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December 03, 2010

Update: Amazon ‘Splains WikiLeaks Ouster:

From a Biz/Tech blog by Brier Dudley at the Seattle Times. It appears the statement was released sometime yesterday afternoon by Amazon Web Services. From the blog post:

”Amazon.com is finally explaining why it stopped hosting the latest batch of WikiLeaks content, saying it wasn't because of pressure from the government. The Seattle company was in a bind over the State Department files, which were moved to Amazon's self-service Web hosting service after WikiLeaks released them on Sunday. Amazon tries to take a neutral stance toward content sold and stored on its infrastructure, but it removed the WikiLeaks material after complaints were raised, including protests by Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.”

Dudley goes on to quote pretty much the entire Amazon statement, which is pretty short and to the point, mostly concerning legal issues. And, as he states, they do deny that there was any government pressure on them to pull it from their servers, but they also go on to say that, well…this:

”There have also been reports that it was prompted by massive DDOS attacks. That too is inaccurate. There were indeed large-scale DDOS attacks, but they were successfully defended against.”

The statement is linked on the blog but here it is in its entirety if you have trouble reading it there: Amazon statement.

One thing that doesn’t get mentioned is the rather large public relations hit that they took and whether or not that had any impact on their decision to throw WL under the bus. I suspect that had a lot to do with it as well. Thousands of pissed-off customers e-mailing their displeasure to the company tends to have that effect. After all, if they weren’t pressured by the guvmint and the DDOS attacks were ineffective then what was it that made them pull the plug? A sudden moment of moral clarity? Patriotism? Bad hair day?

Doubtful, but whatever the case they finally did the right thing for whatever reasons (most likely self-preservation and damage-control)

As to whether Lieberman or any other elected or non-elected official had anything to do with it, there are voices of concern about that as well. Such as in this article by Rebecca MacKinnon from the New America Foundation on CNN.com this morning.

It’s an interesting piece. You won’t agree with some of it. I didn’t, but at least she didn't defend Assange or dispute the fact that Amazon had the right to take action against WikiLeaks. It's mostly about the reasons why and concerns political intervention (Note I said "political" vs. "judicial" or "administrative." There is a distinction and Amazon is supposedly angling for some fat federal contracts) But there’s plenty of stuff there to debate about in the thread.

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posted by Genghis at 09:20 AM

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