WikiLeakS.org domain name restored - Federal Judge rescinds court orders

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The WikiLeakS.org domain name has now been restored, and seems to be working ok.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a copy of the
Order Denying Preliminary Injunction; Dissolving Permanent Injunction; and Setting Briefing and Hearing Schedule (.pdf 7 pages)

Here are a few highlights:

1. Subject Matter Jurisdiction.

[...]

Although there is no firm evidence of the United States District Court
citizenship of the named defendants, except Dynadot, during the oral argument on the pending motion, counsel for Mr. Shipton appeared and represented that the owner of the domain name wikileaks.org is a citizen of Australia and a resident of Kenya.

[...]

The Court is concerned that it may well lack subject matter jurisdiction over this matter in its entirety.1

[...]

1 Although Plaintiffs pleaded jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1350 for a "civil action by an alien for a tort committed in violation of a treaty of the United States," the Complaint does not state a cause of action under any specific treaty, and counsel for Plaintiffs conceded that the Court does not maintain jurisdiction under this alternative ground. (See Compl., ¶ 2.)

Bank Julius Baer and their lawyers Lavely & Singer consistently failed to mention to the Court the fact that the disputed documents were being published from web server(s) based in Stockholm , Sweden,

They also tried to give the false impression that the a Swiss Bank , its Cayman Islands tax haven subsidiary, and WikiLeakS.org were somehow under US jurisdiction in California, and that the US federal Court had "diversity jurisdiction".

2. Public Interest.

[...]

Although the matter of the First Amendment implications of the permanent injunction against Dynadot or the more limited preliminary injunction Plaintiffs seek against WikiLeaks has not been fully briefed, it is clear that in all but the most exceptional circumstances, an injunction restricting speech pending final resolution of the constitutional concerns is impermissible. See Proctor & Gamble Co. v. Bankers Trust Co., 78 F.3d 219, 226-27 (6th Cir. 1996).

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing freedom of speech and freedom of the press, has been upheld.

3. Efficacy of an Injunction.

The record currently before the Court indicates that even the broad injunction issued as to Dynadot had exactly the opposite effect as was intended. The private, stolen material was transmitted over the internet via mirror websites which are maintained in different countries all over the world. Further, the press generated by this Court's action increased public attention to the fact that such information was readily accessible online. The Court is not convinced that Plaintiffs have made an adequate showing that any restraining injunction in this case would serve its intended purpose. See Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart, 427 U.S. 539, 569 (1976). In addition, there is evidence in the record that "the cat is out of the bag" and the issuance of an injunction would therefore be ineffective to protect the professed privacy rights of the bank's clients.

[...]

Hopefully rich individual or corporate or Government clients will now think twice about employing the services of media vanity lawyers,
like Lavely & Singer in the USA, or Schillings in the UK, who specialise in trying to intimidate the media and individuals, when trying to cover up the scandals of minor celebrities. These lawyers now try to sell themselves as being "internet experts", but they are plainly out of their depth, and actually do more harm than good for their clients.

4. Narrowly Tailored Remedy.

[...]

Because the Court is not convinced that the existing permanent injunction is the least restrictive means to achieve Plaintiffs' goals, this additional reason counsels against maintaining the permanent injunction or issuing a preliminary injunction at this time.

The exaggerated claims made by Lavely & Singer, which the Judge initially allowed in the Temporary Restraining Order, were so over broad and catch all. that they could actually have resulted in the client Bank Julius Baer having its own private customer services internet traffic being blocked.

CONCLUSION

For the above reasons, the Court DISSOLVES the stipulated permanent injunction between Plaintiffs and Dynadot. In addition, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction and DECLINES to extend the TRO.

[...]

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Dated: February 29, 2008

JEFFREY S. WHITE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

The Judge has seen sense, when presented with the fuller picture, courtesy of the "friends of the Court" briefs by various media and civil liberties groups.

1 Comments

@ eyewitness - do you have any proof to back up your allegations about Lavely & Singer ?

About this blog

This blog here at WikiLeak.org (no "S") discusses the ethical and technical issues raised by the WikiLeakS.org project, which is trying to be a resource for whistleblower leaks, by providing "untraceable mass document leaking and analysis".

These are bold and controversial aims and claims, with both pros and cons, especially for something which crosses international boundaries and legal jurisdictions.

This blog is not part of the WikiLeakS.org project, and there really are no copies of leaked documents or files being mirrored here.

Email Contact

Please feel free to email us your views about this website or news about the issues it tries to comment on:

email: blog@WikiLeak[dot]org

Before you send an email to this address, remember that this blog is independent of the WikiLeakS.org project.

If you have confidential information that you want to share with us, please make use of our PGP public encryption key or an email account based overseas e.g. Hushmail

LeakDirectory.org

Now that the WikiLeakS.org project is defunct, so far as new whistleblower are concerned, what are the alternatives ?

The LeakDirectory.org wiki page lists links and anonymity analyses of some of the many post-wikileaks projects.

There are also links to better funded "official" whistlblowing crime or national security reporting tip off websites or mainstream media websites. These should, in theory, be even better at protecting the anonymity and security of their informants, than wikileaks, but that is not always so.

New whistleblower website operators or new potential whistleblowers should carefully evaluate the best techniques (or common mistakes) from around the world and make their personal risk assessments accordingly.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

The WikiLeakS.org Submissions web page provides some methods for sending them leaked documents, with varying degrees of anonymity and security. Anybody planning to do this for real, should also read some of the other guides and advice to political activists and dissidents:

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link: http://ht4w.co.uk

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual, by Irish NGO Frontline Defenders.

Everyone’s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide (.pdf - 31 pages), by the Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics by Human Rights Watch.

A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc - 62 pages), by experienced UK direct action political activists

Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress & Tor - useful step by step guide with software configuration screenshots by Ethan Zuckerman at Global Voices Advocacy. (updated March 10th 2009 with the latest Tor / Vidalia bundle details)

WikiLeakS Links

The WikiLeakS.org Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

WikiLeakS Twitter feeds

The WikiLeakS.org website does not stay online all of the time, especially when there is a surge of traffic caused by mainstream media coverage of a particularly newsworthy leak.

Recently, they have been using their new Twitter feeds, to selectively publicise leaked documents to the media, and also to report on the status of routing or traffic congestion problems affecting the main website in Stockholm, Sweden.

N.B.the words "security" or "anonymity" and "Twitter" are mutually exclusive:

WikiLeakS.org Twitter feed via SSL encrypted session: https://twitter.com/wikileaks

WikiLeakS.org unencrypted Twitter feed http://twitter.com/wikileaks

Internet Censorship

OpenNet Initiative - researches and measures the extent of actual state level censorship of the internet. Features a blocked web URL checker and censorship map.

Temporary Autonomous Zone

Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZ) by Hakim Bey (Peter Lambourn Wilson)

Cyberpunk author William Gibson

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us, UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

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FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond

Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

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Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

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Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

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Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

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Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

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Wikileaks.org - the controversial "uncensorable, anonymous whistleblowing" website based currently in Sweden.

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