Wikileaks Gets Backing Of EFF, ACLU

    February 28, 2008

The whistleblowing site Wikileaks, which was ordered offline by a California court for hosting documents, related to Swiss banking group Julius Baer is receiving some legal help from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Julius Baer filed a suit in early February in federal district court against Wikileaks for hosting 14 allegedly leaked documents containing personal banking transactions of Julius Baer customers. Wikileaks domain name registrar, Dynadot was also sued. On February 15 the court issued a permanent injunction that disabled the domain name.

"Dynadot’s private agreement to disable access to its customer’s domain name — and the court’s endorsement of that agreement — raise serious First Amendment concerns," EFF Senior Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman.

"This unwarranted injunction should remind everyone who hosts critical information on the Web that such information may only remain accessible as long as your service provider or registrar is willing to stand up for you against obviously overreaching legal attacks."

Wikileaks allows third parties to post corporate and government material they believe expose corruption. In the past year documents have been posted offering proof of human rights abuses in China and political corruption in Kenya. The court order prevents users from gaining access to any material on the site.

"Julius Baer’s private dispute regarding a former employee’s alleged violation of a confidentiality agreement does not warrant this attempt to block access to all material hosted on Wikileaks," said Zimmerman.

"The First Amendment rights of readers who have a legitimate interest in the materials posted on the website simply cannot be treated as acceptable collateral damage to the bank’s claims."