Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Scary Stuff...

The full text of this story can be viewed HERE

I have to say as a member of Infragard, a 15 year veteran of the hosting and colocation business from tech support to Security, and as an employee of a colocation company, that this is an apalling story.

I will call it now - this case will go to the Supreme Court so that there is a clear delineation between a business and it's customers and a clear message sent to federal agencies about what is and is not ok. Just because the servers in a facility were all interconnected does not mean they were all illegally operating. Interstate Highway 10 connects Florida to Texas but does that mean that Law Enforcement has jurisdiction to impound every car on the road because someone in Little Rock who used to live in Texas said that there was a light blue speeding vehicle on I-10 ?

I liken this story to an arms dealer working out of a hotel, and the FBI seizing the entire property and everything on it - from the extra towels, to the law abiding guests personal property, to the rental car companies' vehicles, because someone who got kicked out of the hotel for destroying property said there was an arms dealer in room 201. Like they would know.

Thank God they got the kids iPods and video game consoles though. I wouldn't want those playlists falling into the wrong hands or toddlers playing grand theft auto. That would be a travesty.

Here is a quick snippet:

The FBI on Tuesday defended its raids on at least two data centers in Texas, in which agents carted out equipment and disrupted service to hundreds of businesses.

The raids were part of an investigation prompted by complaints from AT&T and Verizon about unpaid bills allegedly owed by some data center customers, according to court records. One data center owner charges that the telecoms are using the FBI to collect debts that should be resolved in civil court. But on Tuesday, an FBI spokesman disputed that charge."We wouldn’t be looking at it if it was a civil matter," says Mark White, spokesman for the FBI's Dallas office. "And a judge wouldn’t sign a federal search warrant if there wasn’t probable cause to believe that a fraud took place and that the equipment we asked to seize had evidence pertaining to the criminal violation."

According to the owner of one co-location facility, Crydon Technology, which was raided on March 12, FBI agents seized about 220 servers belonging to him and his customers, as well as routers, switches, cabinets for storing servers and even power strips.

Authorities also raided his home, where they seized eight iPods, some belonging to his three children, five XBoxes, a PlayStation3 system and a Wii gaming console, among other equipment. Agents also seized about $200,000 from the owner's business accounts, $1,000 from his teenage daughter's account and more than $10,000 in a personal bank account belonging to the elderly mother of his former comptroller.

Mike Faulkner, owner of Crydon, says the seizure has resulted in him losing millions of dollars in revenue. It's also put many of his customers out of business or at risk of closure.

The raids are the result of complaints filed by AT&T and Verizon about small VoIP service providers whom the telecoms say owe them money for connectivity services. But instead of focusing the raid on those companies, Faulkner and others say the FBI vacuumed up equipment and data belonging to hundreds of unrelated businesses.


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