Trois: The documents in question, which might have been quickly forgotten alongside the 1.2 million others on the site, are now hotter than the Paris Hilton sex video. Dozens of mirror sites have sprung up, and Cryptome.org and PirateBay have squirreled away copies of the docs for any interested parties.
Oh, and by the way, the judge's order failed to shut down the site. The IP numbers (18.104.22.168) still work, as do its Belgian and Christmas Island domains. Or they would, only last time I checked the sites were overwhelmed with traffic from people with a sudden keen interest in Cayman Islands banking.
It's a fascinating study in how the courts and high-powered corporations still manage to shoot themselves in the feet when they try to manipulate the Net. (Remember: The Internet is not a dump truck, it's a series of tubes.) But it's also an illustration of why things like NSA wiretaps and efforts to throttle network traffic must be opposed.
Tap the Net backbone, and you make it much harder to post documents to places like WikiLeaks anonymously. (If you think those taps will only be used to identify terrorists, you're living in a fantasy world.) Suddenly the planet becomes a lot more dangerous for whistle blowers.
But this story also touches on both telecom immunity and Net neutrality. Say you're an AT&T employee who wants to post evidence revealing how the company deployed illegal wire taps. What's to keep your friendly telecom provider from killing those bits before they ever reach their destination? This is the kind of thing that will happen when ISPs are asked to become traffic cops, as the recording and movie industries have proposed.
As crypto-wonk Bruce Schneier has eloquently stated, this ain't about security, it's about control. Corporations and governments have an insatiable appetite for it. But I think we're all better off when they go hungry.
Would you leak your docs if you thought the NSA was listening? Spout off below or e-mail me here. Top tipsters qualify for cool swag and, yes, I will keep your identities confidential.