"Two services that enable users to blog or create online forums have disappeared from the Internet under mysterious circumstances."
The two services in question are Blogetery.com, a blogging platform,which shut down July 9, and IPBfree.com, "a service that helped users create Web message boards," according to the article.
Blogetery had more than 73,000 blogs.
Regarding iPBFree the article says, " ‘iPBFree is gone forever and it’s not possible to retrieve anything,’ said one of the service’s administrators who went by the Twitter handle Connormccarthy. ‘It wasn’t planned. We’re exceptionally sorry.’ "
According to the article, the shutdowns had nothing to do with any kind of copyright violations.
The article also says, "Benjamin Arcus, vice president of Scranton, Pa.,-based BurstNet, the Web host for Blogetery, told CNET that executives there terminated service at the direction of a law enforcement agency. ‘I can not disclose which agency or why they [ordered the action],’ Arcus said.
Furthermore, the CNET article says, "None of this makes sense, according to one law enforcement official with experience in cybercrime investigations who wasn’t connected to the cases but wished to be anonymous because he is isn’t authorized to speak on the matter. He said that he didn’t know of any agency that had the authority to terminate service for thousands of people without essentially jumping through all kinds of legal hoops. Not even federal officials in child pornography investigations can immediately shut down hosting services."
Though the article itself does not raise the issue of terrorism, some commenters to the article have. Said one: "I’m surprised no one’s raised the idea that maybe this was some sort of terrorism/Homeland Security-related issue. If any agency could do things in secret, I’m betting that one could."
Another commenter wrote in reply, "Not sure what terrorism would have to do with making whole sites go dark. If there was an individual blog being used as a message board for terrorist you wouldn’t need to make the whole site dark to shut it down. This would be the same as shutting down Verizon Wireless because a terrorist used one of their cell phones to make a call. I would hope that we lived in a country that was smarter than that and where such a thing is not possible within the law. Even the war on terrorism should not leave and government agency with unlimited power to do anything and never have to justify their actions in any way. ‘It’s a matter of national security’ or similar statement should not be a sufficient answer for any and all actions without any public oversight."