The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression against government encroachment – but that doesn’t help if the censorship doesn’t come from the government.
The controversial whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, which has begun to publish a trove of over 250,000 classified diplomatic cables, found itself kicked off of Amazon’s servers earlier this week. WikiLeaks had apparently moved from a hosting platform in Sweden to the cloud hosting services available through Amazon in an attempt to ward off ongoing distributed denial of service attacks.
While it’s frustrating to think of any hosting provider cutting services to a website because it considers the content too politically volatile or controversial, it’s especially disheartening to see Amazon knuckle under to pressure from a single senator. Other Internet intermediaries should now expect to receive a phone call when some other member of Congress is unhappy with speech they are hosting. After all, it worked on Amazon.
Make sure to read the whole article. I almost didn’t even excerpt it.