Court Shuts Down Website
The First Amendment right to a free press generally prohibits a court from restraining the publication of information. Whether that doctrine applies to any or all of the whistle-blowing documents collected at Wikileaks.org, a court's decision to order the website "disabled" is an obvious affront to the First Amendment. Talk about killing the messenger.
On Friday, Judge Jeffrey S. White of Federal District Court in San Francisco granted a permanent injunction ordering Dynadot, the site’s domain name registrar, to disable the Wikileaks.org domain name. The order had the effect of locking the front door to the site — a largely ineffectual action that kept back doors to the site, and several copies of it, available to sophisticated Web users who knew where to look.
Judge White's order is tantamount to ordering the New York Times to cease publication because some of its stories are based on leaked information. Shouldn't the same right to a free press apply to internet websites, the most accessible means of publishing information to a wide audience?
Fortunately, the Times was kind enough to tell us where to find the information that Judge White doesn't think we should read: [more...]
The site itself could still be accessed at its Internet Protocol address (http://18.104.22.168/) — the unique number that specifies a Web site’s location on the Internet. Wikileaks also maintained “mirror sites,” or copies usually produced to ensure against failures and this kind of legal action. Some sites were registered in Belgium (http://wikileaks.be/), Germany (http://wikileaks.de) and the Christmas Islands (http://wikileaks.cx) through domain registrars other than Dynadot, and so were not affected by the injunction.
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