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Censorship Government Politics Your Rights Online

A Comparative Study of Internet Censorship 195

Posted by kdawson
from the maybe-it's-the-third-world-maybe-it's-your-first-time-around dept.
An anonymous reader suggests we visit the home of the watchdog group Global Integrity for a breakdown of online censorship: "Using data from the Global Integrity Index, we put a US court's recent order to block access to anti-corruption site Wikileaks.org into context. In summary: This is unheard of in the West, and has only been seen in a handful of the most repressive regimes. Good thing it doesn't work very well... The whole event seems to encapsulate the constant criticism of governance in the United States: that the government has been captured by corporate interests, and that the world-leading rule of law and technocratic mechanisms in place can be hijacked to serve as tools for narrow, wealthy interests."
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A Comparative Study of Internet Censorship

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  • by anthonys_junk (1110393) * <anthonysjunk&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @01:34AM (#22484706)
    WikiLeaks is available at it's IP address: http://88.80.13.160/ [88.80.13.160] also a mirror site: http://wikileaks.be/ [wikileaks.be] For the docs at the centre of the controversy, you can get them at http://cryptome.org/wikileaks-bjb.htm [cryptome.org]
    • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @02:55AM (#22485044)
      I cannot believe how many articles there are, like on Boston.com [boston.com] that report the judge ordered the website shutdown:

      Website ordered closed over documents dispute
      A federal judge has set off a free speech tempest after shutting down a US website ... Dynadot agreed to shut down the site and bar Wikileaks from transferring the domain name to another host.

      When will people learn how the Internet actually works?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Raphael (18701)

        A federal judge has set off a free speech tempest after shutting down a US website ... Dynadot agreed to shut down the site and bar Wikileaks from transferring the domain name to another host.

        When will people learn how the Internet actually works?

        They do understand how the Internet actually works. The issue is that Wikileaks has servers in several countries. Countries that have laws protecting freedom of speech and legal procedures that prevent or slow down attempts at censorship.

        The bank knew that

      • When will people learn how the Internet actually works?

        The internet works as it will. The "world wide web" however relies de facto on DNS.

        The main problem here is that ICANN and hences DNS and hence a major portion of web infrastructure is, for some unbeknownst reason, seemingly under the jurisdiction of every backwater district court judge in the US. I thought your federal institutions answered only to federal judges?

        In the interests of competent governance, ICANN and the registry should at the very least

    • More alternative links, besides www.wikileaks.be [wikileaks.be]:
      www.wikileaks.ws [wikileaks.ws]
      www.wikileaks.cx [wikileaks.cx]

      WikiLeaks information about the story at the Sunshine Press copy of WikiLeaks: Cayman Tax Avoidance [sunshinepress.org].

      The way WikiLeaks recommends to find stories about the censorship: Google News [google.com].

      Excellent article: Wikileaks' Leaked Documents Blocked But Unbowed [informationweek.com]. I got all the above information from that article.

      Quotes from the Cryptome.org story [cryptome.org] mentioned in the parent comment:

      "The website WikiLeaks.org has been taken off
  • Silly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shihar (153932) on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @01:41AM (#22484736)
    This is a silly article. That court order was one minor judge, and he backed off it almost the second he let the words slip from his mouth. Further, the rulings of one low level judge does make law. If there was actual precedence set by having this work up the chain of courts, you might have an argument. Until that time, this is just one crappy judge who can have everything he says promptly overturned by the many layers of judges higher than him.

    If you want to look at real censorship in the west, turn your eyes outside of the US. The US has no censorship laws around hate speech and almost no libel laws. Almost anything short of conspiracy to commit a crime is a-okay in the US. You can safely write or speak that you think the Holocaust is a hoax, that all the should die, and that is a whore who fucks pigs and goats. None of the above will get you in trouble with US law. All of the above would get you in trouble in more than one European nation. I am not saying that extremely weak libel laws and a lack of hate speech laws is a good thing, just that it decidedly tips the US over on the "free speech" spectrum farther than the vast majority of other nations out there.

    There are a lot of complaints you can level against the US like starting wars, kidnapping and torturing people, extra judicial prisons, warrantless wiretaping, etc. That said, free speech is one places where the US is about as liberal as one can possibly be and takes it to extremes that few other nations do.
    • Correction (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shihar (153932)
      *This is a silly article. That court order was one minor judge, and he backed off it almost the second he let the words slip from his mouth. Further, the rulings of one low level judge does NOT make law.
      • Shihar, I agree with what you said. However, it seems to me that people, including you, don't deal with abuse very well.

        Note that the grandparent comment to this one, which is your extremely sensible observations, is moderated 0, Flamebait, and the parent comment, which is a minor and obvious correction you wrote, is +3, Informative. That's crazy.

        The "one minor judge" has succeeded in stopping most access to the WikiLeaks site, except for technically knowledgeable people. That shows the mood of the U.S. government. There is no cry from the U.S. government to restore free speech.

        The problem is not just "one minor judge". It is an entire governmental culture of corruption. See this thread in another Slashdot story (which includes comments I wrote): The U.S. government is too corrupt to investigate corruption. [slashdot.org] That comment is moderated "60% Insightful, 40% Flamebait" as I write this. Perhaps 60% of the readers understand the issues, and 40% want to avoid thinking about abusive situations.

        In actuality, the U.S. Constitution says that Congress can make no law against free speech. It doesn't say that the U.S. government cannot allow misleading speech, or do other things to prevent free expression. The governmental guarantee is much weaker than most people realize. The power of the rich who want corruption is much stronger than most people realize.
        • Yes, part of the problems of the US people is that they can't stand critics and intellectuals, it's their own fault that they are in such a mess.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by whoever57 (658626)

      This is a silly article. That court order was one minor judge, and he backed off it almost the second he let the words slip from his mouth.
      Huh? Whois on wikileaks.org still shows the domain as "inactive", so, even if he backed off, the effects of his judgment are still in place.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Shihar (153932)
        The judge later amended the court order to state that the bank documents need to be removed and took out calling for the domain to be taken. The domain is still down, but the site is still exist with its IP and is mirrored just about everywhere. The larger point is that one silly little low level court judge made a really dumb order that is going to stand for about 30 seconds before he gets smacked around by a bigger judge with a bigger beating stick. Further, this type of action is pocket change compare
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Instead of just implying that you have more freedom of speech in the US than in Europe, can you actually prove that? I live within the EU, and I can say whatever I want to who ever I want. Not only can I deny the holocaust happened (which by the way I am not, I have been to Dachau) but I can say what I want, when I want, without fear of the law. In the US, if you are a communist or a muslim, you are immediately treated with suspicion. In America, are Muslim preachers allowed to preach in public? Are commun
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            In America, are Muslim preachers allowed to preach in public? Are communist organisations allowed?

            Yes and yes. Go back under your bridge little troll.

          • by Ironsides (739422)
            We actually have a communist party that tries to get themselves elected. I've seen just about everything preached in public. We've had Nazi rallies in the U.S. in the past 50 years with full replica uniforms and swastikas displayed boldly (tell me if you've ever seen THAT in Germany). We have KKK rallies, a group that hates Blacks, Jews and Catholics. We have Westboro Baptist, Here's their website. [godhatesamerica.com] No, that is not a joke. Those people are real.
    • Re:Silly (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @01:46AM (#22484762)

      That said, free speech is one places where the US is about as liberal as one can possibly be and takes it to extremes that few other nations do.
      Just don't say the name of one of the acts of the vagina monologues on television.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        This also makes it impossible to read e.g. The Female Eunuch [wikipedia.org] - an important political work, whatever you think of the author - on television without censoring the text. Nice going FCC.
    • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @02:10AM (#22484876)
      First, a "lowly" court judge in the United States CAN "make" law. If his/her decision is accepted as precedent (as it MUST, unless reason is later demonstrated to overturn it), then even a municipal judge can "change law". Further, it does not even have to be a judge. A jury can change law, and that decision too would have to be overturned by a higher court in order for that change to be invalidated. [http://www.fija.org/]

      Second, the US *does* have laws regarding "hate speech" and other "hate crimes". They might typically be state laws rather than federal, but that does not negate the fact that they exist in much if not most of the United States. Having said that, I will add that I personally believe "hate crime" to be among the most ridiculous legal concepts so far devised by man.

      Third, the United States has very strong libel laws. The difference is that unlike in many nations, libel must generally be proven before it can be punished. Also, libel against "public figures" is much harder to prove... but that is by design, and for very good reason. (In many other places, speech against politicians or other "public figures" is punished much more harshly than speech against other citizens. But that does not mean that libel laws do not exist in the US. They do... they are just fairer than most.)

      And finally, the fact that it is worse elsewhere does NOT mean that it is good here. That is like saying to one man in line, "Look, you only got a broken finger! The next guy in line has a broken leg!"... and then using that to justify breaking fingers. Sorry, but it is not a valid argument.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Atario (673917)
        I have no problem with most of what you said...but...

        Second, the US *does* have laws regarding "hate speech" and other "hate crimes". They might typically be state laws rather than federal, but that does not negate the fact that they exist in much if not most of the United States.

        If by "hate speech laws", you mean US laws prohibiting certain subjects in speech, I'd like to see a list. I'm having a mighty hard time finding any. Are there, in fact, any laws (still standing) at any level in the US saying t

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by twizmer (1206952)

          So I should assume you are against the different levels of murder and manslaughter? That you advocate that any wrongful death should be punished exactly as any other?

          This is really a straw man. The difference between degrees of murder and manslaughter is the level of intent: did you plan ahead of time to kill him, decide to kill him on the spot, or not even mean to kill him at all, etc. That distinction is quite different from asking "why did you intend to kill him?" The difference between intentionally and unintentionally causing death is not the same as intentionally killing someone because he was an [epithet] or because he slept with your wife or whatever.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Atario (673917)

            The difference between degrees of murder and manslaughter is the level of intent: did you plan ahead of time to kill him, decide to kill him on the spot, or not even mean to kill him at all, etc. That distinction is quite different from asking "why did you intend to kill him?"

            And likewise, the difference between beating the hell out of a guy because he bumped into you in a bar is vastly different from beating the hell out of a guy because he bumped into you in a bar and we got to show them damn _____s the

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Curunir_wolf (588405)

              And likewise, the difference between beating the hell out of a guy because he bumped into you in a bar is vastly different from beating the hell out of a guy because he bumped into you in a bar and we got to show them damn _____s they got to learn their place. One is an attack; the other is an attack intended to intimidate everyone like him.

              So certain people get "special" protection. Because they are "special"? Because it's really difficult to determine motivation in these circumstances. If a guy gets beat up in a bar, and it comes out that the assailants were using terms like "baldy" and "slaphead", then they get a harsher sentence, right?

              Oh, wait... bald people are part of a "special", "protected" class. Well, that's just wrong, and it's the start of a ordeal where people clamor to be part of a group and lobby for special protections

            • by Nazlfrag (1035012)
              They are both thoughtcrimes. You're just artificially putting more weight on being a racist over being an arsehole. Courts and cops aren't going to solve racism by becoming thought police, but it won't stop them trying. We have to be equally intolerant of racists and plain vanilla arseholes if we value freedom of speech and thought.
        • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @04:01AM (#22485276)
          No, to your first point I will answer that we have laws that provide for harsher punishment for certain crimes (including slander, libel, etc.) *IF* they were committed for certain reasons, such as race and so on. That is commonly referred to as a "hate crime", even though the actual crime is a "normal" crime. The distinction (as pointed out by the other reply) is the motivation behind the crime.

          To your second point, I will answer: THAT is why it is ridiculous. If someone shoots you, does it really matter to you (or society, for that matter) WHY it was done? As far as punishment is concerned, that is. Historically, in order to find someone guilty it was sufficient to show motivation... it was not important what that motivation was. It is already a capital crime. Why should you, as a minority (hypothetically speaking of course) be able to punish your attacker more than I, a member of the majority? Are you worth more to society than I? Who says so?

          ISN'T THAT RACISM??? (You need not answer. Of course it is.)

          By their essential nature, "hate crime" laws are hypocritical and discriminatory. Those reasons alone are sufficient to remove them from the books, just like the other hypocritical and discriminatory laws that favor the "common folk" over minorities. You don't fight racism with more racism, no matter which direction it is pointed. You fight racism by getting rid of it, in whatever form it assumes.

          Your final comparison I will just ignore. It has no bearing on the discussion at all. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and just presume that you simply misunderstood what I was trying to say.
          • by Atario (673917)

            THAT is why it is ridiculous. If someone shoots you, does it really matter to you (or society, for that matter) WHY it was done?

            Why, yes, it does.

            Why should you, as a minority (hypothetically speaking of course) be able to punish your attacker more than I, a member of the majority? Are you worth more to society than I? Who says so?

            The value of one group of people vs. another doesn't enter into the question. It's the intimidating and/or chilling and/or provocative effects on the target group. Depending

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by garutnivore (970623)

            To your second point, I will answer: THAT is why it is ridiculous. If someone shoots you, does it really matter to you (or society, for that matter) WHY it was done? As far as punishment is concerned, that is. Historically, in order to find someone guilty it was sufficient to show motivation... it was not important what that motivation was. It is already a capital crime. Why should you, as a minority (hypothetically speaking of course) be able to punish your attacker more than I, a member of the majority? A

          • by gozu (541069)
            Are you a minority?

            People are naturally tribal and our brains reflect that. That means that our impulses will invariably tend to be racist or adversarial to outside groups. Until the day our brains and culture are no longer contributing to the problem, we try to counter those impulses by instilling a sense of shame and guilt in the individual and publicly stigmatizing racism and other forms of discrimination. Hate crime laws are part of that.

            Do you have a better idea that doesn't ignore the shortcomings of
      • by twizmer (1206952)
        Decisions of a court are only precedent in the formal sense in courts below that which made the ruling. One might of course cite a favorable ruling in legal arguments, but it is not binding on other courts.

        The US does have hate speech laws, but they are very limited in scope by the application of the First Amendment. See for example R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul where SCOTUS overturned a hate speech law because it amounted to viewpoint discrimination. The classes of speech which can be constitutionally rest
        • Decisions of the court establish precedent, which can be cited in court at any level. What I was saying was that at least theoretically, the principle of stare decisis should hold UNLESS there is reason to contradict that precedent at a higher level. I.e., while the higher courts are not bound, if they are aware of a past decision that bears on a current case, and they disagree, they are bound by principle, ethics, and tradition to show why that decision should not hold. That is the way they are supposed to
          • by kmcrober (194430)
            This is wrong. Stare decisis flows from higher courts to lower courts, and sometimes works horizontally, but doesn't flow upwards. It does not mean that lower courts' rulings bind or are even strongly relevant to a higher court. Lower courts' decisions may be cited in higher courts, but they are not binding precedent, even if "there is no reason to contradict that precedent." Higher courts are not "bound by principle, ethics, and tradition" to address lower courts that disagree with a decision they reac
      • First, a "lowly" court judge in the United States CAN "make" law. If his/her decision is accepted as precedent (as it MUST, unless reason is later demonstrated to overturn it), then even a municipal judge can "change law". Further, it does not even have to be a judge. A jury can change law, and that decision too would have to be overturned by a higher court in order for that change to be invalidated.

        Wow. Rarely have I seen such wildly inaccurate information, even on the internet. A court's decision is onl

      • by BitterOak (537666)

        First, a "lowly" court judge in the United States CAN "make" law. If his/her decision is accepted as precedent (as it MUST, unless reason is later demonstrated to overturn it),

        Actually, that is not strictly true, at least in the US. Generally, if the constitutionality of a law is challenged, as would probably be the case in which freedom of speech was threatened, the Court of Appeals will generally review the case de novo. That is to say, deference doesn't have to be given to the opinion of the lower court. The appellate court can look at the case fresh, and can decide the outcome differently without pointing out a specific error made by the district court judge.

    • Re:Silly (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jo42 (227475) on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @02:37AM (#22484968) Homepage

      The US has no censorship laws
      Just try to say something against the brain fuckery known as The Church Of Scientology - see how long before their lawyers bend you over a couch...
      • Re:Silly (Score:4, Informative)

        by mcrbids (148650) on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @03:46AM (#22485218) Journal

        The US has no censorship laws
        Just try to say something against the brain fuckery known as The Church Of Scientology - see how long before their lawyers bend you over a couch...
        Brain fuckery may be an excellent term for it - but in this case, although the Co$ may harass you for being truthful if it's inconvenient, it's not illegal to say that, in your opinion, they are all a bunch of rodent wankers.

        Just because the police don't come and get you for calling your daddy a loser, doesn't mean that your momma won't.

        Oh, and the Co$ is one SCARY bunch. Anonymous marches on March 15...
    • Re:Silly (Score:5, Informative)

      by damburger (981828) on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @04:21AM (#22485402)

      Rubbish. The US has less freedom of speech than most European countries. Don't just take my word for it though:

      http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=24025

      The fact you think you are freer just makes it even more disturbing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ardaen (1099611)
        Many sources such as the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index seem to be showing a trend of decreasing freedom in the USA over the last few years. I'm guessing that trend started somewhere in 2000-2001.

        People tend to lag behind reality with the image they have of themselves.

        The USA is still a very free country, generally a pretty nice place to be. It would however, appear to no longer be a leader in freedom, liberty or human rights.
      • Re:Silly (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @07:49AM (#22486416) Homepage
        More details on the reason for the poor US standing is here. [rsf.org]
      • I have issues with the RSF methodology. They conflate two problems, government suppression of speech and other groups suppressing speech. For example, Italy fares poorly not because of government action but because "journalists continue to be under threat from mafia groups." And one of the strikes against the US is the murder of Chauncey Bailey, which appears to have been a criminal act due to his investigation of "Your Black Muslim Bakery," and not due to government suppression. Only a fraction of the
      • by b0bby (201198)
        I do have to take that report with a grain of salt - the issues they cite are basically that there are some uncertainties over the right of a reporter to protect their sources, and these can lead to reporters being held in contempt of court if they refuse to reveal their sources. This is not a unique issue to the US; there was a German reporter detained a few years ago for similar reasons, who was just cleared last year, and a number in France. Their other main issue is that a Sudanese cameraman, arrested i
    • and that is a whore who fucks pigs and goats
      Look, nothing has been proven about this and I will keep on fighting all allegations aiming to paint me black!!
      *pauses*
      Oh, right, you were just giving an example.
      *sulks off*
    • by VON-MAN (621853)

      If you want to look at real censorship in the west, turn your eyes outside of the US.
      And if that doesn't help, you can always look outside the west. Makes you feel even better.
    • by tkrotchko (124118) * on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @05:19AM (#22485642) Homepage
      "I am not saying that [...] a lack of hate speech laws is a good thing"

      Oh, I would say that.

      "Hate Speech" is not defined. It simply means speech that is offensive to someone. Almost by definition, this type of law runs counter to the idea and ideals of free speech. It can easily be abused by political enemies, by a government that doesn't want criticism, or by one group to silence another.

  • The courts demonstrate their inability to understand the Internet as well as other technical matters. It no wonder that CSI is popular? I'm certain that lawyers are watching it to find out how crime scene science works.

    Seriously, the court had to have some understanding that what they ruled on was TOTALLY ineffectual, right? If they did not know, then perhaps they should be encouraged to recuse themselves from future cases involving anything to do with the Internet, computers, or ... well, anything.

    Yes, IAN
    • The injunction requested was against Dynadot. It was not against wikileaks. Dynadot didn't contest it as they didn't want to spend the money. So what the judge did was ineffective, but it was what Julius Baer wanted.
  • pendulum (Score:5, Insightful)

    by globaljustin (574257) <[justinglobal] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @01:48AM (#22484774) Homepage Journal
    it's time to recontextualize and essentially reboot our understanding of privacy, freedom, information, free speech, and similar civil rights

    in other words, Americans as a whole need to learn what the internet does, and take a fresh look at how our freedoms are being shit on by the US government. we must demand the same digital freedoms and privacy protection that we have in non-digital media and more.

    looking through this wikileaks story and a previous story about FOIA documents that show torture devices the government has been developing motivates me to seek a true change.

    the American people must claim their rights or they will be taken
    • by BVis (267028)

      in other words, Americans as a whole need to learn what the internet does, and take a fresh look at how our freedoms are being shit on by the US government. we must demand the same digital freedoms and privacy protection that we have in non-digital media and more.

      I disagree. The more ignorant the general (moronic) public remains of how the internet works, and the more our lives come to depend on internet access, the better. Why? Because then, after years of retrograde progression, the smart people will h

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @01:49AM (#22484778)
    for quite a while now. Years. But most people didn't listen: "I'm confortable in my job for X Corporation. Nothing seems wrong to me!"

    Wake up, people!

    There is really not much else to say.
  • Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @01:59AM (#22484832)
    "The whole event seems to encapsulate the constant criticism of governance in the United States: that the government has been captured by corporate interests, and that the world-leading rule of law and technocratic mechanisms in place can be hijacked to serve as tools for narrow, wealthy interests."

    People always spout this kind of nonsense when they're trying to argue for more government controls. The government is corruptible. The problem is not that the people in charge are corrupt, this can/will/has be/been true for any entity with any kind of authority that has ever existed, does currently exist , or ever will exist. If you don't want a corrupt government, you're out of luck. The best you can do is to give the government as little authority as possible.

    In the US, anyone can sue anyone for anything. This is the best possible arrangement of affairs, but it invariably means that you will end up with rulings like this one. If you read up on the case, you will see that the bank is claming that their ex-CEO is trying to use the website to influence the outcome of a separate legal case. So whose right would be more important, the right of the ex-CEO to leak confidential documents, of the right of the bank to have a fair court case in Sweden? People like to make these things seem cut and dry, but they're not.
    • by gozu (541069)
      So whose right would be more important, the right of the ex-CEO to leak confidential documents, of the right of the bank to have a fair court case in Sweden?

      oh! oh! oh! The first one! The first one!

      First, there is no reason why the bank can't get a fair trial because of what you mentionned. The judicial system is what needs to be fixed if this isn't the case.

      Second, this isn't about the ex-CEO's right to leak. If he did something illegal, throw him in jail. Don't shoot the messenger.

      Third, I don't care abou
  • Compensation? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by corsec67 (627446) on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @02:15AM (#22484890) Homepage Journal
    When the wikileaks.org url is put back online, could they seek compensation for the lost time that they suffered as a result of that ruling?

    Or could I short [wikipedia.org] some stock in a company, sue them for hosting sensitive/"evil" information, and then buy the stock back when the domain gets turned into a blank page? (Use any online company here, something like child-porn on flickr would be an easy target)
  • Reaction (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats (122034) on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @02:21AM (#22484912) Homepage

    This is not going well for Bank Julius Baer.

    Press reaction is very favorable to Wikileaks. The New York Times even published the IP address of Wikileaks. [88.80.13.160] There's favorable coverage in The Associated Press, the British press, the Australian press, etc. Since it's on the AP feed, it's going to be in papers across the US tomorrow. Not much TV coverage yet.

    Bank Julius Baer is trying to take their US business public. [juliusbaer.com] Their proposed billion dollar IPO [sec.gov] could be derailed by these disclosures.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @02:39AM (#22484976)
    Posted anonymously for legal analysis. The following is my opinion and my opinion only.

    Every lay discussion of the orders in this case have gotten it wrong about what happened. The judge did not have second thoughts about granting the injunction. There are two orders, and they are directed at separate parties, even though they are part of the same case.

    The first order [wikileaks.cx] is the settlement with the registrar. The registrar Dynadot settled with Bank Julius Bear to dismiss any claims BJB may have against it, in return for the permanent injunction that you see there. Dynadot agreed to do, among other things, lock the domain, disable it, preserve all DNS data, and produce all information it has about who registered the hostname and who had access to it.

    This permanent injunction, between BJB and Dynadot, is not binding on Wikileaks, because Wikileaks was not a party to it. I think this is the big story here. Essentially Dynadot rolled over and settled with BJB without letting Wikileaks participate in the process or have any say whatsoever. Depending on the terms of its registration agreement, Wikileaks could very well file a complaint against Dynadot for unjustly terminating its service. Be wary of your registrars and internet service providers, because if this stands, they can agree to terminate your service without your involvement.

    The second order [discourse.net] is a temporary restraining order against Wikileaks, prohibiting them from publishing the documents at issue. They are listed at the end of the order. Unfortunately for BJB, due to the the way Wikileaks is architected, the operators of Wikileaks do not host the documents themselves, nor can they order their removal. Is Wikileaks concerned about any legal consequences? [wikileaks.cx] The answer is no. "We design the software, and promote its human rights agenda, but the servers are run by anonymous volunteers." That's why those who run the company have nothing to do in response to the injunction and why the documents are still online. Wikileak's response is due tomorrow Feburary 20th at noon, and the hearing will be on Friday February 29th at 9:00am at 450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, California 94102 [google.com] at the US Courthouse, so be sure to show up!
  • Grim future (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thatblackguy (1132805)

    Kazakhstan....rather than block sites, it slows them down, frustrating the users of political content into looking elsewhere.

    A practical example of why we need net neutrality and what happens without it.

    The court order that muzzled Wikileaks.org (covered here) was prompted not by the government but by a bank registered in the Cayman Islands.

    That just adds insult to injury. As if the local corporations weren't enough, other companies can mess with your freedom of speech. I also like how they quote it's still available from the link http://88.80.13.160/ [88.80.13.160] or the other http://www.wikileaks.be/ [wikileaks.be]

  • by mapkinase (958129) on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @07:53AM (#22486436) Homepage Journal
    Knowing fondness for defense of free speech of Western media one would think that all the material at Wikileaks would be immediately copied on the front pages of all major Scandinavian newspapers. Anybody had any links to those newspapers?

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