Julian Assange

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Amazon's kicks Wikileaks off its Cloud Computing Service

Amazon, after a bit of a chattypoos with Senator Joe Lieberman decided to arbvitrarily cut Wikileaks off its cloud computer services.

"Because the company apparently acted on its own, without direct order from the government, this decision is unreviewable by a court. Given what we know of the materials as they have come out to this point, there is little likelihood that an official order to remove the materials would have succeeded in surmounting the high barriers erected by first amendment doctrine in cases of prior restraint. The fact that the same effect was sought to be achieved through a public statement by an official, executed by voluntary action of a private company, suggests a deep vulnerability of the checks imposed by the first amendment in the context of a public sphere built entirely of privately-owned infrastructure."

According to an upcoming paper to be published in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review by Harvard Law Professor Yochai Benkler.

Further information can be read in the paper

Benkler, who is a faculty member at Harvard Law’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, states the same method was used to cut off WikiLeaks’ payments from Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal: "The implicit alliance, a public-private partnership between the firms that operate the infrastructure and the government that encourages them to help in its war on terror, embodied by this particularly irritating organization, was able to achieve extra-legally much more than law would have allowed the state to do by itself."

However, WikiLeaks' exile from Amazon's servers is an alertthat even private companies can be bentto governmental pressure.

Benkler doesn't argue that Lieberman's pressure on Amazon and others to jettison WikiLeaks is illegal. but allarmingly that is probvably the very reason why it calls into question the future of free speech online.

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