Wikileaks Mirror Taken Down: Host Buckles Under Demands from Upstream Provider

Wikileaks isn’t the only site struggling to stay up these days because service providers are pulling their support. It appears that at least one person who wants to provide mirror access to Wikileaks documents is having the same trouble.

Recently we heard from a user who mirrored the Cablegate documents on his website. His hosting provider SiteGround suspended his account, claiming that he “severely” violated the SiteGround Terms of Use and Acceptable Use Policy. SiteGround explained that it had gotten a complaint from an upstream provider, SoftLayer, and had taken action “in order to prevent any further issues caused by the illegal activity.”

SiteGround told the user that he would need to update his antivirus measures and get rid of the folder containing the Wikileaks cables to re-enable his account. When the user asked why it was necessary to remove the Wikileaks folder, SiteGround sent him to SoftLayer. The user asked SoftLayer about the problem, but the company refused to discuss it with him because he isn’t a SoftLayer customer. Finally, SiteGround told the user that SoftLayer wanted the mirror taken down because it was worried about the potential for distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks. When the user pointed out that no attack had actually happened, and that this rationale could let the company use hypothetical future events to take down any site, SiteGround said that it was suspending the account because a future DDOS attack might violate its terms of use.

If this sounds like a lame excuse, that’s because it is a lame excuse. It’s incredibly disappointing to see more service providers cutting off customers simply because they decide (or fear) that content is too volatile or unpopular to host. And the runaround that this user received from his host and its upstream provider demonstrates the broader problems with the lack of any real transparency or process around such important decisions.

Internet intermediaries — whether directly in contract with their users or further up the chain — need to stick up for their customers, not undermine their freedom to speak online. As we’ve said before, your speech online is only as free as the weakest intermediary.

This incident shows that censorship is a slippery slope. The first victim here was Wikileaks. Now it’s a Wikileaks mirror. Will a news organization that posts cables and provides journalistic analysis be next? Or a blogger who posts links to news articles describing the cables? If intermediaries are willing to use the potential for future DDOS attacks as a reason to cut off users, they can cut off anyone for anything.

EFF urges SiteGround, SoftLayer and other service providers to champion user rights and say no to online censorship.

This article was written by Marcia Hofmann and initially published on Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Related Posts

[How to] Be Confident Storing Information in the Cloud Over the past few years, information explosion has inhibited organizations’ ability to effectively secure, manage and recover data. This complexity is...
BitMate: A BitTorrent Client for Poor Bandwidth People itTorrent is an excellent tool for sharing large files online, which is why millions of people use it every day. In developing third world countries, ...
EFF’s Guide to Protecting Electronic Devices and Data at the U.S. Border Amid recent reports that security researchers have experienced difficulties at the United States border after traveling abroad, we realized that it's ...
Tracking Protection Lists: A privacy enhancing technology that complements Do Not Track Yesterday, Microsoft released version 9 of Internet Explorer, which includes two significant new privacy features: Tracking Protection Lists (TPLs) an...
How To Stop Domain Names Being Seized By The US Government As the United States authorities continue with their domain name seizure policy, file-sharing, streaming and link site operators around the world are ...
Proposal Suggests Browsers Should Block Users From BitTorrent Sites As the United States heads off firmly down the domain seizures route, other countries around the world are also considering how best to deal with the ...

We Recommend These Vendors and Free Offers

ContainerizeThis 2016 is a free, 2-day conference for all things containers and big data. Featured, will be presentations and free, hands-on workshops. Learn more at

Launch an SSD VPS in Europe, USA, Asia & Australia on Vultr's KVM-based Cloud platform starting at $5:00/month (15 GB SSD, 768 MB of RAM).

Deploy an SSD Cloud server in 55 seconds on DigitalOcean. Built for developers and starting at $5:00/month (20 GB SSD, 512 MB of RAM).

Want to become an expert ethical hacker and penetration tester? Request your free video training course of Online Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking

Whether you're new to Linux or are a Linux guru, you can learn a lot more about the Linux kernel by requesting your free ebook of Linux Kernel In A Nutshell.


  1. Wow. I had always felt that our freedom of speech was going too far, being abused by those who had nothing truly worthwhile or constructive to say.

    Lately, I have been wondering if the pendulum is starting to swing the other way.

    Freedom of Speech, as long as it’s approved.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Wikileaks Mirror Taken Down: Host Buckles Under Demands from Upstream Provider --

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *