Internet Society says attacks against WikiLeaks are illegal

Takedown attempts against WikiLeaks undermine what the Internet stands for, and those responsible should be tracked down and prosecuted, says the Internet Society

Takedown attempts against WikiLeaks undermine what the Internet stands for, and those responsible should be tracked down and prosecuted, says the Internet Society, a non-profit group dedicated to the open use of the Internet.

Could Wikileaks spawn troubles for the IT industry?

In its December newsletter, ISOC says it recognizes that WikiLeaks' posting of diplomatic cables is a worry to some, but knocking the site offline is illegal.

"Unless and until appropriate laws are brought to bear to take the wikileaks.org domain down legally, technical solutions should be sought to reestablish its proper presence," ISOC says, "and appropriate actions taken to pursue and prosecute entities (if any) that acted maliciously to take it off the air."

Wikileaks has suffered distributed DoS attacks and in response supporters of WikiLeaks have launched DDoS attacks of their own against Visa, Mastercard and Amazon.com.

"The Internet Society is founded upon key principles of free expression and non discrimination that are essential to preserve the openness and utility of the Internet," ISOC writes. "We believe that this incident dramatically illustrates that those principles are currently at risk.

"Free expression should not be restricted by governmental or private controls over computer hardware or software, telecommunications infrastructure, or other essential components of the Internet."

WikiLeaks has managed to continue posting the leaked documents and fresh ones with help from mirror sites around the world.

ISOC notes that due to the very resilient design of the Internet, the attempts to keep WikiLeaks offline have failed, but they have had a negative effect on the Internet in general.

The cooperation among several organizations has ensured that the impact on the Wikileaks organizational website has not prevented all access to Wikileaks material," ISOC says. "This further underscores that the removal of a domain is an ineffective tool to suppress communication, merely serving to undermine the integrity of the global Internet and its operation."

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

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Tim Greene

Network World
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