Via Slashdot, I see that Verio recently sent a notice informing the owner that Verio will no longer provide hosting services as of this Friday. What is Cryptome, and why should you care? Cryptome is perhaps the most impressive individual effort at plugging the “memory hole” that has ever existed.* In Cryptome’s own words:

Cryptome welcomes documents for publication that are prohibited by governments worldwide, in particular material on freedom of expression, privacy, cryptology, dual-use technologies, national security, intelligence, and secret governance — open, secret and classified documents — but not limited to those.

As you might imagine, this has annoyed not just the US government, but governments around the world. I’m near-fanatical when it comes to the idea that transparency is essential to good government, and I think James Young (who runs Cryptome) has done important work in advancing that idea. So getting this notice of shut down from Verio – with no explanation beyond a claim that Cryptome is violating its Acceptable Use Policy – is troubling. Verio, which has otherwise been an excellent host for Cryptome, appears to be unwilling to explain the reasons behind terminating this relationship. Mr. Young speculates:

It may be wondered if Verio was threatened by an undisclosable means, say by an National Security Letter or by a confidential legal document or by a novel attack not yet aired.

I should hope not. But that appears to be the most likely explanation.  I’d quite like to see more on what happened.

*I’m not absolutely certain, but I think Cryptome may be the first online effort I’ve ever donated to.