I received a follow-up email, this time it was sent directly to me rather than to my web host.
To read the first one, go here >>
Things to note:
- These emails are the same as the ones sent to other websites (example 1, example 2).
- They use boilerplate language. They appear to use these letters regularly in order to intimidate web hosts and website administrators into removing content or websites. And it appears to work (see examples above).
- Because of this boilerplate language, they do not appear to be specifically identifying the context of Vegan Soapbox as problematic, even though that’s what they imply.
- These emails are from the UC Berkeley’s IT department, not the legal department, not the animal experimenters themselves, and not a law enforcement agency.
- These emails seem to be requests, not demands and not legal threats. I have emailed UC Berkeley for clarification on this matter.
- The first email asked my web host to ” take whatever level of action is necessary to remove the material in question, up to and including disabling the entire site if required.” I have made a back-up of the website and if Vegan Soapbox goes down, rest assured I will do my best to revive it.
- I have contacted a lawyer and am currently awaiting his advice.
Without further ado, here is the most recent email:
date: Thu, Jun 11, 2009 at 2:47 PM
subject: Inappropriate personal information posted by ThePlanet.com Internet Services Inc. customer website “vegansoapbox.com”
June 11, 2009
On June 4th, 2009 our office sent a message to your web service provider,
ThePlanet.com Internet Services, Inc., requesting that inappropriate
material be removed from your site, vegansoapbox.com.
The material includes personal home addresses and home phone numbers for
individual researchers, work locations with specific room numbers in
buildings on campus and work phone numbers for the researchers. The
posting of such personal and work location information in this context
clearly endangers these members of our academic community.
Please advise whether you have received that message.
Office of CIO
University of California, Berkeley
As I wrote above, I responded asking for clarification about whether this was a request or a legal demand. I will post updates as they come.
Note that they aren’t merely interested in private information like home addresses, they want ALL information about animal experimenters removed, including work addresses. To me, this says they’re more interested in hiding and protecting the labs than in protecting animal experimenters’ families and private lives. To me, this indicates an economic motive – to protect equipment and labs from damage – not a human rights motive to protect individuals from physical harm.
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