null Gets Help from ACLU

February 28, 2008 11:07 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Several groups have come to the legal aid of after a court ordered the domain name disabled. Critics call the ruling unconstitutional.

30-Second Summary

The BBC reports that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation will argue on behalf of during a Feb. 29 court hearing.

Ann Brick, an ACLU attorney, said that “blocking access to the entire site in response to a few documents posted there completely disregards the public's right to know.” used to be the home of a wiki site that invites users to post confidential documents exposing corporate and government corruption.

But since Feb. 15, the day San Francisco Judge Jeffrey S. White ruled in favor of Julius Baer Bank and Trust and ordered Internet domain registrar Dynadot to disable the domain name, the address produces only a “server not found” message.

That, however, does not mean Wikileaks’ content has disappeared from the Internet.

Because the ruling ordered Dynadot to shut down just one domain name, it does not prevent the site from publishing its content on other Web addresses.

The site is now being hosted on, and can still be found at its original Internet Protocol address. But a temporary restraining order issued by Judge White prohibits Wikileaks and Dynadot from distributing the Julius Baer documents.

Wikileaks was not represented in the first court hearing because the identities of the site’s founders remain unknown—although the site was registered to a John Shipton in Nairobi.

In fact, anyone can anonymously register a domain, with many domain registrars offering to replace the registrant’s contact information with their own.

So long as the site complies with the rules and regulations of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, private registration is legal.

Opponents of White’s decision say that it violates the First Amendment. And Wikileaks has released a statement arguing that Julius Baer’s decision to pursue this lawsuit has drawn more attention to the confidential documents than they would have otherwise received.

Headline Link: ‘Legal Aid for Whistle-Blower Site’

Background: Judge orders Wikileaks shut down

Key Players:, Julius Baer and Jeffrey S. White
Julius Baer Bank and Trust
Judge Jeffrey S. White

Opinion & Analysis: Unconstitutional ruling and an expensive mistake

Reference: Wikis and domain registration explained

How domain registration works
Private registration

Related Topic: Who is John Shipton?


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines