Why Shutting Down Wikileaks Will Backfire

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A federal judge in California has ordered the whistleblower website Wikileaks to go dark. But the site wasn’t taken out by the Feds— who have good reason to be upset with it for posting sensitive information about Gitmo and rendition flights—but rather a Swiss Bank that filed suit after the site posted documents suggesting that it was up to some financial hanky-panky in the Caymans. The bank may have won round one, but Wikileaks and its friends are already winning round two. The site is being mirrored in several places (see list here) and the bank’s docs are readily available as a download. I suspect that this instance of judicial overreach will be overturned and the main Wikileaks site will be back. And in the meantime, some Swiss bankers are about to get a lesson on how hard it is to stuff digital genies back into their bottles.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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