It seems that Wikileaks’ California-based DNS host Dynadot has received a PATRIOT Act production order for information relating to founder Julian Assange. And it has complied.
Earlier today, Wikileaks Tweeted this message:
The PATRIOT Act was brought in by the the US Congress in October 2001, in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The acronym stands for: (Uniting and Strengthening America by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.
Among other things, the act reduces the restrictions on law enforcement agencies’ powers to search telephone and e-mail communications, as well as other private records.
Whilst the Act was signed and passed initially by George W. Bush, in May this year Barack Obama signed a 4-year extension, minutes before the deadline was due to expire. The extension meant that roving wiretaps, court-ordered searches of business records and surveillance of non-American “lone wolf” suspects without confirmed ties to terrorist groups were still legal.
It’s not clear exactly what information was requested, but given that it’s for the grand jury, it seems that they are trying to determine whether there is enough evidence for an actual trial.
Dynadot is responsible for associating domain names (such as Wikileaks.org), with their corresponding real system names, otherwise known as IP addresses. And last December, it was reported that Dynadot was facing increasing pressure – both to keep the domain name up and to take it down. Founder and president Todd Han told Domain Name Wire at the time:
“Yes, wikileaks.org is still registered at Dynadot. As you can tell from the whois lookup, we have taken no action against the domain. And yes we are experiencing significant pressure regarding the domain, both to keep it up and to take it down.”
Last year, Amazon removed Wikileaks from its hosting services, whilst Everydns also removed the site after a series of DDOS attacks. However, the domain name WikiLeaks.org has thus far remained with DynaDot.
Julian Assange is currently on bail in the UK, waiting to discover if he will be extradited to Sweden over rape claims.