The Age (Australia)
By Sam Varghese
July 27, 2005 - 10:30AM
A US broadband provider and a security services company have been accused of blocking emails relating to an anti-Iraq war protest.
American online activist David Swanson says the provider, Comcast, and security services company Symantec, blocked emails drawing attention to the so-called Downing Street memo, which activists have seized on as further proof that the Iraq war was planned well in advance. The leaked memo was first published in Britain's The Times newspaper.
Swanson, the founder of the AfterDowningStreet.org website, claims emails sent to and from his subscribers were blocked for a week as he tried to co-ordinate events around the United States. He said the events would have had a far bigger turn-out had the block not been in place.
"We didn't know it, but for the past week, anyone using Comcast has been unable to receive any Email with "www.afterdowningstreet.org" in the body of the Email," Swanson wrote on his website.
Advertisement"Comcast said that ... Symantec refused to lift the block, because they had supposedly received 46,000 complaints about Emails with our URL in them. Forty-six thousand! ...Could we see two or three, or even one, of those 46,000 complaints? No..."
Swanson said he was trying to raise awareness about the memo and get Americans to lobby the US Congress to inquire into whether President George W. Bush had lied about the reasons for the Iraq war.
He said that once one of the activists involved in the campaign posted Symantec's phone numbers on his site, and Symantec's communications department received complaints, the block was removed.
Antoinette Trovato, a Symantec spokeswoman in Australia, said the company's US office had advised that a spam rule was created due to an increase in email traffic identified by the Symantec Probe Network.
"The rule was determined to be too broad and has since been turned off," she said.
Comment has been sought from Comcast.
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