Wikileaks wasn’t really ever gone, but a very unusual case in which a bank sued the web host of Wikileaks resulted in the U.S. version of the site being pulled offline for a couple of weeks. The controversial site’s domain was wikileaks.org. The site’s purpose is to allow whistleblowers to anonymously post incriminating information and documents that show evidence of wrongdoing.
Someone posted some very incriminating information about Bank Julius Baer on Wikileaks. The documents allegedly prove that the bank helps very rich customers hide assets, launder money, and evade taxes. The bank got upset because the documents were deemed confidential, and they tried to get the site owner to take down the documents.
After being unsucessful, Julius Baer took the unusual step of suing the web host, Dynadot. And instead of fighting the case, Dynadot decided instead to agree to completely shut down the site, make it so the site owners couldn’t transfer the domain name anywhere else, and turn over all data collected by the web host, including IP addresses of users. How outrageous!
First off… Let’s make this clear. If you do business with Dynadot, you’re an idiot. Take your hosting elsewhere. For a company to violate your right of privacy with them in such a way is unacceptable, and customers need to know that when push comes to shove, Dynadot will sell them out in a heartbeat.
Now back to the story…. On Friday, a judge decided that the owners of Wikileaks should get possession of their domain name back. He’s wiping out the agreement under which the web host agreed to remove the site from the internet, and basically said that he thinks that agreement probably violated free speech protection under the First Amendment.
Now here a somewhat ironic tidbit about this case: The site was never really shut down… That particular domain was wiped out. But all the information that was being argued about was still accessible through other domains that Wikileaks has set up in other countries. So the information being argued about is still available (and always has been) in cyberspace.