Amazon Shuts Down WikiLeaks Under U.S. Pressure
Amazon.com has plenty going on in the midst of a holiday shopping season where it's breaking its own sales records. But the e-commerce giant had to turn its attention to a national controversy this week in the form of WikiLeaks, which Amazon hosted.
WikiLeaks, a whistleblower site, released 250,000 confidential cables to the public, a move that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called an attack on America and the international community. She said the leaks are a "tear in the fabric" of responsible government and the Obama administration is taking "aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information."
Amazon pulled the plug on WikiLeaks after the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee contacted the company on Tuesday, asking for an explanation. As Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), chairman of the committee, sees it, Amazon should have taken the action earlier based on WikiLeaks' previous publication of classified material.
The Senate Speaks
"The company's decision to cut off WikiLeaks now is the right decision and should set the standard for other companies WikiLeaks is using to distribute its illegally seized material," Lieberman said. "I call on any other company or organization that is hosting WikiLeaks to immediately terminate its relationship with them."
"WikiLeaks' illegal, outrageous, and reckless acts have compromised our national security and put lives at risk around the world," he added. "No responsible company -- whether American or foreign -- should assist WikiLeaks in its efforts to disseminate these stolen materials. I will be asking Amazon about the extent of its relationship with WikiLeaks and what it and other web service providers will do in the future to ensure that their services are not used to distribute stolen, classified information."
As Lieberman indicated, this isn't the first time WikiLeaks has posted classified information. Just months ago, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen called WikiLeaks' decision to leak of tens of thousands of Afghan war documents appalling. Mullen said the military would do everything possible to avoid leaks in the future.
Corporate Data Concerns
Amazon wasn't immediately available for comment. But WikiLeaks, which had been using Amazon's Elastic Cloud Computing service, is reportedly now hosting its site on servers in Europe. WikiLeaks tweeted two comments about Amazon's decision. One tweet said, "WikiLeaks servers at Amazon ousted. Free speech the land of the free-fine our $ are now spent to employ people in Europe." Another tweet said, "If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books."
Security companies are pointing to the WikiLeaks controversy as an example of how vulnerable corporate data is.
Steve Cochran, CEO at STEALTHbits Technologies, said, "Many organizations spend the majority of their security resources on protecting their perimeter, often overlooking the most prolific threat: Insiders like the one that caused the recent government leak. Every organization has individuals that have access to data they shouldn't have access to."
Posted: 2010-12-26 @ 11:32pm PT
Shame on you Amazon!