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.
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.