FC: Austrian ISPs shut down in response to search and seizure (fwd)

Today, between 1400 and 1600 GMT, it appears that most of Austria will be
offline -- the Austrian ISPs protesting about a government raid on one of
their own.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 18:31:43 -0500
From: Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
To: fight-censorship-announce@vorlon.mit.edu
Subject: FC: Austrian ISPs shut down in response to search and seizure

[For more information visit http://www.internet.at --Declan]


To: fight-censorship@vorlon.mit.edu
From: Thomas.Roessler@sobolev.iam.uni-bonn.de (Thomas Roessler)
Subject: Austria offline tomorrow.
Date: 24 Mar 1997 18:55:50 GMT

I'm a little astonished not to read anything about the recent
Vienna events on this mailing-list.  Below, you find some
messages that were forwarded to Usenet News groups. Part of the
text is in German, part is in English.  Please note that some
of the information given in the articles is contradictory - it
seems that there is quite some confusion in Austria right now.

Basically, Austrian police searched the internet service
provider V.I.P. and confiscated it's complete hardware,
including customers' computers hosted with the provider.
Reports are that police officers simply pulled the machines'
plugs without even shutting them down. The ISP in question has
not been accused; the search's purpose was gainig evidence for
investigations on pornography on the net.  More specifically,
German authorities have passed a clue to Austria on March 10
1996 (more than one year ago) about a Usenet news article
containing pornographic material.  The name of the person which
posted the article is said to be known to the authorities; this
person is no longer a customer of V.I.P.

As a sign of protest, Austrian Internet Service Providers are
planning to shut down their services on Tuesday, Mar 25 between
1400 and 1600 GMT.



Date: Sun, 23 Mar 1997 12:23:38 +0100
From: Claus Pfleger <cpfleger@stpoelten.com>
Newsgroups: de.soc.zensur
Subject: Police shuts down Internet service provider in Austria !

Urgent information - please pass to everyone interested especially to
opinion leaders - we need every international help and solidarity we can
get !!!

Austrian police shuts down Internet Service Provider

What happended so far ?

The Munich district attorney passed a clue to Austria last year that a
Internet Service Provider has a picture containing pornographic material
on his news server.

Now, at least about one year after that clue criminal investigation
department in Vienna takes action and confiscates the hole equipment of
an Austrian ISP at will - ind order to secure some evidence (which won t
be found any more because of the short lifetime of this data within a

Besides the financial loss that the ISP (ViP-net) now has to cope with
there couldn t be seen any sensitiviness watching the acting officers by
confiscating (maybe there should hang a manual near every computer
dealing with how to shutdown it).

Even the stand alone bookkeeping department system which wasn t hangig
on the Net was confiscated and all bachup tapes. The cops didn t take
use of an expert.

To get things right - it is not that we say that criminal prosecution of
a user uploading illegal material would be wrong - we say yes to
prosecution on illegal dealing users.

But the ISP is technically not able to supervise the hole data running
over his systems and lines and to censor it.

To eliminate the ISP commercial existence then with action at will
should not be expected in a country like Austria every day but similar
actions against other ISP and their costumers can happen again.

To make things worse:

In this case the ISP isn t even accused - he is going to be destroyed
for evidence purpose.

So far it isn t clear how that illegal data came into the network of the
ISP (maybe mail or news ?).
It is also unknown who passed the clue to the authorities (anonymized

Some could say somebody tries to make mood for the planned media law.
How practical that the judge in order (as known so far Mrs. Dr. Helene
Partik-Pable, member of a politicially right orientated Austrian party)
can act free and help to make law and order.

In Austria such a mad action can hit almost everybody not - only ISP.
Based on todays legal situation it seems watching the practice that it
is possible to confiscate a companies equipment and secret papers for a
long time at any time.

More background:

The ISP is trying to get up an emergency service but is unable to
reactivate his around 4000 users (with a high quantitiy of professional
and commercial users) because there aren t any backup files or even
booking papers.

To protest against that action more and more ISP and privat homepages
show black background and on the comming Tuesday hole Austria won t be
reachable via Internet from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm local time because all
ISP will shut down their service at that time to protest.

Contact: Claus M. Pfleger (Master of Law, University Vienna, lawyer in
E-Mail: cpfleger@stpoelten.com, webmaster@stpoelten.com

or even better e-mail to the Chancellor of Austria: vklima@spoe.or.at


In Protest: Austria Off the Net

   Major Austrian Internet providers ready to pull the plugs on Tuesday

   Vienna. In an emergency meeting Sunday afternoon, an ad-hoc-counsel of
   Austria's major internet providers Aconet, Eunet, Vianet & numerous
   others decided to take action against the latest & severest of
   governmental attempts against free flow of information.

   On Thursday, a group of secret policemen raided Austrian provider VIP
   (http://www.vip.at/). They pulled the plugs on any machine &
   confiscated every single piece of hardware. 400 vip/customers are up
   to now without connectivity. The search warrant did not include any
   accusations against vip.at. It was based on a request for assistance
   in law enforcement by the public prosecutor's office in Munich, dated
   March 10 1996 (!). There was no official comment on that delay.

   As Peter Wlcek, webmaster at vip.at, told quintessenz on Sunday, the
   raid was related to a usenet/posting to pedophile newsgroup by a
   former customer of vip - back in February 1996. "The point is", says
   Wlcek, "Police have been knowing name & address of this man ever
   since, but they raided us nevertheless."

   Wlcek would not comment on the fact that the examining magistrate
   Helene Partik-Pable is a prominent partisan of Joerg Haider's
   rightwing Freedom Party and Member of Austrian Parliament. The ruling
   coalition's (social democrats/conservatives) telecom law is after
   several years of fruitless efforts right now under parliamentary

   Author: erich-moechel@quintessenz.at (http://www.quintessenz.at/)

   A press conference will be held in Vienna, Monday March 24th 1997, at
   the Haas-Haus, 12.30.

   Contact: Madeleine Fuchs (fuchs@vianet.at)

weitergeleitet von
Hubert Partl                 partl@mail.boku.ac.at
ZID BOKU Wien                http://www.boku.ac.at/
                             COMPVTOR ERGO SVM :-)

  > Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 14:18:38 MET
  > From: "Christian Panigl, ACOnet/UniVie" <panigl@cc.univie.ac.at>

    Dear Austrian Ebone members,

    if appropriate for you, please follow the initiative described below and
    shutdown your Internet services including your Ebone access-lines
    tomorrow, Tuesday, 25.3. 16:00-18:00 MET.

    ACOnet will at least shutdown international access and services and the
    Vienna Internet eXchange (http://www.VIX.at) will be disabled in the
    given timeframe.

    Further information (in German) can be obtained (soon) from
    http://www.internet.at/  and/or as an Austrian ISP you may subscribe to:

    mailto:   majordomo@ping.at
    bodyline: subscribe a-offline

    your local Ebone-NOC/Vienna

			    Austria goes Offline

    On Tuesday, 25.3.1997, Austria's ISPs are going to shutdown all their
    Internet services from 16:00 to 18:00 MET.  The reason for this unique
    action is the recent seize of all computer equipment of a Viennese ISP
    by the police as pieces of evidence.  This official act was triggered by
    a denunciation versus persons unknown regarding child pornography dating
    10.3.1996 (! one year ago !).

    Confiscation of equipment after more than one year doesn't seem to be
    appropriate for securing evidence.  The current legal status doesn't
    clearly define the position of an ISP and doesn't specify general
    guidelines for the responsibility of content of the Internet.  With the
    general shutdown Austria's ISPs are demonstrating the only mode of
    operation which is evidently conforming to current law.

    Apart from the existing willingness for co-operation Austria's ISPs are,
    at the same time, offering practical support for the legal authority
    like free Internet access and training for their staff.

forwarded by
Hubert Partl                 partl@mail.boku.ac.at
ZID BOKU Wien                http://www.boku.ac.at/
                             COMPVTOR ERGO SVM :-)