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Taking a principled stand on Wikileaks


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Taking a principled stand on Wikileaks
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:41 am EST, Dec  9, 2010

I've changed by profile picture to support EFF's anti-censorship campaign, and I have donated $100 to their cause. This is a protest and I urge you to participate. We are protesting the use of political pressure by American politicians to shut down a website.

If you believe in due process of law and the right to freedom of expression you should join us in taking a stand. It is important that we take a stand right now.

It doesn't matter whether or not you support what Wikileaks is doing. If I were handed such a rich trove of private information I might have moral qualms about dumping the whole thing on the Internet. That is totally irrelevant.

In the United States of America we are a country of laws. If Wikileaks has violated a law than the appropriate way to respond to that is through the use of the legal system. In fact, like it or not, it is most likely the case that Wikileaks has not violated the law. Therefore, senior politicians in this country have taken it upon themselves to use their personal influence to shut the website down, and a number of corporations, large and small, have obliged them.

In a free country with a strong legal system and a tradition of upholding the right to freedom of speech, this sort of thing is not acceptable. Life, liberty, and property should only be taken away through due process of law and not simply because some powerful people desire it and present thin arguments in favor of it.

As The Internet Society recently stated in their newsletter:

[Wikileaks] must be subject to the same laws and policies of availability as all Internet sites. Free expression should not be restricted by governmental or private controls over computer hardware or software, telecommunications infrastructure, or other essential components of the Internet.

Unless and until appropriate laws are brought to bear to take the domain down legally, technical solutions should be sought to reestablish its proper presence...

Anger about these events runs deep. Right now, many of the companies who assisted in cutting off Wikileaks have been subjected to distributed denial of service attacks. While I share the anger of those who are launching these attacks, I cannot condone their actions, anymore than I agree with those who have advocated that the United States military launch similar attacks against Wikileaks. Two wrongs do not make a right. We're not going to solve this with packet floods.

We need to demonstrate to the political leadership of the United States that we are not just a bunch of anarchist teenagers with laptops. There are principled people in this country who believe in the rule of law and we are shocked and angered by the events that have unfolded over the past few days and some of the statements and actions of our political leadership.

We demand that the leadership of the United States respect the rule of law. If Wikileaks violates the law than let lawful processes, and only lawful processes, be used to shutter it. In a society that upholds the right to freedom of speech, and the role that the Internet has to play in the free exercise of that right, anything less is unacceptable.

Tom Cross
Atlanta, GA

Taking a principled stand on Wikileaks

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