WikiLeaks website shut down by Amazon & Joe Lieberman

Update: Amazon denies it shut down WikiLeaks website because Joe Lieberman asked, only for a ToS violation. But Senator Droopy tells it different, suggests other hosters should follow AWS's lead.

Julian Assange (The Guardian)
By Richi Jennings. December 2, 2010.

WikiLeaks website has been shut down temporarily, after Amazon censored it. Joe Lieberman apparently put pressure on Amazon to pull the site. But the cloud service provider isn't talking. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers accuse Amazon of being selective with its freedom of speech defenses.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention It's loud with the Shop Vac on...


Gregg Keizer journalizes the facts (ma'am):

WikiLeaks moved to Amazon's hosting service on Monday, apparently ... to avoid or mitigate aggressive denial-of-service (DoS) attacks that took the site offline for several hours.


Amazon's hosting terms of service allow it to yank a site off its service without cause. ... Amazon did not reply to queries on Monday ... nor did it respond to follow-up questions today.

Nick Farrell is pleased with his "Hey you, get off of my cloud" gag:

It seems that the US government is not too happy ... and has been putting a lot of pressure on the website. ... US Senator Joe Lieberman, the chairman of the House Security Committee ... said that he wished Amazon had booted Wikileaks off its cloud a lot quicker. ... [and] that Amazon's censorship should set the standard for other companies WikiLeaks is using to distribute its "illegally seized" material.


Wikileaks is now hosted at servers in France and Sweden ... which presumably are out of the immediate reach of the US government.

Rachel Slajda has more on the Droopy Lieberman connection:

 Senate Homeland Security Committee ... staff had seen news reports yesterday that Wikileaks was being hosted on Amazon's servers. ... Staffers then ... called Amazon to ask about it, and left questions with a press secretary including, "Are there plans to take the site down?"


Lieberman, in his statement today, called on "any other company or organization that is hosting Wikileaks to immediately terminate its relationship with them."

Rob Beschizza is not a happy bunny:

Amazon is a private company and is free to host what it likes.


Funny how Amazon spent days loudly refusing to delete a pedophile guidebook on free speech grounds, but this happened behind the scenes and the company is refusing to comment. Must be the Joementum.

The anonymous tweeps behind @WikiLeaks tweeted their disappointment:

WikiLeaks servers at Amazon ousted. Free speech the land of the free--fine our $ are now spent to employ people in Europe.


If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books.

But, aside from the political implications, Charles Arthur reckons there's nothing to see here:

[This] will have little effect on the distribution of the files containing the embarrassing diplomatic cables.


The file is now being distributed as a Bittorrent download. ... The "cablegate" file containing the diplomatic files is already widely distributed via Bittorrent ... that they will be accessible, and downloadable, even if Wikileaks is not.

UPDATE: Amazon Web Services denies political pressure:

There have been reports that a government inquiry prompted us not to serve WikiLeaks any longer. That is inaccurate.


Amazon Web Services (AWS) ... does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of service that must be followed. WikiLeaks was not following them. ... Our terms of service state that “you represent and warrant that you ... control all of the rights to the content ... and will not cause injury to any person or entity.”


And Finally...

Awesome kinetic typography: "Shop Vac" 
[hat tip: Andy Baio]

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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