WikiLeaks moves website to Switzerland
PARIS: WikiLeaks.org, the whistle-blowing website forced to move its domain name to Switzerland after its U.S. service was withdrawn, may be banned from French servers. It is "not acceptable" for servers in France to host the site, French Industry Minister Eric Besson said in a letter to the CGIET technology agency. The minister asked for measures to bar WikiLeaks from France, where it is partially hosted by Roubaix, Francebased OVH SAS.
WikiLeaks, which is releasing about 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables, began directing readers to the Swiss domain WikiLeaks.ch rather than WikiLeaks.org, it said on a Twitter feed. EveryDNS.net, a U.S. service that translates online addresses to Internet Protocol numbers to provide access, ended WikiLeaks's service at 10 p.m. New York time, its website shows, leaving the site inaccessible for several hours.
The shutdown in the U.S., which WikiLeaks confirmed, occurred because electronic attacks on the site threatened the stability of access to other clients' websites, EveryDNS said. Since it began releasing the cables on Nov. 28, WikiLeaks has faced so-called denial of service attacks, where hackers attempt to overwhelm a website with repeated requests for data.
While fully removing information on the Web is "almost impossible," repeated attacks can reduce its reach, said Stephen Wolthusen, a researcher in the Information Security Group at Royal Holloway, University of London. "What you want to present is a real website," he said. "These entry points can be, essentially, forced off the net. It becomes much less userfriendly for the average person." The Swiss Pirate Party, a political group that supports copyright and patent law changes, owns the domain name WikiLeaks.ch, which reroutes to WikiLeaks.org content, Denis Simonet, a spokesman, said. Simonet said he was unsure if WikiLeaks had also moved to Swiss servers.
The U.S., France, the U.K. and other countries have condemned the cable releases, which they say could endanger the lives of field personnel and hurt relations with allies. Besson, the French minister, today said that WikiLeaks "is endangering diplomatic relations, but also people who thought they were legitimately protected by diplomatic secrecy." U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Christopher Bond, the committee's vice chairman, asked Attorney General Eric Holder in a letter dated yesterday to prosecute the site's founder, Australianborn Julian Assange, 39, for espionage. -Bloomberg