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Web Host Shuts Down 70,000 Blogs With No Notice
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msg:4173252
 11:10 am on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Web Host Shuts Down 70,000 Blogs With No Notice [bbc.co.uk]
A web hosting company has said it shut down a blogging platform that was home to over 70,000 bloggers because a "link to terrorist material" and an al-Qaeda "hit list" was posted to the site.

BurstNet said Blogetery.com also posted "bomb-making instructions".

The company said it acted after receiving "a notice of a critical nature from law enforcement officials".

But the move has angered bloggers who use the platform and say they were given no notice of the shutdown.

 

grandpa




msg:4173279
 12:50 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Over the top and quite drastic, IMO. The article stated that Blogetery also had previous issues. It sounds as if someone at BurstNet pulled the plug to rid themselves of a problem domain. While it may be within their right as per their TOS, it's more than unfair to the bloggers of that domain who were in compliance.

The obvious question is why not remove the offending blogs?

JAB Creations




msg:4173298
 1:16 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Blogging is a form of expression and considered free speech. Only one agenda would shut down 70,000 blogs for a single suspected terrorist blog: communism.

The correct action would to have closed the single offending blog. Obviously since the culprit has been pointed out following comments will attempt to gray the matter out in order to make it seem acceptable that 70,000 people should suffer because of a single person.

- John

incrediBILL




msg:4173301
 1:25 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

BurstNet was well within their rights as the AUP claims they'll shut a site down for doing something illegal and hosting material that has the FBI crawling all over them certainly qualifies.

The obvious question is why not remove the offending blogs?


It was a rented server, BurstNet didn't operate it, not their responsibility. When the FBI tells them something illegal is going on, they just enforced their AUP. Fair enough response if you ask me because I sure as heck wouldn't want something like that operating in my hosting farm.

seem acceptable that 70,000 people should suffer because of a single person.


BurstNet had ONE customer, Blogetery.com, not 70K customers.

It has nothing to do with free speech, blogging, or anything of that nature.

It has everything to do with a customer violating the terms of his hosting agreement and when the FBI came knocking it appears BurstNet terminated the agreement for violating those terms.

Simple as that.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 1:31 pm (utc) on Jul 20, 2010]

jecasc




msg:4173304
 1:30 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Pretty stupid move from BurstNet, even if they were within their rights - which I doubt - since they did not receive a court order to shut down the website from a judge but a simple information from law enforcment about allegedly illegal content.

If you shut down 70,000 blogs without further notice because of one that posted illegal stuff nobody with brain for five cents will ever do business with you again.

There is no way anbody can guarantee that never ever now or in the future illegal content will be available on his website - either because a user has posted it or because of a security breach.

If they had simple removed the illegal content and terminated the contract within the cancelation period they would have gotten rid of the problem without any bad publicity.


It has everything to do with a customer violating the terms of his hosting agreement and when the FBI came knocking it appears BurstNet terminated the agreement for violating those terms.


Some people seem to think TOS stand above the law and even above the constituion. There are limits about what you can regulate in TOS. A termination of a contract without prior notice is a pretty harsh move and usually only possible if there is an extreme violation of the contract by one party which makes it unbearable for the other party to further comply with the contract. I doubt that one offending blog out of 70,000 would be covered.

incrediBILL




msg:4173342
 2:05 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Some people seem to think TOS stand above the law and even above the constituion


It's a matter of civil contract law, nothing constitutional about it, BurstNet can terminate at any time for any reason.

Right on the BurstNet AUP [burst.net] page:
Suspension/Deactivation:
If any terms or conditions are failed to be followed, the client risks service suspension or termination. BurstNET™ reserves the right to remove any account, without prior notice.


People agree to these terms when they sign up and are suddenly shocked when companies actually do what their contracts give them the right to do after repeated violations.

No bloggers have been silenced, despite all the sensationalism from that peanut gallery, just publish the blog elsewhere.

The problem for all the bloggers out there didn't learn to BACKUP their data.

Nobody to blame for the data loss but themselves and they'll know better next time.

jecasc




msg:4173425
 4:05 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Actually I do not see that Blogetery necessarily violated the TOS.

Running a blog website itself does not violate the TOS. Someone used one of the blogs for illegal purposes, but this does not necesarilly mean a breach of contract or TOS on blogetery's side.

Imagine this: You rent an appartment. Someone breaks in your apartment and does somthing illegal in it - selling drugs. When you come home your landlord has switched locks and all your property is gone. The landlord says by selling drugs you violated the contract and he has now cancelled the contract without further notice and removed your belongings.

Is he within his rights? Certainly not. Because someone else doing something illegal with something your rented does not constitute a violotion of the contract by you.

Or you could argue like this:
BurstNet has allowed Blogetry to run the website for several month. BurstNet knew that Blogetry was running blogs. BurstNet also knows that it is possible that third parties post illegal content on blogs and this is impossible to prevent. Therfore BurstNet can't suddenly claim a breach of contract when something happens that BurstNet knew all along would very likely happen. Maybe even knew when they signed the contract.

incrediBILL




msg:4173512
 5:55 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Someone breaks in your apartment and does somthing illegal in it - selling drugs.


Bad analogy because nobody broke into Blogetery, they all signed up for a free account and were allowed entrance, therefore they hosted the illegal party.

Had the server been hacked and sending spam or involved with a botnet BurstNet probably would've taken it offline as well but they probably would've allowed Blogetery to just fix it and put it back online.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case and his free-for-all business model was a magnet for anonymous people doing bad things to come play on his service and BurstNet said this wasn't the first violation.

Because someone else doing something illegal with something your rented does not constitute a violotion of the contract by you.


That's a stretch because Blogetery rented the server and allowed the content to be posted and remain.

Had they policed their server and removed those bad accounts I would definitely think BurstNet was overreacting.

Doesn't matter who did what on the server, it was Blogetery's responsibility for allowing it to remain on the server in violation of the AUP.

See, this is the problem with the modern generation, no personal responsibility, it's always someone else's problem and never their fault.

Besides, the FBI's letter [m.cnet.com] gave them the green light to shut it down:
In the FBI's letter, the agency included a clause that says Web hosts and Internet service providers may voluntarily elect to shut down the sites of customers involved in these kinds of situations.


Sounds like an employee may have acted out of turn, but they still have the AUP violation on their side and the FBI's blessing so BurstNet seems to be well within their rights all the way around.

Besides, any blogger expecting a free hosting service to remain up indefinitely is kind of delusional IMO.

wildbest




msg:4173525
 6:10 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's a matter of civil contract law, nothing constitutional about it, BurstNet can terminate at any time for any reason.


No. If in a contract one of the sides reserves 'the right to terminate at any time for any reason' that means there is no contract... In civil law most of business activities can not be exercised without a contract!

contract:
a binding agreement between two or more persons that is enforceable by law.


There is no 'binding' if one of the sides can 'terminate at any time for any reason' and certainly, there is no obligation that is enforceable by law because for one of the sides there is no obligation per se!

blend27




msg:4173534
 6:26 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

On Bing pull this query:

site:Blogetery.com +cheap

for me Yields 363,000 results..

Now here is the trivia question: how many of those pages are not a part of Link/Content Spamming, Auto Generated Garbage, Scraped Content, Comment Spamming ... etc.?

Now using Bing again try:

site:Blogetery.com +'insert your favorite spam-term-here'

And that would Represent whole bunch of blogs of Real Bloggers that do not know how to delete/control comment spamming.

I feel really bad for the legit users of a free blog platform, but in theory numbers speak for themselves here.

coachm




msg:4173576
 7:44 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Incredibill is right as usual. The real message here is for people who use free resources belonging to other people to run business related functions. You have NO recourse, NO contractual obligations on their side, etc in those situations, and if you do use them, you get what you deserve.

I don't feel bad for the legit users. Being cheap has a huge cost.

callivert




msg:4173813
 4:26 am on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

If in a contract one of the sides reserves 'the right to terminate at any time for any reason' that means there is no contract...

so if I can quit my job at any time for any reason, I don't have an employment contract?

wildbest




msg:4173822
 5:21 am on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

so if I can quit my job at any time for any reason, I don't have an employment contract?

If your employer can fire you at any time for any reason, you don't have an employment contract! If your employer can fire you at any time for any reason with 2 days written notice, you have 2 days employment contract. If you can quit your job at any time for any reason, your employer has no employees. Simple as that.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4173826
 5:39 am on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

AVOID Burstnet - end of story.

grandpa




msg:4173846
 6:26 am on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's a bit more than simply avoiding BurstNet. After reading the discussion here I can see the problem the host is facing, even if I don't fully agree with their response.

ANY HOST in a similar situation could do the same thing. It most certainly is up to the end user, in this case Blogetery, to mind the store. It seems pretty clear they were only focused on the bottom line. One well crafted script could have monitored the content on their site, and would have given them a semblance of defense to keep the site running. This is a quote from the BurstNet Publisher Agreement:
Your site may NOT contain user-submitted content that is not moderated.

I know that if the FBI were breathing down my neck I would likely do whatever it takes to end that situation.

A final thought, just to keep it honest. Over the weekend I started a new site with a popular host. How many of you believe that I read the detail of the TOS?

wildbest




msg:4173885
 8:17 am on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's a bit more than simply avoiding BurstNet.

I know that if the FBI were breathing down my neck I would likely do whatever it takes to end that situation.

Avoid US-based hosts?!... A final thought... just to keep it honest.

jecasc




msg:4173905
 9:07 am on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

ANY HOST in a similar situation could do the same thing.


Mine could not. At least not in this manner and if he did I would sue him to kingdom come.

If for some reason my host thinks I am in serious violation of the contract which makes it unbearable for them to continue the business relation, they can terminate my contract in WRITING effective immediately and then have to give me the opportunity to backup the contents from my server in a reasonable period of time - at least 7 days. Simply shutting down a server and then playing possum is neither legal nor is it a conduct of business suitable for any serious and reliable company.

incrediBILL




msg:4174092
 3:14 pm on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

I would sue him to kingdom come

That's just throwing money away because they're completely within their rights and judges toss frivolous lawsuits in the trash.

Blogetery agreed to the TOS/AUP when they set up shop with BurstNet, no surprises here, much like all the rest of us also have agreed to similar terms with our hosting.

For some funny reason people think those contracts and AUP apply to everyone but them.

Just remember, we're only talking about a SERVER here, how about the entire hosting company being taken offline for hosting spammers or malware like McColo (US), PROXIEZ-NET (Russia), Pirate Bay (Sweden), UkrTeleGroup (Ukraine), Real Host (Latvia), Atrivo (US), ColoCall (Ukraine) and 3FNetc (US).

Both Atrivo and McColo were taken offline by their upstream providers and 3FN was shut down by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Last year there was a Secret Service raid on ColoCall in the Ukraine [usenetshack.com], all servers removed:
19 November 2009. At about 10 o'clock in the morning, Ukrainian Security Service officers raided our data centre in Dnipropetrovsk in relation to an ongoing enquiry with one of our clients, "Fregat". During the raid, hundreds of units of equipment owned by our company and our clients were taken for forensics.

So this is far from an isolated incident and far from just being US-based, it happens all over the world.

Do nothing illegal and host in squeaky clean data centers and there's nothing to fear :)

HRoth




msg:4174589
 9:33 am on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

No, "do nothing illegal" is not protection against losing your rights. As for what happens in other countries, it's not pertinent. In Iran, it's perfectly legal to stone adulterous women to death. Doesn't mean it's okay for the US government to do it.

There are two issues. The FBI had no case, and burstnet acted without a court order.

If the FBI had serious issues with some blogs on blodgetery, they would have gone to burstnet with court order in hand. They didn't. They just asked. That means they knew they were full of baloney and that the blogs in question were NOT in fact violating any laws. They just didn't "like" those blogs. That's the first issue.

The second issue is that burstnet just rolled over to a letter. They didn't wait for a court order or ask for one.

That's McCarthyism. It is not illegal. But it is pernicious. This is how we all lose our rights--one little compromise at a time.

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