Comments on: Official UK government attempt at censorship A blog from the staff at NearlyFreeSpeech.NET. Fri, 12 Oct 2012 19:01:16 +0000 hourly 1 By: ‘ tries to close site giving home addresses of badger cull figures’ « world news for life Fri, 12 Oct 2012 19:01:16 +0000 […] hosting firm Nearly Free Speech (NFS) has vowed to continue to let its unnamed customer publish the information even though it was recently served […]

By: Adrian Fri, 12 Oct 2012 11:52:29 +0000 You want to be able to publish the names of government officials, but you redact any names in the injunction to hide your identity.

Just about says it all, doesn’t it.

Actually we redacted the names of the people in the injunction — government officials and others — because none of the names have anything to do with us and aren’t necessary to make our point; we actually feel very strongly about making choices that protect other people’s privacy even when we don’t have to. Two people’s identities were disclosed in the documents we made available: the judge’s at the top of the injunction, and mine at the bottom of our letter to the UK TSol.

So, both your interpretation and your conclusions are completely wrong. And you appear to have conflated us (a US web hosting company who has nothing to do with this) with the operator of a web site we happen to host. Maybe you should see if TSol is hiring. 🙂 -jdw

By: FreedomRider Thu, 11 Oct 2012 03:30:13 +0000 Good for you folks. Tell thoe pasty bastards to BUGGER OFF!

By: pfan89 Thu, 11 Oct 2012 00:17:14 +0000 And this is exactly why I stick with NFSN.

I saw that someone mentioned a legal fund. If that does become necessary (which I doubt it will), would you be posting another blog entry so that those of us who wish to donate to it can be aware of its existence?

Yes. -jdw

By: arT2 Wed, 10 Oct 2012 11:00:52 +0000 <3 your response.

By: ms.brock Wed, 10 Oct 2012 09:38:45 +0000 it looks like the list of farmers on the site has been taken down.

although the map of the cull zone is still up on the site and some people may have an understanding of how online telephone directories work.

no one has been stopped from listing anyone’s name, it is the contact details that are not allowed to be listed. so perhaps the uk government should be attacking telephone directories

By: Aaron Mason Wed, 10 Oct 2012 04:00:37 +0000 NFS.N – Responding to take down threats like a boss since 2002 🙂

By: Loti Tue, 09 Oct 2012 19:55:20 +0000 a) I am not a lawyer
b) I am not a US citizen
c) I am not a UK citizen
d) I do not know about the site in question other than what I have read on this page, including the comments.
e) I have no position on the culling of badgers or any other animal

It seems to me that you misread or misunderstood the letter from TSol. They did not threaten to ruin you, they specifically stated that their desire was the opposite of that. They claim more than once that they support free speech and they support your work in doing that. They simple stated that they undesrstood (righly or wrongly) that you had limited resources and that as a result they would NOT want to see you out of business as a result of this issue or their actions to you in pursuit of this issue.

Yes, I considred that these are lawyers and that this could in fact be a well veiled threat to “ruin” you, but I really don’t see it like that after reading their letter.

I also think they are correct that your client is in breach of your own TOS as they have a legal decision against them for publishing the information that is published on your service. For that alone you should provide your client notice that you have been contacted about a breach of your TOS and they have X time to resolve that. You don’t have to take the site down, you don’t have to edit the content (even if you could).

Regardless, I think you misunderstood their request and you would be required by US law to take “some action” if/when the UK government decides to go that route. i.e. domesticate the decision.



Both our legal team and independent lawyers have reviewed the situation. We stand by our interpretation. And being who we are, we have accumulated a huge corpus to compare this letter to in determining that it is unusual in the ways we outlined in the original blog post.

You are right that it’s well-veiled, and with good reason. The legal term for nakedly threatening to harm someone if they don’t do what you want is “extortion” and the professional term for lawyers who can be shown to have engaged in it is “ex-lawyers.” So they never do that. Instead, lawyers can be masters of subtlety when it comes to finding ways to threaten without threatening. Doing so also helps them, because it affords them an out; they can (and probably will) say exactly what you said, followed by, “We absolutely did not mean it as a threat and we are so sorry you took it that way!” And if they’re really, really good, they’ll be able to say it with a straight face. But with that said, this letter is actually less subtle than what we usually see.

So, if you’re a Minecraft fan, you might interpret it like, “Ssssay, that’s a nice webhost you’ve got there. It would be a ssssshame if anything happened to it!”

Our privacy policy prohibits us from discussing whether or why a given site does or does not violate our Terms & Conditions of Service. It would certainly be more convenient for us if that were not the case, but the purpose of our privacy policy is not to protect our convenience.

We strictly follow US law. If the UK government brings this to the US, and if the appropriate US legal system finds that we are required to take some action, then naturally we would take it. But the law is on our side and the facts are on our side, so that’s not what we regard as a likely outcome.


By: jdw Tue, 09 Oct 2012 19:30:26 +0000 Thanks to all for constructive and lively comments.

Please note that further comments on the subject of what content does or doesn’t belong on someone else’s website are very unlikely to be approved.

As that subject is peripheral to the issue at hand, which is the behavior of the UK government in this matter, we feel it has been very adequately covered, and that a broad spectrum of viewpoints have been aired.

Therefore, please feel free to direct any further comments on that subject to the site operator, who is the only party in a position to address them.


By: Mukunda Tue, 09 Oct 2012 18:51:54 +0000 I appreciate your position here. You or your company is not responsible for the website or its comments.
Yes the “psychotic” could refer the government records website and access the address of an individual. He however cannot identify the individual as being involved in an activity objectionable to him or her, such as a badger cull. So there is a big difference here which you seem to have overlooked.

We surmise that the list of participants is very likely to be a matter of public record as well. -jdw