Amazon Shouldn't Have Shut Down WikiLeaks
Let me first say I don't know the impact of Julian Assange's constant publishing of secret documents. Of course, I don't know the impact of the New York Times or the Guardian reporting on the materials he releases. Maybe he's put people in danger, maybe he's making the world a better place. But I do know he hasn't been charged with a crime yet (other than the unrelated questioning about his sexual activities with two Swedish women).
WikiLeaks, in case you missed it, publishes these secret documents on the web for anyone to read -- not just the established media or the For Your Eyes Only government officials the documents were intended for. They've been hosted on Amazon's EC2 (Elastic Cloud Computing) servers, just like lots of other companies, big and small.
Amazon decided to cut off WikiLeaks account yesterday without comment. Apparently they were getting phone calls from Senator Joe Lieberman (yeah, that Joe Lieberman) who happens to be the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Now, I wouldn't want to be in Amazon's shoes, but, my basic opinion is that if WikiLeaks hasn't been charged with a crime, then Amazon shouldn't turn off the account. Granted, the entire cloud has come under Denial of Service attacks, and there could be other, legitimate reasons for Amazon to shut off the site, but they should give that good reason.
The Internet isn't the Wild West -- it's a big infrastructure that a few very large corporations control. It's built on trust that, so long as we aren't breaking any laws, that everything is left up to technology and not politics.
As more of our businesses rely on the few, large cloud companies like Amazon, Google and Rackspace, the more important it is to know that my website won't be at risk of being shut down because a senator gets a bee up his butt and makes a threatening phone call.
Use due process -- issue warrants and injunctions. But intimidation and arbitrary corporate decisions sounds like a threat to our national security, and therefore democracy in this country, even if that's what you say you're trying to protect.