Amazon claims that Wikileaks doesn't have rights in the leaked material, and hence was in violation of its terms of service. Here's its statement:
There have been reports that a government inquiry prompted us not to serve WikiLeaks any longer. That is inaccurate.
There have also been reports that it was prompted by massive DDOS attacks. That too is inaccurate. There were indeed large-scale DDOS attacks, but they were successfully defended against.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) rents computer infrastructure on a self-service basis. AWS does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of service that must be followed. WikiLeaks was not following them. There were several parts they were violating. For example, our terms of service state that "you represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content... that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity." It's clear that WikiLeaks doesn't own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content. Further, it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren't putting innocent people in jeopardy. Human rights organizations have in fact written to WikiLeaks asking them to exercise caution and not release the names or identities of human rights defenders who might be persecuted by their governments.
We've been running AWS for over four years and have hundreds of thousands of customers storing all kinds of data on AWS. Some of this data is controversial, and that's perfectly fine. But, when companies or people go about securing and storing large quantities of data that isn't rightfully theirs, and publishing this data without ensuring it won't injure others, it's a violation of our terms of service, and folks need to go operate elsewhere.
We look forward to continuing to serve our AWS customers and are excited about several new things we have coming your way in the next few months.
-- Amazon Web Services
Does this add up? Amazon just happened to take an interest in the intellectual property status of government documents after being called by the same U.S. Senator who another company reports was explicitly demanding the removal of Wikileaks material? A Senator who was able to make a public statement about Amazon's removal of the material, as the removal occurred?
Doesn't this affect Kindle editions of everyone who has run some of this content? Aren't a significant number of books at Amazon
also in violation of this rights problem with 'state secrets
Books about Wikileaks and these events will soon appear: will Amazon refuse to sell those which include text from the cables? Indeed, is it even the case that the government has the rights Amazon speaks of? According to the Copyright Act, Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government:
there is no state copyright in documents made by government employees. They belong to you.
Even if Werner Vogels really was sauntering carefree through the halls of Seattle singing "Doo de doo de doo OH MY GOD LOOK AT THAT RIGHTS ISSUE
," it's funny that this reasoning -- no-one has the rights to publish the government's secrets -- is only a little less creepy than the acquiescence to censorship his firm was accused of.
Bear in mind that while leaking
classified information is a crime, receiving and publishing it is not
Oddly, the same "IP rights" terms-of-service excuse was offered by another company
for removing Wikileaks-related material, even though the material on their servers were merely visualizations of data that would not fall under copyright any more than an unemployment infographic.
The fact that Amazon threw in a 'Plan B' rationale about the impossibility of redacting the documents, and marketing for forthcoming new products
-- is just a bit odd! I imagine Amazon will regret this rather ham-handed defense, even if the PR damage it suffers could never match the legislative damage that Joementum could inflict on it
for refusing to comply.
The CBC asked me to write an editorial for their package about Canadian identity and politics, timed with the 150th anniversary of the founding of the settler state on indigenous lands. They’ve assigned several writers to expand on themes in the Canadian national anthem, and my line was “We stand on guard for thee.”
Help wanted: Operations Manager (personable, resourceful, and demonstrates outstanding attention to detail); Civil Liberties Legislative Counsel (advocacy, public speaking, blogging and other social media, media appearances and legislative and regulatory matters related to a variety of high technology public interest legal issues); 2017-19 Frank Stanton Fellowship (recent law school graduates or law students who will […]
China’s nightmarish “citizen scores” system uses your online activity, purchases, messages, and social graph to rate your creditworthiness and entitlement to services. One way your score can be plunged into negative territory is for a judge to declare you to be a bad person (mostly this happens to people said to have refused to pay […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]
The Bragi Dash Truly Wireless Smart Earphones are far more than your run of the mill Bluetooth earbuds. While the earpiece design makes these earbuds ideal for exercise and activity, and passive noise cancelling is conducive to a more serene listening experience, these buds go well beyond just playing music.First of all, they can actually […]