Venerable pirate group Razor 1911 has announced that in response to the recent attacks on Wikileaks’ hosting, it will henceforth mirror the site’s content at wikileaks.razor1911.com.
Razor 1911 joins the hundreds of groups and individuals who have given Wikileaks access to portions of their server space in an effort to protect the whistle-blowing website, which recently leaked a small portion of a vast archive of US diplomatic correspondence.
The ‘Cablegate’ affair has provoked detractors as well as supporters. The outrage over the leaks has been predictably widespread and vehement, with some going so far as to demand physical reprisals against figureheads such as Julian Assange. The Australian-born hacker and international man of mystery appeared on the Guardian website to defend the sites actions. Coming across as an arrogant and controlling individual, he nonetheless made fundamentally sound points in favour of open, democratic government and against secrecy.
The reaction has been somewhat less lucid, with commentators such as Sarah Palin, the right wing Republican icon, reported as saying that Assange is “an anti-American operative with blood on his hands”. A columnist in the Washington Times called for him to be assassinated in “the same way as other high-value terrorist targets.”
The furore has resulted in a difficult week for the main Wikileaks site, which has hopped from France, to the US, to Sweden and finally to Switzerland as hosting providers closed their doors. Amazon and PayPal have both refused to do business with the organisation, and have apparently suffered the wrath of online campaigners Anonymous for their transgressions.
Fundamentally, it seems efforts to suppress the leakers have backfired. Far from stopping the bleeding, the cable archives are now hosted in hundreds of different locations across the world and would seem to be difficult, if not impossible to take down.
For the US government and allies frantically attempting to scrape remaining credibility together and retake the moral high ground, this must be the worst of all possible outcomes. Bear in mind that Wikileaks has so far released only around 800 cables from a total of more than 250,000 classified documents. Greater mayhem may be yet to come.
For those of you with a, how shall I put this, flexible attitude to copyright, the Piracy Calculator could come in handy. Fill in how many movies, TV shows, games, music and so on you’ve ever downloaded illegally and it will spit out how much (notional) value is embedded in your ill-gotten stash.
If you are astonished at how much your accumulated 1s and 0s are supposedly worth, feel free to give something back, perhaps checking out if your favourite artist or game developer is signed up to Flattr or a similar service.