Court orders whistle-blower site offline in U.S.

A California court has shut down a site in the U.S. where whistle blowers could anonymously post documents

A California district court has shut down a controversial Web site in the U.S. that allows whistle blowers to post corporate and government documents online anonymously.

A site known as Wikileaks.org has been taken offline in the U.S. due to a court order from the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. However, the site remains online in other countries, including Belgium and Germany.

The order in the U.S. came after a Swiss bank, Julius Baer, earlier this month filed a complaint against the site and San Mateo, California-based Dynadot, Wikileaks' domain-name registry, for posting several hundred of the bank's documents.

Some of those documents allegedly reveal that Julius Baer was involved in offshore money laundering and tax evasion in the Cayman Islands for customers in several countries, including the U.S.

The court ordered that "Dynadot shall immediately clear and remove all DNS hosting records for the wikileaks.org domain name," according to court documents. It also said that Dynadot should prevent the domain name from resolving to the wikileaks.org Web site or any other Web site or server other than a blank park page until further notice.

A spokesman for Julius Baer could not be reached for comment Monday.

According to its Web site, the purpose of Wikileaks, founded in 2006, is to develop "an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking and public analysis."

Wikileaks has been plagued by controversy since its inception, coming under fire from institutions whose confidential documents have been posted on the site and from critics who have questioned the motives of the site's founders. Still, others have praised the site for supporting the free dissemination of information.

Wikileaks posted a press statement on its site about the U.S. order, calling it "clearly unconstitutional" and said it "exceeds its jurisdiction."

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Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service

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