ISP shuts down Wikileaks mirror over complaints from upstream provider

From EFF, a disturbing story about a customer of SiteGround, an ISP, who had his account suspended and was forced to remove a mirror of the Wikileaks Cablegate archive because SoftLayer, the ISP that provides SiteGround with its bandwidth, objected. Imagine a future in which your ability to host a website depends on not upsetting your ISP, its upstream provider, the provider upstream of that, and so on, all the way up to some giant tier-one telco like AT&T.

SiteGround told the user that he would need to update his antivirus measures and get rid of the folder containing the Wikileaks cables to re-enable his account. When the user asked why it was necessary to remove the Wikileaks folder, SiteGround sent him to SoftLayer. The user asked SoftLayer about the problem, but the company refused to discuss it with him because he isn't a SoftLayer customer. Finally, SiteGround told the user that SoftLayer wanted the mirror taken down because it was worried about the potential for distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks. When the user pointed out that no attack had actually happened, and that this rationale could let the company use hypothetical future events to take down any site, SiteGround said that it was suspending the account because a future DDOS attack might violate its terms of use.

If this sounds like a lame excuse, that's because it is a lame excuse. It's incredibly disappointing to see more service providers cutting off customers simply because they decide (or fear) that content is too volatile or unpopular to host. And the runaround that this user received from his host and its upstream provider demonstrates the broader problems with the lack of any real transparency or process around such important decisions.

Wikileaks Mirror Taken Down: Host Buckles Under Demands from Upstream Provider