Whistle-blowing website Wikileaks says it won’t give in to demands to shut it down.
Wikileaks aims to expose corporate and governmental fraud and wrongdoings, allowing whistle-blowers to highlight corruption by anonymously posting documents on the site. But after claims were posted relating to a Swiss bank, the website has been ordered to close by a US court.
The bank, Julius Baer, sought an injunction to prevent claims being posted that is was involved in money laundering and tax evasion in the Cayman Islands. It has indicated that the information was prejudicial to an ongoing court case.
The court ordered the site to be taken offline and for all records of the address to be deleted from the central internet domain registry. Wikileaks' founders told The Guardian that the US court's move "breached the First Amendment rights" as it tried to hinder free speech.
A Harvard law expert agreed. "I would say my initial reaction is shock that any judge or district court would issue an injunction that would take an entire site down, because it published documents that someone else claimed it shouldn't have,” David Ardia, director of the Citizen Media Law Project at Harvard Law School, told Computerworld.com.
"It's contrary to any interpretation of First Amendment law," Ardia added.
Wikileaks remains offline, but is accessible via its IP address, 22.214.171.124. A statement on its website says that Wikileaks had been offered little or no notice about the court hearing. No Wikileaks representatives were in court when the decisions were distributed. Mirror sites hosted in India and Belgium were accessible as of this morning.
The Wikileaks.org website was founded in 2006 by dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and technologists from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa. So far, it claims to have published some 1.2 million documents.