It seems that controversial "uncensorable, anonymous whistleblowing" website wikileaks.org is now facing its first legal censorship attempt through the legal system via the shyster legal firm of Schillings, which has displayed such incompetence regarding the internet, over the Alisher Usmanov versus Craig Murray et al affair.
The wikileaks.org website, which is not based in the United Kingdom, has suffered from quite a lot of downtime recently, possibly as a result of high demand or denial of service attacks, when it published various US military documents to do with Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay .
They also seem to have recently abandoned their use of PGP encryption (their only published PGP key expired on 2nd November 2007) and their use of a Tor onion routing network hidden service, as an optional method of submission of whistleblowing documents no longer seems to work either.
Despite their technical infrastructure failures, they have managed to interest sections of the press and broadcast media with their "whistleblowing leaks".
This time, the shysters Schillings are on slightly stronger legal ground, as there appears to have been a High Court injunction against the Financial Times, but not against the Daily Telegraph regarding the publication information from a sales prospectus document for the ailing Northern Rock bank.
However, this must surely now be out of date after it expired nd the directors of Northern Rock resigned, last Friday, and following the Emergency Statement to the House of Commons by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair darling on Monday.
Will Schillings succeed in censoring wikileaks.org ? Are the whistleblowers, anlaysts and even readers of the wikileaks.org website at risk of legal sanctions ?
The excessive secrecy and failure to communicate with the general public, which surrounds the UK legal system, is itself an issue which should be of concern to bloggers and journalists.
As the wikileak.org blog which discusses, but is not associated with the wikileakS.org project says:
One of the ethical issues surrounding the leaking of documents which are subject Court injunctions, especially under the draconian UK legal system, is the secrecy which surrounds them. How are, say, bloggers, meant to magically guess that a particular document is subject to any legal restrictions ?
There is no simple way of discovering exactly what is actually injunctions or contempt of court reporting restrictions - they are not even listed on the Her Majesty's Courts Service website, or the British and Irish Legal Information Institute for instance.
We will be checking our webserver logfiles for visits from the Schillings IP address range of 126.96.36.199 to 188.8.131.52