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EFF, ACLU Intervene in Wikileaks Case

Last week a Federal judge in San Francisco “shutdown” the whistleblower site Wikileaks over a private dispute between a Cayman Islands bank and a disgruntled former employee. The former employee posted company documents to Wikileaks, which the bank claims violated a confidentiality agreement and banking laws.

Online rights group, Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU have now intervened in the lawsuit, the bank filed against the site and Dynadot, Wikileaks’ domain registrar. EFF and ACLU argue that Judge Jeffrey S. White should not have ordered the closure of the entire site — an unecessarily far-reaching move.

From the groups’ motion (pdf):

The court has entered a “permanent injunction”…even though most of the documents and other materials on the site accessed through that domain name (the “WIkileaks website”) have nothing to do with the controversy between the Plaintiffs and the Defendants.

Clearly there is a First Amendment rights question at stake here for the poster, but perhaps more important is the broader issue at stake for media consumers:

In addition to protecting the rights of those who engage in expression themselves, the First Amendment “protects the public’s interest in receiving information.” … Moreover, “prior restraints on speech and publication are the most serious and the least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights.”

Good luck EFF!

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