If you’ve tried to access any of the Indymedia websites in the past couple hours, you might have noticed that… you can’t. The cause? Not a technical boo-boo on the part of the computer-savvy anarchists, but a sinister – nay, diabolical – scheme by The Man to oppress and suppress free speech the world over.
Or, you know, maybe their registrar suspended the entire domain for having blatantly fraudulent WHOIS data. To the anarchists, I’m sure it amounts to the same thing…
Here’s a screencap of the WHOIS info at the moment; note the nameservers at the bottom:
This affects every website using the indymedia.org domain – like the Twin Cities IMC and the Chicago IMC, among dozens of others. Those few Indymedia sites with their own domain names – like Indybay – are still accessible.
Technically speaking, having false WHOIS information is a violation of ICANN guidelines, and can be sufficient to get your domain name revoked or even deleted. Thing is, suspensions like this never happen out of the blue – the registrars make several attempts to contact you and get you to update/correct the information, usually giving you a month to comply.
It’s not as if the people behind Indymedia are exactly anonymous, or have a great deal to hide, so the faked WHOIS data is just plain stupid. I’m sure that as the day goes on there will be hysterical and badly-spelled cries about censorship and oppression, but this little misadventure is entirely of their doing, and the blame for it rests squarely with the Indymedia geeks.
Funnily enough, those same geeks don’t seem to have made any announcements about their little mishap just yet, and nobody in the blogosphere seems too concerned that they just vanished into thin air, poof. I guess maybe “the masses” aren’t quite so massive, after all…
(Update 1442 CDT 7 Aug 09: they’re back, mostly, after an absence of about twenty hours. Apparent cause? Yep, failure to respond to the registrar’s emails, which presumably concerned the WHOIS data.)