Sunday, March 2, 2008

Update on Wikileaks

Just a quick update today. A federal judge in California has reversed his decision to restrict access to A Swiss bank that was caught up in some shady dealings is involved in a court case in California (even though the alleged dealings took place in the Cayman Islands, outside of U.S. jurisdiction.) Documents posted on the site detailed some of those dealings and were released by a former bank executive. The bank requested and got a ruling from the judge to block all public access to those leaked documents, even though they were already out there and available.

Here is a telling quote from the New York Times article.

In reversing himself at a hearing here on Friday, Judge White acknowledged that the bank’s request posed serious First Amendment questions and might constitute unjustified prior restraint. He also appeared visibly frustrated that technology might have outrun the law and that, as a result, the court might not be able to rein in information once it had been disclosed online.
Judge White ordered that the site shut down access to the site from its American portal. Too bad for the judge, the site is intentionally accessible from its many overseas sites. The whole point was to circumvent censorship efforts. Read all about it here.

It all seemed pretty pointless at the time. Kudos (I guess) to the judiciary for recognizing a pointless and potentially illegal ruling.


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