Wikileaks, the site that has infuriated the US government by releasing thousands of US diplomatic cables, is using Amazon.com Inc. servers in the U.S. to help deliver its information. The site cablegate.wikileaks.org, which WikiLeaks is using for the diplomatic documents, is linked to servers run by Amazon Web Services in Seattle, as well as to French company Octopuce. Wikileaks.org, the site’s front page, links back to Amazon servers in the U.S. and in Ireland. Several Internet watchers, reported earlier on WikiLeaks’ use of Amazon services.
Amazon didn’t respond to a request for comment. It’s not clear yet if the company is actively monitoring WikiLeaks’ use of its cloud, if it feels compelled to take any action, or if the U.S. government has exerted any pressure on Amazon to remove WikiLeaks from its servers.
But experts said it was unlikely that Amazon would face legal action for selling services to WikiLeaks. For one thing, now that the information disclosed by the site is already public, it might not be considered contraband, said Jonathan Zittrain, a professor of law and computer science at Harvard University.“If that data happens in the moment to be in the U.S., that’s really good because we have a First Amendment,” said Eben Moglen, a law professor at Columbia Law School.
But the link to WikiLeaks could cause some headaches for Amazon, given the huge political storm surrounding the latest document dump by the anti-secrecy website. One congressman has called for WikiLeaks to be designated a foreign terrorist organization. Amazon is trying to get more federal agencies to use its cloud computing services, which could make the WikiLeaks situation awkward for the e-commerce giant.
This morning, WikiLeaks tweeted that, “We are currently under another DDOS attack,” a reference to a Distributed Denial of Service attack from multiple sources. In this sort of attack, many computers generally flood a server with requests or use other techniques to prevent the server from displaying a Web page.
According to the Associated Press, the WikiLeaks site “appears to have recovered from the attack with the help of Amazon.com Inc.’s U.S.-based server-for-rent service,” adding, “Late Tuesday morning, Web traffic to the site was handled by Amazon Web Services.”