Date: Mon, 29 Jun 98 18:46:31 CDT
Subject: Italy: Progressive Inet Site Computers Seized
Saturday, June 27th at 10.30am the server of Islands in the Net (the Italian no-profit association that offers communication spaces to social centres, free radios and collectives of the movement) has been seized by the Postal Police of Bologna. Starting from now, thus, and who knows for how long, the server at http://www.ecn.org will be down, the web pages will not be available anymore and will not work the email services that permitted in the last years the construction of a strong solidarity network among several self-organized collectives.
The seizure happened in the rooms of the Internet provider that hosted the server, it was ordered by the State Prosecutor of Vicenza Paolo Pecori and was executed by officers of the Postal Police of Bologna.
It is a ‘preventive’ seizure claiming the crime of ‘prolonged defamation’ toward a travel agency. The reason for the seizure would be the web publication of a message posted by an Italian collective, accurate transcription of a printed flyer publicly distributed. This message was first sent to a mailing list (cslist) hosted by the server of Islands in the Net and then published on the web through the usual automatic procedure.
Although the seizure order still does not explicitly mention any person formally charged with the crime of defamation, the judge that ordered this action evidently holds Islands in the Net liable for the content of anything hosted by its Internet server. The liability of the providers for the contents they carry is actually a very hot topic worldwide still far from a viable solution. However, the main direction is that Internet providers should NOT being hold liable for the contents they carry, at least on grounds both of technical feasibility and commercial suitability.
The order of seizure of the entire server, furthermore, seems exceptionally harmful because it hits a service used by hundreds of users in Italy and abroad, completely unrelated to the events that conducted to the charge, and that are suddenly deprived of an indispensable communication medium.
We are currently analyzing the situation in order to find the best solutions to what seems to us an extremely serious event that will, in any case, be known far and wide.
We inform that the web server www.ecn.org, all the mailing lists and all the e-mail addresses hosted by the server are currently down. We are working to set up a backup server as soon as possible.
You can read the last news at: http://strano.net/news http://geocities.com/Hollywood/Set/2184/inr.html or in the mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org