How to comply with the Feds

Hey, didja know that a search warrant can put you out of business? Now you do. The Feds showed up at CIT Hosting in Columbus, Ohio a couple weeks ago, and wound up taking everything instead of just finding what they needed on site. Yup; they’re shut down despite not actually being accused of any crime — apparently, they just couldn’t sift through the terabytes of data quickly enough to suit the suits. (Leave aside for a moment whether we think the Feds can do it faster.)



Here’s CIT’s statement:

02/14/2004 FBI Confiscates all servers

Dear Customers of FOONET/CIT:

We regret to inform you that on Saturday February 14, 2004 at approximately 8:35 am EST, FOONET/CIT’s data center in Columbus, Ohio temporarily ceased operations.

Here are the facts of what occurred:

The FBI executed a search warrant issued by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio regarding the IRC network that we host. According to the warrant, it appears that the Bureau is investigating whether someone hosted on our network hacked and attacked someone else.

After several hours of attempting to track down, inspect and audit the terabytes of data that we host, the FBI determined that it was more efficient (from their point of view) to remove all of our servers and transport them to the FBI local laboratories for inspection. This was completed at 7:00 pm EST same day.

The FBI has assured us that as soon as the data has been safely copied and inspected, the equipment will be promptly returned. Unfortunately, the FBI has not been able to tell us when they will be completed with their inspection.

We have been told by the Special Agent in charge of the investigation that If you need access to your data you are asked to please contact the Bureau via email to Make sure to include in your email your name, mailing address, and telephone number with area code.

Since we wish to focus 100% of our efforts on restoring services, we would appreciate it very much if you do not attempt to contact us directly. Please rest assured that we are doing everything possible to restore service to you as quickly as possible.
To the many who have inquired, Paul and family are OK, although shaken by these events. They are at home and awaiting the blessed event of their new child’s birth. We thank you for your good wishes and prayers.

Please check back here often. Through this site, we will keep you informed of ongoing developments as we know them.

Thanks again for your understanding.

Damn. I’m glad I don’t host there, because I’m pretty sure they’re, well, fucked. Have I mentioned lately that expanding police powers is probably a bad idea?

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