Analogy: the cops need to look at a gun store's records to track down a criminal shooter. The cops have reason to believe people with access to the gun store might go in and destroy those records. Should they be able to shut down the gun store (temporarily) and block access to it while they execute a legal search warrant on it?
Investigations of crimes benefit the public, and so the public (taxpayer) should pay the costs of the investigation, not whatever private party the costs happen to fall upon. Taking this logic to its conclusion, in a fair and just society, if a law enforcement agency executes a search warrant, it should have to pay those affected by the search warrant the reasonable costs of that seizure (e.g. the cost of renting and deploying an acceptable alternative until the equipment is returned, or the cost of lost business if it is a purely for-profit organisation and loss acceptance appears to be the cheaper based on the information available to the business at the time). This wouldn't apply if the court was satisfied following a contested hearing that the person having assets seized was a party to a crime being investigated.
While the above would be fair, it is not how the law works in many jurisdictions, because politics works on what politicians can fit in a sound bite (lower taxes! more law enforcement on the same budget!), not necessarily what is fair to minorities like innocent parties having their equipment seized.
Frankly, your logic makes no practical sense.
They do, actually, except most of the time they don't bother with the warrant, and it doesn't make the news because neither law enforcement nor the companies involved have any interest in disclosing it.
If secure anonymization technologies become a lot more common, law enforcement organizations will eventually learn not to bother. Until then, anyone running such a service (such as a Tor exit node) should expect to have this happen to them periodically.
- Those companies probably have too many servers and too much data to make seizing all of it productive.
- Those companies would be less likely to be effected, as they have backups and redundant servers for handling outages.
- Those companies keep records that they provide to law enforcement when presented with a warrant or subpoena.
It's 100% ok to run an anonymizing remailer, with no backup strategy in place. It's retarded to act surprised and indignant when the server gets seized because it was probably used to commit a crime.
Did you read the press release? Riseup was not running the anonymizing remailer, it just happened to be on the same physical machine as some of Riseup's infrastructure/e-mail accounts/listservs/etc.
From the press release:
The seized server was operated by the European Counter Network (“ECN”), the oldest independent internet service provider in Europe, who, among many other things, provided an anonymous remailer service, Mixmaster, that was the target of an FBI investigation into the bomb threats against the University of Pittsburgh.
Obviously the person down voting me is not aware of how Bin Laden used USB sticks...
Under previous federal administrations, such information was required to be destroyed if collected. However the current administration and counter-terrorism guidelines assert that such private information may be held for 5 years, and shared between government agencies.