Amazon says it dumped WikiLeaks because it put innocent people in jeopardy


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Amazon Inc. explained Thursday why it kicked WikiLeaks off its servers, saying it was not prompted by the U.S. government as many reports suggested.

WikiLeaks, which recently exposed troves of sensitive diplomatic cables, had been hosted by the online retailer Inc.’s servers. But on Wednesday, WikiLeaks posted on Twitter that it had been “ousted” by the Seattle company.


Amazon is best known as an online bookseller, but the company also has an internet hosting service, called Amazon Web Services, which enables institutions and individuals to make their websites accessible online.

Until now, Amazon had not responded to questions about why it chose to dump WikiLeaks. In a scathing statement, Amazon laid out why it decided to drop the website known for publishing hundreds of thousands of top-secret government documents.

“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,” Amazon said. “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.”

Some people speculated that the decision came because of inquiries by the government. Amazon called those reports “inaccurate.” Rather, Amazon said, WikiLeaks violated “several parts” of the company’s terms of service.

Amazon said that it does not pre-screen its customers and that some of its customers’ data are controversial.

“That’s perfectly fine,” the company said. “But, when companies or people go about … 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.”



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-- W.J. Hennigan