Pirate Bay team in fresh internet controversy

Two founders of The Pirate Bay are lending their secure web hosting skills to Wikileaks, a controversial website dedicated to publishing confidential information on the internet.

Pirate Bay team in fresh internet controversy

A judge in California recently ordered the domain name turned off in response to a lawsuit by a Cayman Islands-based bank which had internal documents published on the site.

The ruling forced Dynadot, the California-based company which holds the domain name, to disable the name.

However, Wikileaks remains accessible in part because the IP address is hosted by PRQ, a Swedish web-hosting firm run by Pirate Bay co-founders Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij.

According to Svartholm, PRQ has no formal relationship with Pirate Bay, but the company’s website gives some clues that its ethos echoes those of the famous file sharing site.

“We are big fans of free speech and free trade and let our customers practice those in full, within the limits of the law, irrespective of how odd, unpopular, sensational or controversial the activity may be,” says the PRQ website.

“Our contracts have no clauses which forbid offensive, insulting, or pornographic material.”

Wikileaks was founded as a site to allow whistle blowers and others to publicize unethical behavior by governments and corporations, employing the same technology of the popular Wikipedia on line encyclopedia.

It calls itself “an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking and public analysis” and currently boasts a collection of more than 1.2 million documents.

The lawsuit filed by Cayman Islands-based Julius Baer Bank and Trust requesting the domain name be shut down came after Wikileaks published documents which the site says “allegedly reveal secret Julius Baer trust structures used for asset hiding, money laundering and tax evasion.”

PRQ’s Svartholm felt the ruling had little significance in practice, saying that file sharing sites and other tactics employed by supporters of Wikileaks make it impossible to shut down the site.

“Shutting down the domain name doesn’t affect the site’s reachability,” said Svartholm.