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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another week, another asshat. . .

Presented for your consideration, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White of California. Whose attitude toward the free flow of information on teh interwebz seems cribbed from North Korea. Apparently a swiss bank is somewhat miffed at a website organized by a bunch of journalists and other activists whose primary mission is to give an anonymous platform for publicizing documents showing governmental and corporate wrongdoing in situations where the "leaker" would suffer serious reprisals. (i.e. it targets a lot of nasty regimes that could, for instance, kill you for blabbing embarrassing facts.)

So what happens when lawyers working for the Swiss banking group Julius Baer, file for an injunction to suppress the site's publication of several documents posted on the site allegedly revealing the bank was involved with money laundering and tax evasion? Why, the judge issues a permanent injunction shutting down the whole effing site, with only a couple hours notice to the sites' owner.

Now, within a few hours, someone must have pointed out to Judge White that he was not, in fact, issuing internet rulings in mainland China, and his injunction might be viewed as a tad extreme, because the permanent injunction was clarified with a temporary injunction focusing only on the documents in question.

Way to uphold the bastion of freedom. Nice to know that any tin-pot regime and corporate scumbag can get a web-site sanitized just by filing suit in California.

(But actually not, since no one can take back electrons. The site is mirrored up the wazoo all over the world, meaning the injunction is pointless and ineffective in addition to being draconian.)


RaveBomb said...

The internet routes around damage. ;)