USA vs wikileaks: Round Two

There will be a round two of the fight to suppress wikileaks: The hammer has come down on the tier one service providers, with unbelievable pressure and scare tactics being used to keep wikileaks from being mirrored. Here is the coverage at Electronic Frontier Foundation.  Keep in mind the wikileaks people are pretty resourceful, and they may have a surprise or two.  So, pressure is applied to stem the avalanche of people volunteering to host a wikileaks mirror:

Wikileaks Mirror Taken Down: Host Buckles Under Demands from Upstream Provider
Commentary by Marcia Hofmann

Wikileaks isn’t the only site struggling to stay up these days because service providers are pulling their support. It appears that at least one person who wants to provide mirror access to Wikileaks documents is having the same trouble.

Recently we heard from a user who mirrored the Cablegate documents on his website. His hosting provider SiteGround suspended his account, claiming that he “severely” violated the SiteGround Terms of Use and Acceptable Use Policy. SiteGround explained that it had gotten a complaint from an upstream provider, SoftLayer, and had taken action “in order to prevent any further issues caused by the illegal activity.”

SiteGround told the user that he would need to update his antivirus measures and get rid of the folder containing the Wikileaks cables to re-enable his account. When the user asked why it was necessary to remove the Wikileaks folder, SiteGround sent him to SoftLayer. The user asked SoftLayer about the problem, but the company refused to discuss it with him because he isn’t a SoftLayer customer. Finally, SiteGround told the user that SoftLayer wanted the mirror taken down because it was worried about the potential for distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks. When the user pointed out that no attack had actually happened, and that this rationale could let the company use hypothetical future events to take down any site, SiteGround said that it was suspending the account because a future DDOS attack might violate its terms of use.

If this sounds like a lame excuse, that’s because it is a lame excuse. It’s incredibly disappointing to see more service providers cutting off customers simply because they decide (or fear) that content is too volatile or unpopular to host. And the runaround that this user received from his host and its upstream provider demonstrates the broader problems with the lack of any real transparency or process around such important decisions.

Internet intermediaries — whether directly in contract with their users or further up the chain — need to stick up for their customers, not undermine their freedom to speak online. As we’ve said before, your speech online is only as free as the weakest intermediary.

This incident shows that censorship is a slippery slope. The first victim here was Wikileaks. Now it’s a Wikileaks mirror. Will a news organization that posts cables and provides journalistic analysis be next? Or a blogger who posts links to news articles describing the cables? If intermediaries are willing to use the potential for future DDOS attacks as a reason to cut off users, they can cut off anyone for anything.

USA vs wikileaks: Round Two

Fair Articles on wikileaks

Yes, they are hard to find, but here is one by Glenn Greenwald:

some more links: (Hat tip: Imprudent Loquaciousness )

Clay Shirky (“WikiLeaks and the Long Haul”),

Jeff Jarvis (“WikiLeaks: Power Shifts From Secrecy to Transparency”)

Evan Hansen (“Why WikiLeaks is Good for America”) and

Ethan Zuckerman (“Why Amazon Caved, and What it Means for the Rest of us”)

Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic is cataloging essays here.

Fair Articles on wikileaks

Wikileaks, the center of a growing network, fed by the White House [was wikileaks mirrors] updated 6x

Note to readers: I am so very proud of the readers who have been clicking on the links to donate to wikileaks, found in this post.  It is an honor that my site could contribute to one of the great progressive movements of our times.  In fact, that is the number one click from this site, having 70 130 clicks just today (!), so thank you very much, please continue donating to wikileaks.

At this address, as of 2010-12-12 11:54 GMT find a list of 208, 506, 748, 1334, 1368 1,885 sites that mirror the wikileaks content.  Those who want to defeat wikileaks are losing have lost. Big Time.

If the White House wants there to be one million mirrors they can continue their ill-fated attack on wikileaks.  These will be updated and added to, as the need arises. The content is unstoppable.  The donated server space is obviously coming in faster than the wikileaks staff can coordinate.  I am sure everyone’s donated server space will be used, eventually.  Wikileaks, I am sure, is thankful.

This is a classic example of the 09F9 effect. This is named after after the first four digits of the once-secret encryption key (09f911029d74e35bd84156c5635688c0)  for DVD’s.    Recall when the key was published, the social network site digg originally buried the “diggs” to stories that included the key, since the DVD access control group threatened legal action.  There was an immediate and massive revolution of digg users, and eventually, under a tsunami of diggs, the management of digg stopped trying to fight the publication of the key.  They joined the revolution.

That is exactly what is happening now.  There will be a tidal wave of those desiring to donate server space to wikileaks.  If those in power are so stupid that they think they can stop this wave, and they try to suppress it, the next wave will be greater.  What those who would fight this wave need to understand is that their acts of repression actually feed the growth of the network they are fighting.  The concept of moral connectivity that Col. Boyd so well understood is evidentially lost.  Those who attack wikileaks in the method they are now doing are increasing the moral connectivity of wikileaks and decreasing their own connectivity.  Especially, they connect all those who oppose the suppression that they seek to enforce.

Or to put it in terms everyone can understand: There is a fire, and you have a fire hose that is feed with gasoline.  Is it smart to use the hose?  I think it is not.   Apparently there are those in the administration who think it is.   What do they get?

Wikileaks, the center of a growing network, fed by the White House [was wikileaks mirrors] updated 6x