( – promoted by buhdydharma )
Here comes the cavalry:
San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California (ACLU-Northern California) Tuesday filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit where a federal judge ordered the disabling of one of the domain names associated with “Wikileaks,” a website designed to give whistleblowers a forum for posting materials of public concern.
For those who may be unfamiliar with this case: the Swiss bank Julius Baer sued the whistleblower site Wikileaks and its Internet host Dynadot to remove documents related to the bank’s alleged money laundering activities in the Cayman Islands.
In a highly unusual ruling, the District Court, per a secret agreement between Dynadot and Julius Baer, granted the bank’s motion for a permanent injunction to both disable the Wikileak’s domain name and prevent its transfer to another registrar. The Court also ordered Dynadot to divulge all of Wikileak’s private client information and ruled it illegal for anyone (apparently anywhere in the world) to link to the documents at issue.
Indeed, what makes this case even more unusual is that Wikileaks was informed of the bank’s motion by email only hours before the hearing, and when a Wikileaks attorney showed up informally to find out what was going on, she was ordered to leave the courtroom.
The court’s injunction has far reaching implications for free speech on the Internet, because if allowed to stand, it means that anyone who doesn’t like what you post on the Internet can simply sue your host to shut you down.
From the EFF press release:
“Dynadot’s private agreement to disable access to its customer’s domain name — and the court’s endorsement of that agreement — raise serious First Amendment concerns,” EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. “This unwarranted injunction should remind everyone who hosts critical information on the Web that such information may only remain accessible as long as your service provider or registrar is willing to stand up for you against obviously overreaching legal attacks.”
Fortunately, groups like EFF and the ACLU understand the dangers injunctions like this pose to free speech on the internet, and are now bringing their formidable legal muscle to this important front in the ongoing battle to preserve and strengthen our online rights.
Update: Thanks for the bump, Buhdy!