WikiLeaks Gets Its Domain Back

Thursday, March 6, 2008 by Mistlee

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David A. Utter

WikiLeaks Gets Its Domain Back

Swiss bank Julius Baer backed off its legal efforts to thwart WikiLeaks, after a judge rescinded a prior order that took the company's domain name offline.

The court battle that erupted after WikiLeaks published information claimed to demonstrate how Julius Baer may have helped wealthy clients avoid taxes took a turn in WikiLeaks' favor.

Wired's Threat Level reported how Judge Jeffrey White rescinded the order that shutdown WikiLeaks's operations in the US. The case brought enormous publicity to the site and the purported documents, now mirrored on other WikiLeaks domains and other websites around the world.

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Complaints of prior restraint and First Amendment violations over the order to WikiLeaks domain provider Dynodot to take down the domain raged across the Internet. Wired cited White as having "second thoughts" about his previous decision, leading to the followup hearing and reversal.

"Judge White had the maturity to reverse his earlier rulings, having realized that those rulings trampled the First Amendment," WikiLeaks said in response to the decision.

The case may have come to an end. CNET's Declan McCullagh said Julius Baer voluntarily dismissed their case against WikiLeaks. Fear of a court loss and a requirement to pay attorney's fees to its opponents may have played a role.

McCullagh also cited a seemingly self-contradictory statement by Julius Baer about the documents published on WikiLeaks:

The bank had said in a statement last week: "The documents in question are protected and prohibited from unauthorized publication under U.S., California, and foreign consumer banking and privacy protection laws. The posting of confidential bank records by anonymous sources significantly harms the privacy rights of all individuals." It also added, referring to Wikileaks' summary: "Julius Baer denies the authenticity of this material and wholly rejects the serious and defamatory allegations which it contains."

Julius Baer seems to be saying yes, the documents are legit, but no, the documents WikiLeaks published is not authentic. Sounds like a fine line to balance to us.

About the Author:
David Utter is a business and technology writer for SecurityProNews and WebProNews.

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