Wikileaks Downtime: What Happened & Why

December 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

At some point this morning, the wikileaks website, which is in the process of releasing thousands of State Department cables (electronic communications), many of which were classified, went down for a few hours. The media has been covering wikileaks – both the site itself and the information it’s releasing – extensively this week as a result of its releases.

The downtime was a result of the site’s DNS provider, everyDNS, stopping service to Wikileaks. DNS (Domain Name System) is a system that connects URLs (such as wikileaks.org or google.com) to IP adresses – the unique numerical identifier for the location of a server on the internet. In a statement on the company’s website, everyDNS stated that they gave Wikileaks 24-hour notice that they would be terminating their service to the site. The termination, everyDNS specified, was not due to a disagreement with the content or philosophy of wikileaks, but the fact that attacks on the  site were threatening the ability of the DNS provider to function properly.

The statement:

All systems are functioning normally.
First, let’s be clear, this is a difficult issue to deal with and there are opinions on all sides. Second, EveryDNS.net, the world’s largest free managed DNS provider, is not taking a position on the content hosted on the wikileaks.org or wikileaks.ch website, it is following established policies so as not to put any one EveryDNS.net user’s interests ahead of any others. Lastly, regardless of what people say about the actions of EveryDNS.net, we know this much is true – we believe in our New Hampshire state motto, Live Free or Die.

With that said:
EveryDNS.net is a free community-based service.
EveryDNS.net does not host content. The Domain Name System (DNS) service routes Internet traffic from domain names to IP addresses.
EveryDNS.net, a provider of free managed DNS services, supports nearly 500,000 websites worldwide.
At 10PM EST, on Wednesday December 1, 2010 a 24-hour termination notification email was sent to the email address associated with the wikileaks.org account. In addition to this email, notices were sent to Wikileaks via Twitter and the chat function available through the wikileaks.org website.
Any downtime of the wikileaks.org website has resulted from its failure to, with plentiful advance notice, use another DNS solution.
Yesterday, pursuant to the EveryDNS.net Acceptable Use Policy the primary DNS hosted domains were disabled. Today, also in accordance with the EveryDNS.net Acceptable Use Policy, the secondary DNS hosted domains, including wikileaks.ch, were disabled.
EveryDNS.net is not taking a position on the content hosted on the wikileaks.org or wikileaks.ch website, it is following established policies. No one EveryDNS.net user has the right to put at risk, yesterday, today or tomorrow, the service that hundreds of thousands of other websites depend on.
The original EveryDNS.net public statement is available, in full, on http://everydns.net/news

Wikileaks has apparently found a new DNS service since the downtime, because they’re back up as wikileaks.ch.

This isn’t the first time Wikileaks has had issues because of American companies stopping service. Earlier this week, Amazon took Wikileaks off of its servers in response to a request by Senator Joe Lieberman for U.S. companies to boycott the site.

While Wikileaks fights to stay online, the organization is trying to disseminate the information as much as possible via bittorrent. Visitors to the cablegate site have the option to download a torrent file of the entire site, allowing them to store it locally on their hard drive, sharing it from there with other users, never having to go through the Wikileaks website.

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