ACLU & EFF Intervene in Wikileaks Case

( – 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.

For more on this case, see Valtin’s excellent essay (also check out the comments) as well as this summary over at Wired.

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.

Stay tuned….

Update: Thanks for the bump, Buhdy!

6 comments

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    • Night Owl on February 27, 2008 at 6:55 pm
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    to EFF and ACLU.

    They are on the front lines protecting all of us.

  1. … this is a very important story.

    And I think it links into the fact the powers that be do not want internet to remain free.

    Just yesterday there was a diary by huntsu over at Daily Kos about some dirty tricks Comcast played at a hearing about net neutrality, paying folks to come in to the meeting and cheer for them, which  meant keeping other folks out who wanted to have their say.

    We have had over seven years of a misAdministration that has affirmatively encouraged corporations to act in everything BUT the public interest.  They are arrogant now and in the above referenced diary it shows they don’t even bother hiding their egregious behavior.

    I think this war will have many fronts.

    • documel on February 27, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    They seem to be the only ones left that have read the constitution and are willing to fight for it.  Please send them a donation every month–show them the love they have earned.

    • OPOL on February 28, 2008 at 12:48 am

    they (the right wing) always blame others for that which they themselves are guilty of…Islamo-Fascism anyone?

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