the web and undermines it as
a serious publishing medium, and if it continues it will ensure that
the web is capable of publishing only inconsequential pap. It's ironic
that the last bastion of web freedom is now the Former Soviet Union.
Seems that to be an investigative journalist of any worth on the web
necessitates that one become acquainted with the ins and outs of the
cyber pirate and locate contentious material in Russian or Serbian
cyberspace, shifting hosts periodically behind a Romanian forwarding
Ah well, if that is the way it is to be...
Where does the NUJ stand on this form of censorship?
emailed me back saying he was thinking of running it as a news story,
which was good timing since I had just that moment stirred up the
hornet's nest a little (as is my wont) on two BTInternet newsgroups
by publishing the letter there for the attention of "BT Openworld
Support", who regularly answered posts, stating that I had
just sent the letter for publication in the Journalist. The
"Support" team may not be the "Acceptable Use"
team but a journalist only needs a foot in the door to find the
right room, and it was a splendid opportunity to express my true
feelings about this whole issue of ad hoc ISP censorship. Here is
my subsequent post, Aug 24, 2002, to the non-Google-archived newsgroups
btinternet.homepages.authoring and btinternet.support, after the
support team had responded to my initial post. This was also emailed
to Tim Gopsill at the Journalist. The comments given in blue
are from BT Openworld Support, mine in black:
I'm unsure of the specific checks the acceptable
use team make to verify the identity of the 'person concerned'.
Nor do I know how they would verify details if you for example provided
'proof' that you had this individual's permission to publicise details.
Well you have
put your finger on a very good point. For all the "acceptable
use" team know or have bothered to find out I may well have
that person's permission to publicise such details. How would they
know if they don't even tell me who the person is and what details
exactly he or she objects to?
So, there are
two problems there straight away. How do they know the complaint
is genuine? How do they know I haven't got permission? Clearly on
the latter the inference is that they take the word of what may
be a quite spurious and malicious complaint and do not care in the
slightest what the website creator may have to say about it. The
NUJ is appalled by that kind of lackadaisical censorship.
you are aware of the guidelines here:
8. You must not publicise the personal details of others without
is subject to a wide latitude of interpretation. Not being told
what constitutes such "personal details" in a 69 page
document makes it hard to remove such details even if I were in
agreement and were willing to self-censor certain pages with a black-out
(much like most of the "Freedom of Information" Documents
obtained in the US). So I am told to remove the entire document
immediately or have my website closed down. Perhaps the person objects
only to a single sentence that shows him or her in a bad light,
if I was told what exactly the information was that was being objected
to I might be in a position to decide for myself that it wasn't
so important to the main work and could easily remove it.
what exactly is a "personal detail"? Is your name a personal
detail? Is the fact that a person belongs to quasi-masonic secret
occult organisation intent on instituting another form of government
in the United States a personal detail, even if true, even if I
have documentation to prove it, even if they have admitted it in
another context? Does the fact that, for example, a person was convicted
of keeping a 6 year old boy chained in a hotbox in the Mojave desert
for 56 days, even if true, even if already published in the New
York Times, become a "personal detail" if repeated on
a BTInternet website? Where does a "personal detail" start
and end? Clearly on this basis no newspaper in the world would ever
be able to be published.
Not only this,
obviously numerous personal websites on your servers are already
in contravention of your guidelines and await only a single complaint
to get them taken down. Is it right that website creators should
have their hard work subject to such a vague catch-all condition
and live in apprehension of the censorship team swooping down on
them like some D-Notice Committee for publishing some trivial detail
that someone with an overlarge ego and a chip on their shoulder
decides would be a good angle for a bit of petty revenge?
in question is in the nature of a personal testimony by an individual
about what he experienced in secret occult Order in the United States.
Clearly there will be much there that this Order does not wish to
be known, yet it is still the honest account of a witness describing
his own experiences that of course involves others. Can one only
write about things as if they were experienced in a vacuum? Is BTInternet
too lily-livered to host this kind of thing? (If so, perhaps the
Terms & Conditions need amending saying that only websites concerned
with collecting stamps and gardening need apply.) If I am writing
an online diary, say, and I mentioned that I saw you in the pub
on Thursday, would you be in a position to get my website taken
down on the basis that you did not wish it to be known that you
were in the pub that night? Where does this end?
While of course
I have much time for the concept of "privacy", and would
seek to respect it, there is also such a thing as fair comment in
the public interest, giving rise to a grey area whereby certain
individuals are able to abuse the notion of "privacy"
in order to keep from the public gaze certain information that is
in the public's interest. This needs to be defined far more clearly
for ISPs I will concede, in the wake of the Godfrey vs Demon Internet
case, but this is still no excuse for ISPs to behave like primadonna-ish
school ma'ams confiscating feltpens from infants.
is my main point: summary ad hoc censorship, without being given
any recourse to answer the case or amend my documentation appropriately.
Despite the fact I was ordered to take down the document "immediately",
or at the latest within 24 hours or have my website obliterated,
I was not accorded a similar courtesy when I responded that I had
done so and requested further info. I believe any member of the
public should be accorded that respect, but given that I cited my
NUJ membership and stated that I regarded this as a censorship issue
I was considering taking up further with the NUJ it is doubly foolish
and disrespectful to be ignored. Thus the matter has escalated to
the degree it has. It is about bloody time, frankly, that the NUJ
got to grips with this issue. I think we have pussy-footed around
with ISP megalomania for far too long.
details will be published here as they emerge..... I'm in the mood
for a scorched earth campaign frankly.
the meantime, "The Black Lodge of Santa Cruz" is on a
server hop and at present can be found here.
time I will make a selection of mirrors available, so if anyone
wants to temporarily host it on their webspace do get in touch,
it would be amusing to watch those who desire to suppress it chasing
it all over the web like some devilish little butterfly hard to
set up a "kickme.to" redirect address, you can use the
following cloaked URL to find KAOS should it be entirely shut down
on its present server: http://kickme.to/156
has been successfully used by F.O.S.I.
for a number of years. Use of the kickme.to URL will mean you are
served a single delayed pop-up ad, which can either sit quietly
on your taskbar or, if closed, will initiate a further pop-up, but
no more after that. This is a small price to pay for the freedom
of cyberspace. The browser I use most, Opera 6, has an effective
built-in pop-up killer (File > Preferences > Windows >
Refuse pop-up windows) that will remove even this slight inconvenience.
may also use the uncloaked URL for as long as it is available, but
the moment the original BT account is terminated, should it be,
we become invisible and shift like the wind. The site will jump
behind the cloaked kickme.to URL to another location and http://kickme.to/156
will become one of our main addresses for the foreseeable future.
By using this resource the site's actual location can be switched
in a matter of seconds without it ever again being vulnerable to
those who seek to suppress words they don't like.
retrospect, I have come to welcome the spur the would-be censors
provided for me to branch out into underground and subversive web
techniques, since this is the natural environment of KAOS. It also
encourages me to make available material I had not originally intended
to make public precisely because I knew how easy it would be to
close down the website; this is the irony, by their feeble attack
they have made us much stronger and more determined. Note the following
news story about kickme.to:
wins BSA court
Posted: 18/02/2002 at 19:26 GMT
Business Software Alliance (BSA) is vowing to fight on after the
Swedish courts denied its request to obtain a civil raid permit
on international redirect service, kickme.to. The Appellate Court
in Skåne, Sweden, upheld Landskrona District Court's decision
not to grant a civil raid permit (ex-parte) at the premises of
Maximilian Andersen, kickme.to's administrator.
told us its service, which allows users to get free short domain
names, is not responsible for any alleged copyright infringement
on the part of its members, nor does it provide links or search
tools to Warez sites. Content can't be uploaded onto kickme.to
servers either, said Anderson, who states he has no control over
what content users have on their homepage.
said: "What did the BSA expect to find with a search warrant?
They're trying to carry out a fishing expedition. The suit against
me is a high profile scare tactic, it's just harassment."
[Read the full story here.]
also won the appeal, so it is now tried and tested in the courts
also set up an alternative route to the KAOS website: http://sling.to/156
This is a better URL to use in terms of pop-up ads if you haven't
got a pop-up killer, you are served a single ad on exiting the website,
with no disturbance at all while viewing the site.
most exciting news, however, is that I have set up a KAOS outpost
website in Russian cyberspace, here's the URL:
nothing available on the Russian site at present that isn't also
obtainable here, but... how to put it, you may find the site has
a different.... er.... ambiance.
had many emails from people expressing their opinion about this
attempt to ban KAOS. I've assembled a selection on a new page:
What the public say...
I've updated this page with further details on the likely culprit
and included a round-up of what's been said about this controversy
on various mailing lists and newsgroups.
Black Lodge of Santa Cruz
have been put up on Phil Hine's site, with Phil's comments on this
attempt at censorship. He draws attention to an interesting BBC
news story on this issue, Gagging
the net in 3 easy steps.
discussion of free speech on the Internet and the attempt to ban
KAOS has been started by Dave Evans in the forum
of Lionel Snell's occultebooks site. Do join in.
thought: Would anyone like me to make the entirety of the OTO's
grade papers available (including the piss-takes of them)? Recently
hounded off a server in the Netherlands, these papers are authenticated
by signatures you may recognise. Just checking out a nice little
web provider in downtown Tashkent, Uzbekistan...
there's always Sealand
is what I call an
"Acceptable Use Policy"
currently has no regulations regarding copyright, patents, libel,
restrictions on political speech, non-disclosure agreements, cryptography,
restrictions on maintaining customer records, tax or mandatory licensing,
DMCA, music sharing services, or other issues."
– From HavenCo
the official website of the Principality
wouldn't be so hard to set up a collective of 'contentious' website
creators each having a share of server space. Sealand's least expensive
hosting is $7500 a year, with a $750 start-up plus hardware cost.
There was a good article in Wired
about the new data haven on Sealand, an ex-WWII fortress built by
the British in the North Sea in international waters which was landed
and claimed by ex-army major Roy Bates (later Prince Roy of Sealand)
under dereliction of sovereignty laws in 1968:
To return to the KAOS home page click here.