Sep 162009
 September 16, 2009  Posted by  Court, Online

Chris Burke writes:

Wikileaks, a whistle blower website, encourages and advertises anonymous tipsters to upload confidential documents to its site. But what if that document, or a portion of that document, were privileged by a court order?

Such a scenario could be heading for a disaster with Wikileaks at the helm. Wikileaks is widely known for its fancy San Francisco lawyers working pro bono for its First Amendment rights. Certainly, there is no First Amendment right to violate a court order.

Recently in the news, Wikileaks was credited with leaking a corruption report initiated from an investigation of the Turks and Caicos Islands’ former government. Before the report was to be published, a judge in the islands ordered the corruption report redacted (edited) to protect the names of certain individuals who were named therein.

According to the Turks and Caicos governor, the report was hacked from the Turks and Caicos government website, which had published the redacted version. Evidently, some vulnerabilities in the document’s format allowed a hacker to uncover the protected text. Subsequently, Shaun Malcolm, a controversial blogger on the islands, uploaded the unredacted document to the Wikileaks website.  What makes this even more noteworthy is that Wikileaks published the unredacted document providing a summary of its origin and with a link to the court order enjoining publication of this document.

Read more on Blogcritics.

After the unredacted document was published, the now-named developers sued Google for the IPs. The court hearing is today. TCI Journal, the blog involved, has secured pro bono legal help in their defense. Stay tuned for developments on this important First Amendment case.

Update: A case management conference has been set for Jan. 12, 2010.

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