Online privacy and anonymity is everyone’s right indeed but it may sometime be abused by the criminal-minded. In a recent case, numerous bomb threats were made to the University of Pittsburgh. While investigation the case, FBI has now seized an anonymizing server which, apparently, was being used by the culprit to hide his/her identity.
The server has been recovered from a place which is currently under two organizations: May First/People Link and Riseup Networks. The server conveniently trashes all such data on an email that could possibly trace the email back to its sender, thus providing anonymizing solutions for such users as may need or require it.
Apparently, the person making the bomb threats was making use of the anonymizing program of the server, called Mixmaster, to hide the identity while making the threats. Now that FBI has seized the server, it may be in a position to unveil the truth.
However, Riseup is naturally unhappy with the seizure of its server and had this to say in a news release, ‘This is plainly extra-judicial punishment and an attack on free speech and anonymity on the internet and serves as a chilling effect on others providers of anonymous remailers or other anonymous services. In absence of any other leads, the FBI needs to show that they are making progress in this case, and this has meant seizing a server so they can proudly demonstrate they are taking some action.’
The server is apparently used to support 300 email address as well as numerous websites for various groups such as gay rights groups, feminist groups and others. So while FBI may have all it needs to find the culprit in there, it will still take it a while to dig that out.