The Swedish political Pirate Party has gone and embroiled itself in some hot news: It’s offering servers and hosting to WikiLeaks, the “whistleblowing” site that’s just published thousands of controversial secret military files on Afghanistan.
At first blush, this would seem to be a marriage made in heaven. PiratPartiet has always taken a controversial stance on Web-based content, taking the reins from the original PirateBay.com torrent-hosting site (which it officially distances itself from) and pushing for reform of the copyright rules and regulations that bind much Net activity. Meanwhile WikiLeaks sees itself as a culturally challenging source of Net-based information transparency, with the goal of making more previously shrouded information public than has ever been possible before. WikiLeaks relies on anonymous informants, and has strong protections in place so that it can’t be used to trace the identity of its sources … but such a system is never going to be 100% perfect in the Net world. The PiratePartiet’s new anonymous ISP service would seem to offer a higher degree of protection in this regard, as well as further insulating WikilLeaks from high-level legal action against its hardware by pissed-off U.S. authorities.
Given the hugely controversial nature of the Afghanistan files that WikiLeaks has just published, the aid from Piratpartiet is going to be very timely. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, while attracting all sorts of criticism about the validity of his actions in terms of endangering soldiers, has even alleged that the files contain evidence of war crimes perpetrated by U.S. forces. He’s rumored to never sleep in the same bed for more than a handful of nights in a row, and surely his stress levels must be elevated right now.
WikilLeaks is already hosted by a Swedish ISP, PRQ, and it’s stood by the site in the past despite international pressure–but we can expect a whole new level of diplomatic pressure from the U.S. on Sweden to force WikiLeaks to shutter. Hence the backup plan of using the new service from PiratPartiet. International law and the norms of Net neutrality and transparency are about to be severely tested.
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