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December 02, 2010

WikiLeaks Is Now Getting Hosted in Europe

Amid all the controversy generated by WikiLeaks posting classified diplomatic cables online, Amazon has thrown WikiLeaks off of its servers.

WikiLeaks is now being hosted by another service in Europe, according to a report from the AFP news agency.

Multiple media sources said that Amazon was put under intense political pressure to make the move.

There were numerous reports that U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, had put pressure on Amazon to stop hosting WikiLeaks.

TMCnet reported that Lieberman issued a statement on the issue in which he said, “Amazon’s decision to cut off Wikileaks now is the right decision and should set the standard for other companies Wikileaks is using to distribute its illegally seized material.”

He further urged any other service that is hosting Wikileaks “to immediately terminate its relationship with them.”

“Wikileaks' illegal, outrageous, and reckless acts have compromised our national security and put lives at risk around the world. No responsible company - whether American or foreign - should assist Wikileaks in its efforts to disseminate these stolen materials,” Lieberman said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Peter King, a Republican from New York, said in a statement carried by AFP, that, "It is unfortunate that it took Amazon five months to terminate its relationships with WikiLeaks, and only after having political pressure applied.”

"While I wish that Amazon had taken this step when US soldiers' lives were first put in danger by WikiLeaks back in July, I am heartened that the company has finally corrected its action," King added in the statement.

WikiLeaks, on Twitter feeds, criticized Amazon for not standing up for freedom of speech, AFP reports.

"Our dollars are now spent to employ people in Europe," WikiLeaks said, according to AFP. "If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the First Amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books."

There were also many media reports that WikiLeaks’ website was temporarily out of service on Wednesday, and the service has been sluggish. The site also has been the target of hackers over the last several days, according to media reports.

TMCnet has reported that governments around the world are condemning the publication of leaked diplomatic documents, after WikiLeaks started publishing what have been described as several hundred thousand classified State Department cables.

Their dissemination has not only embarrassed U.S. and foreign officials but may have put some lives and policy initiatives at risk.

The White House would not rule out the possibility of taking legal action against WikiLeaks.

At least one observer, however, says such an incident was likely given advances in technology.

In his commentary, the Economist’s Will Wilkinson said, “Just as technology has made it easier for governments and corporations to snoop ever more invasively into the private lives of individuals, it has also made it easier for individuals, working alone or together, to root through and make off with the secret files of governments and corporations.”

“WikiLeaks is simply an early manifestation of what I predict will be a more-or-less permanent feature of contemporary life, and a more-or-less permanent constraint on strategies of secret-keeping,” Wilkinson says.

Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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