You may have read earlier this week that Burst.net, a Scranton, Pa.-based Web hosting service, took Blogetery.com, a blog hosting service that features some 73,000 or so blogs, offline earlier this month over claims that one (or more?) of the sites was hosting materials used by "al-Qaeda operatives." Joe Marr, chief technology officer of Burst.net told C|Net that "it took the site offline after FBI agents alleged the blogging platform was being used by al-Qaeda operatives to distribute recruiting materials and to offer bomb-making tips."
Today Burst.net said that it had zipped up Blogetery.com’s data and will give it back to its owner, but it will no longer host the site. Marr also said the al-Qaeda materials and some copyright infringing files were removed. The transfer was due to occur later in the day.
Why would a service provider pull down an entire domain over one or more blogs "allegedly" hosting materials? And who, if anyone has an original copy of the data to prove that the materials were on the site in the first place? Certainly not Blogetry.com.
Marr told C|Net that the reason for the service termination was that the materials the FBI alleges belonged to terrorists are a violation of Burst.net’s terms of service, and that Blogetery has racked up multiple prior terms of service infractions, Marr said. He also said that, while Burst.net does not usually return data to customers booted for TOS violations, his company "wants to do right by Blogetery users."
The reason this story has received so much attention is because it was originally reported that Blogetry was hosting "copyrighted material." A certain segment of the blogosphere latched onto that aspect of the story and ran with it. Later, after it was revealed "which law enforcement agency" had been in touch with Burst.net and why the story shifted from that to the webhosts’ over eagerness to comply.
Blogetry.com is expected to relaunch the site as soon as it gets its data back – and even if it doesn’t it still plans to relaunch its blog hosting service elsewhere soon.