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Wikileaks Gag Sparks Freedom Debate

20.02.2008

Following an order last week from a US federal judge, the US arm of whistle-blower Web site Wkileaks.org was taken down, sparking a debate online concerning free speech, and whether free speech applies in these circumstances.

On Friday, February 15, Swiss bank Julius Baer (juliusbaer.com) succeeded in obtaining an order demanding that the site's host take down Wikileaks, a site that enabled insiders to anonymously leak incriminating documents to the public.GlobalSign says the launch of its new services and rebranding are a result of recent change within the SSL industry that started in September 2006 when US based GeoTrust was acquired by VeriSign and an opportunity arose for a SSL provider to move into GeoTrust's market position as the second largest player and to become the new alternative offering to the number one player VeriSign.

Dynadot (dynadot.com) the US-based host that served the Wikileaks main site, reportedly agreed not only to take down the site, but to block the wikileaks.org domain from being transferred to another provider, and to turn over records related to the site, including IP addresses and other data used by people accessing the domain name's account.

While the US site is currently down, overseas versions of the site remained active as of Wednesday. A mirror of the site is online here.

Wikileaks caught Julius Baer's attention when a former Cayman Islands-based employee of the bank posted papers he says show illegal activities including money laundering and tax evasion taking place via the bank's accounts.

While it appears that Dynadot chose not to fight on behalf of its client, even though Wikileaks may not have had an adequate chance to defend its actions, it is not completely clear what arguments the bank made in favor of having the site shut down, and whether it was citing illegal activity by Wikileaks.

By shutting down the DNS along with the site, and by blocking the domain's transfer and handing over login information, it would seem that Dynadot was particularly assertive in its efforts to meet the bank's demands, however.

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