Yahoo's intransigence means leading Iranian dissident site is still offline six weeks after hack attack

Ethan Zuckerman writes, "Mowjcamp, the green movement's main citizen media site, was hacked by the 'Iranian Cyber Army' the same day they hit Twitter, in mid-December 2009. Twitter was back online within two hours. Mowjcamp - despite the intervention of AccessNow and others - is still offline six weeks later, caught in an apparent dispute between Yahoo and Moniker over control of the domain. I've posted about the situation today, looking at the process of Denial of Service via bureaucracy. Danny O'Brien at EFF will be writing on Deep Links about the situation later today. Would love some help shining the light on Yahoo in particular, a founding member of the GNI (group focused on freedom of expression online), which has been unresponsive and difficult throughout the process. "

I've been in regular contact with the administrators of Mowjcamp as they've tried to regain control of their site. For six weeks, they've been getting the runaround from Yahoo! (where they'd originally registered the domain names) and Moniker (where the hackers moved control of the domain name). Yahoo has been informed that the site was illegally moved by hackers who managed to access a Yahoo Mail account and authorize a transfer to Moniker - they've told the site administrators that there's nothing they can do, and the problem's in Moniker's hands. Moniker, in turn, tells the administrators that they've responded to Yahoo, which will resolve their problem. In the meantime, the site continues to be inaccessible from the URLs by which it is most widely known. (Yes, I've contacted friends within Yahoo! So have many other well-connected friends, who've put pressure on Moniker as well. That I'm complaining in this blogpost shows just how successful we've been so far going directly to the companies involved.)

Update, Feb 3 2010: Ethan adds, " is back up! Friends at EFF were able to broker a conversation between Yahoo, Moniker, Melbourne IT and Access Now. The situation is complicated, and I'm still trying to understand the details of the resolution, but it's fantastic news that the site is back up. Special thanks to friends at Yahoo! who ended up taking the brunt of the criticism for the downtime. That wasn't fair, and was in part my fault for not understanding everyone's role in the situation. Yahoo! worked extremely hard to resolve the situation after being called out and deserve special thanks for their hard work, as does everyone who took action to get this important site back online." Yahoo!, Moniker: why is still offline 6 weeks after hack attack? (Thanks, Ethan!)


  1. Excuse my ignorance, but is there a mechanism by which the legitimate owner of the site can’t go over the heads of the two hosts and wrest control back via ICANN?

    And like I said, excuse my ignorance.

  2. For those of you eagerly awaiting my blog post — I’ve just got off a phone call with all the affected parties and I’m optimistic we’ll come up with a quick, fair solution. I’m going to hold off posting until we’ve hammered out what that might be.

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