The Sudbury Star
Friday, July 10, 1998

Internet providers shut down controversial websites

Anti-hate group applauds quick action taken by Sudbury providers

by Terry Pender

A Sudbury man's websites were disconnected by two local Internet service providers after media reports about the sites' controversial contents.

The Northern Information Exchange, operated by John Dwyer of Sudbury, was disconnected Wednesday night by Vianet - a local Internet service provider. Dwyer also had a "mirror site" with Cyberbeach, another Sudbury firm that provides Internet access, but it too is no longer operating.

"We talked to John Dwyer and told him we shut down his site", said Vianet owner Will Gasteiger. "I can see where it would be offensive to certain people."

Dwyer's websites, or homepages, featured information from Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel, and instructions on how to make automatic weapons, a high-powered cattle prod, a recipe for the deadly biological agent Anthrax, and digital copies of The Terrorist's Handbook, and The Hand Grenade Reference Guide. Dwyer's homepage also had links to U.S. militias and other extreme-right organizations.

The Sudbury Star ran a story on Wednesday about concerns raised about the websites. When other media started calling Vianet about it Gasteiger decided to shut it down.

"For me it's a big hassle. We are caught in the middle", he said.

On one side is Dwyer. On the other is Sol Littman, of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies.

Littman sent Gasteiger a sample of some of the material from Dwyer's websites. Gasteiger received the package on Thursday, about 12 hours after he pulled the plug on the controversial site.

Littman said the Wiesenthal Centre has monitored the Internet for anti-Semitic and racist material for years, and it's never had Internet providers respond as quickly to its concerns.

"That's a knockout punch", said Littman. "You have no idea how long, how many arguments, and how many letters are usually needed to get this result. This is, in a sense, very good news for Sudbury."

But it's not the end of the matter. Littman has meetings scheduled for Friday with the Ontario Provincial Police to discuss the contents of the Northern Information Exchange.

"This is promoting violence. This guy is promoting the use of guns and bombs", said Littman.

Dwyer could not be reached for comment.


Copyright © 1998 by The Sudbury Star. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.