Judge allows WikiLeaks back on the Internet: "The court does not want to be a part of any order that is not constitutional."
A federal judge on Friday allowed whistle-blower site WikiLeaks to resume operation in the United States, a week after ordering its hosting company and domain registrar to shut down and lock the renegade's site from the internet.
The judge conceded the futility of attempts to censor information, in this instance private banking information, after it has been posted to the internet.
"When this genie gets out of the bottle, it's out for all purposes," U.S. Disrict Judge Jeffrey White said after a more than 3-hour-long hearing here.
White signed an order last week that took down the WikiLeaks site and also locked "the WikiLeaks.org domain name to prevent transfer of the domain name to a different domain registrar."
WikiLeaks, a whistle-blower site publishing thousands of leaked documents, was taken offline in the United States after posting allegedly stolen documents: individuals' banking records that suggest a Cayman Islands branch of a Swiss bank was helping customers practice money laundering and tax evasion across the globe.
Dynadot -- WikiLeaks' U.S. hosting company and domain registrar based in San Mateo, California -- agreed to take down and lock the site at the behest of Julius Baer Bank and Trust. Judge White signed off on the deal last week.
The site should resume U.S. operations perhaps as early as today, according to Dynadot's attorney, Garret Murai. Its overseas servers were not affected by the litigation.
The judge heard arguments from the Bank, who said no First Amendment rights were being implicated, and from a host of media organizations who derided the judge's intitial order as an unconstitutional "prior restraint" on speech.
The judge seemed to agree with the media. About 30 minutes into the hearing, he said, the case concerned "very important issues" and that "the court does not want to be a part of any order that is not constitutional."
Dr. Rost is a pharma litigation consultant and pharmaceutical marketing expert.