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Blog Stolen by Homeland Security

Blog Stolen by Homeland Security

Over the weekend, a friend of mine sent me some information on a blogger who lost his blog due to the overzealousness of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Editorial Comment: the worst invasion of government beaurocracy since Social Security was invented.).

DHS apparently decided there was something of enough concern on the servers hosting back in May and confiscated all the data on the server. Fair enough, I suppose, if I allow myself to think the government actually has the best interests of the people in mind. They did not give him a timeframe outside of “sometime”:

Actually, it wasn’t just my blog. They seized everyone’s material who blogs through the server I use. Apparently they found something problematic and took both the mainframe and backup hard drives from 2mHost rendering my (and everyone else’s) blog completely wiped out. Needless to say, I’m pretty darn ticked off. They gave me no time frame as to when I should get my past files back. They did, however, say that I will get it back at some point.

Time went on (2 months apparently), and the data was not returned. Now, after losing 3 1/2 years of dat, he doubts he’ll ever get it back and is losing motivation to restart:

1) Suck it up and realize that, although over 3 years of my life has been erased, my life doesn’t cease to exist. I will have new memories and thoughts that I’ll want to record. I can just migrate the past month and a half that I’ve posted and migrate it over to a site like Blogger that doesn’t cost anything and is maintenance-free while backing up everything I do in Word documents and on another storage web site.

2) Just forget about the whole notion of trying to capture my life onto a medium that can be destroyed at any time. I should treat this as a lesson that, unless my posts somehow get published, they won’t be preserved. Instead of going through so much effort to make sure things stay concrete, I should just live my life.

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Unfortunately, many bloggers blog for the exact reason he named – it gives them milestones in their lives that they can look at in retrospect. I’ve done it. Whenever I start sifting through archives, memories of times go by come flooding back. I can understand his heartache.

If there is one reason I blog this now, it’s because something needs to be done. We can’t, of course, go marching into the offices of DHS as seize back his data. But an outcry needs to happen from the grassroots. People need to be heard. DHS needs to hear the outcry and they need to scramble to fix a public relations nightmare. Bloggers need to pick this story up and blog it and tell their friends. Blogs need to interlink. The New York Times needs to pick this story up. The Washington Post needs to launch an investigative report on DHS tech operations.

And finally, this bloggers data needs to be given back to him. It’s a livelihood and as bloggers know, content, especially 3.5 years of content, is as valuable as life itself. Hopefully others will join me in this.

View Comments (13)
  • Which DHS agency did this?

    DHS itself does not seize servers – DHS is a bureaucracy layered on top of several federal agencies. Which agency?

    Matt

  • Thanks for discussing my issue for others to read. It’s been frustrating to search for caches of my archives. Hopefully they’ll be a resolution to this mess. I’m actually in the process of contacting my local ACLU to let them know what happened. As for which DHS agency did it, all they’ve told me is that the server that hosted my site was unplugged by The US Department of Homeland Security
    agents to seize server hard drives (the main and backup drive) because of possible illegal contents.

  • I have inquiries off to the hosting company, their upstream provider (Voxel), and some folks at DHS. Will post what I learn.

    Matt

  • Michael: I am under the impression my timing was bad and I posted right before he changed hosts. I don’t know though.

  • I would imagine it was Secret Service who did this. It makes sense as they specialize in computer forensics and technology-based crimes. If there was something that was indeed suspiucious on that server, it would make sense that Secret Service confiscated the server.

  • Actually, the reason my site doesn’t work is because I’m in the process of switching hosts. I’ve had enough with 2mhost. The site should be restored in the next week or so.

  • Is the issue that DHS confiscated the server, or is the issue the loss of the data? Either one is a legitimate gripe, but if you’re bitching about data loss, well… this should be a good reminder to everyone that you should back up your data often.

  • Aaron H: That’s one of the issues. Who knows the status of the data or if Brad will ever get it back. Surely Brad should take this as a wrod to the wise never to trust an ISP to provide adequate backups, but regardless, there is not any decent communication that I’ve seen indicating what the status of the data is.

    Brad, I gather you’re not so versed in the technical side of things. Can I recommend WordPress to you. One of the plugins that is bundled with it is th blog backup plugin and is extremely useful for keeping a copy of your data for yourself.

  • The issue is both, really. I can’t imagine that DHS would just take the content of hundreds of sites and not give it back. It makes me question if it actually happened or if 2mhost lost the data and is trying to cover it up. I was told by 2mhost that if I wanted to cancel they would refund me my remaining money. I’m in the process of switching over (and using WordPress) to a new host, and 2mhost is now saying they won’t give me my money back. There’s a lot of shady stuff going on, and I am definitely going to get to the bottom of it. I’ve definitely learned to never trust your host (or government, for that matter)!

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