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The Guardian Site Crashed During Assange Chat, WikiLeaks Removed From The Internet

In Health and Environment, International Econnomic Politics, Law & Regulations, Philosophy, Views, commentaries and opinions on 03.12.10 at 16:57

The British newspaper experienced a heavy spam attack Friday when they set up a live chat with Wiki-leader Julian Assange. The attackers managed to crash the whole Guardian site, but it seems like the website now is up and running again. Internet Service Providers (ISP) all around the world have started to block all links to Wikileaks from their servers.

“Pressure appears to have been applied to close the WikiLeaks domain name.”

Mark Stephens


Friday morning in Europe, WikiLeaks’ domain name system (DNS) provider based in the United StatesEveryDNS.net . pulled the virtual plug on the controversial site Wikileaks.org, meaning that it is no longer reachable at that Web address. Several other DNS providers are now doing the same, accordingly after pressure from US authorities.

DNS is a key part of the Web, which translates Internet Protocol (IP) addresses – strings of numbers – into an actual domain name, like Wikileaks.org.

“EveryDNS.net provided domain name system (DNS) services to the wikileaks.org domain name until 10 PM EST, December 2, 2010, when such services were terminated,” EveryDNS says in a statement on its website.

“As with other users of the EveryDNS.net network, this service was provided for free. The termination of services was effected pursuant to, and in accordance with, the EveryDNS.net Acceptable Use Policy.”

US government pressure on the technological side of WikiLeaks has caused the organization to be driven further into the arms of European online service providers and web hosts.

EveryDNS.net is now the third such US-based company that has pulled the virtual rug out from WikiLeaks in recent days after increased pressure from the American government.

Earlier in the week, the Seattle-based data visualization company, Tableau, which had previously provided graphs and other services to WikiLeaks, removed its data after a public request from US congressman Senator Joe Lieberman.

The US Witch Hunt

Most notably, on Wednesday, Amazon.com also removed WikiLeaks’ data from its online hosting services and said that Wikileaks’ presence violated its terms of service.

On Thursday, Senator Lieberman and two other US senators introduced a new bill, called the “Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination (SHIELD) Act.”

The bill supposed to be an amend ment to the American Espionage Act, which already forbids publishing classified information on wiretapping or American cryptography secrets.

The new law would extend this ban to human intelligence as well, “concerning the human intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government.”

Americas Most Wanted

WikiLeaks are no being chased around the world with more intensity than the hunt for Osama bin-Laden ever had.

And the whistleblowers is finding it more and more difficult to find a sever that’s willing to host them.

The DNS companies are afraid of spam attacks, capable of shutting down their whole system, if they allow access to WikiLeaks.

“You know how they work, they move around a lot,” said Mikael Viborg, the CEO of PRQ, in an interview with Deutsche Welle. “They don’t want to get caught in one place.”

Viborg added that his company prides itself on providing hosting with “100 percent anonymity.”

“It means that I don’t want to know who you are and you might want to know who I am, but when the authorities comes to us, we have no way of knowing,” he says, adding that WikiLeaks told his company who it was and that the organization, through an intermediary in Sweden, recently paid $11,000 for three months of hosting service.

A second French host, Octopuce, based in Paris, was also a Wikileaks host for approximately the last six weeks up until this week, when the WikiLeaks site sustained a decent-sized cyber attack of 10 gigabits per second.

“We are no longer hosting as of Wednesday since they had a great number increasing distributed denial of service attacks, and the latest one was too much for our infrastructure and we were forced to ask them to find another safe haven for their machines,” Benjamin Sontag, the head of Octopuce, says in an interview with Deutsche Welle.

(http://www.dw-world.de/dw/0,,266,00.html)

According to Benjamin Sontag,  WikiLeaks came to Octopuce, adding that his company currently hosts a number of high-profile French sites, including the highly respected journal, Le Monde Diplomatique.

“One of our current customers knew them and they asked us to give [WikiLeaks] some hosting and some infrastructure advice,” he says, decline to elaborate on how much WikiLeaks paid, nor what specific services they paid for.

Another one of WikiLeaks’ hosts, Jon Karlung, chairman of Bahnhof in Sweden, agree with Hoffman, saying that his company was treating WikiLeaks as any other customer. While he declined to say exactly what WikiLeaks paid for, he did say that its level of hosting and bandwidth would ordinarily cost 500 to 1,000 euros per month.

Assange Chat Scrambled

The British newspaper set up an online chat session with Julian Assange from an unknown location Friday, but just after a few minutes The Guardian’s website was bombarded with spam – enough to crash the whole site.

However, the newspapers technicians were able to get the site up and running again after not too long.

Here you’ll find the questions and answers from the chat session: (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2010/dec/03/wikileaks-julian-assange-online)

Latest from The Guardian: (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/blog/2010/dec/03/wikileaks-knocked-off-net-dns-everydns)

(For some reason, the WordPress server won’t allow me to insert these links as ordinary hyperlinks).

Gaining Support

In spite of the US (or whoever) attempt to crush WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and the organisation is rapidly getting more and more support.

“We do not shut down clients unless there are solid legal claims to do so from the appropriate authorities and in Sweden that would be the Swedish authorities and not American authorities, and not an American senator,” Karlung says, adding that his company has had no contact with a law enforcement agency concerning Wikileaks thus far.

Karlung added that he has had no contact with Julian Assange, the elusive head of WikiLeaks, except for when they spoke on the phone initially to activate WikiLeaks’ service “a few months ago.”

In the end, even if American authorities are somehow able to shut down WikiLeaks on its European servers, the organization already has significant support amongst many tech-savvy people worldwide, which continues to be able to thwart the best efforts of all governments.

“I believe the public has a right to all information, in order to make the right decisions,” added Mikael Viborg, the chief executive of the Swedish host, PRQ.

“We do live in a democracy, in some sense. And I think that everyone needs to know everything before they can form an opinion. And I think that what WikiLeaks is showing us the underbelly, the worst that governments can do. I think that people need to know this even if this information is somehow dangerous to soldiers, dangerous to national security. I still think that people need to know this. And I think that doing this with WikiLeaks, yeah sure, I’m getting paid, but this is something I believe in.”

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