January 12, 2011

Wikileaks UPDATES (2011-01-12): US Subpoenas Twitter Data; US Bank Leak Publication Delayed

A few notable items since my last updates:

(The image at right shows Wikileaks' backup servers and routing paths as of 2010-12-10, from from Tom's Viewpoint.)

The US Dept. of Justice has subpoenaed mass quantities of information from Twitter, including records re- Icelandic Member of Parliament and former Wikileaks volunteer, Birgitta Jonsdottir (see The Guardian). The subpoena became known only because Twitter "took the unusual step of seeking to unseal the court order so it could follow its own internal policies and notify its customers . . . that the government wanted information about them" (The NYT). Note that Twitter's "resistance," though laudable as far as it goes, does not actually amount to telling the gov't to f**k-off; rather, all they've done is notified the holders of the specific accounts named in the subpoena that they have just ten days to file a motion to block release of the subpoenaed info or otherwise resolve the matter, or Twitter will give the info up.

It's believed Facebook, Google, and others likely received similar subpoenas but opted not to resist them (see Glenn Greenwald at Salon; Fast Company).

Also note, the actual text of the subpoena suggests the US DoJ is seeking records re- anyone who's ever followed or even looked at #Wikileaks: Twitter was ordered to provide, among other things, "[a]ll records and other information relating to" "each account registered to or associated with Wikileaks" and several others, including "records of user activity for any connections made to or from [any such] Account," etc.

Glenn Greenwald notes further: "Three other points: first, the three named producers of the 'Collateral Murder' video . . . – depicting and commenting on the U.S. Apache helicopter attack on journalists and civilians in Baghdad – were Assange, Jónsdóttir, and Gongrijp. Since Gongrijp has had no connection to WikiLeaks for several months and Jónsdóttir's association has diminished substantially over time, it seems clear that they were selected due to their involvement in the release of that film. Second, the unsealing order does not name either Assange or Manning, which means either that Twitter did not request permission to notify them of the Subpoena or that they did request it by the court denied it. Finally, WikiLeaks and Assange intend to contest the subpoena served." ("Collateral Murder" video here.)

The NYT has an article here discussing the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which has, they say, failed to keep up with tech developments.

Re- Assange's "insurance file," New Statesman says per an interview of Assange by John Pilger, "[i]t is not just government that should be worried about the content of these files . . . . 'There are 504 US embassy cables on one broadcasting organisation, and there are cables on Murdoch and News Corp,'" says Assange."

US and other journalists have been very busy trying to distinguish themselves from Wikileaks while throwing it under the bus, wrongly blaming WL for indiscriminate disclosures that they themselves or others made, and then issuing belated, inconspicuous corrections. More here; see also Nancy Youssef for McClatchy.

Bloomberg reports, "WikiLeaks won’t publish documents concerning a U.S. bank immediately, founder Julian Assange said in an interview with Tribune de Genève. . . . WikiLeaks has been losing more than 600,000 Swiss francs ($622,000) a week since releasing a collection of diplomatic cables, the newspaper said." (I've been unable to locate the interview in the Tribune and have an e-mailed request in to Bloomberg about it.) (See info in the sidebar at left for how to donate; lately, Flattr seems to be the preferred means.)

Pithy News has produced a 47-second life of Assange:

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