Important: The WikiLeaks Situation

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1. The WikiLeaks Situation

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It is not very often we send out an all-member email blast, so when

we do, it’s usually pretty important.

First and foremost, everything is ok. Please read the information that

follows carefully but understand that we would never do anything that

we thought put our members at risk.

The Basic Background:

=====================

On Friday, Dec 6th, easyDNS was mistakenly identified in various online

channels as the DNS provider who revoked DNS Services for the controversial

website Wikileaks, and a large internet backlash ensued against us.

In fact, the Wikileaks DNS provider was a free DNS provider in New Hampshire

called “EveryDNS.net”. At some point this was mistakenly reported as

“easyDNS”, and it gathered momentum from there. The problem was compounded

on Saturday, Dec 7th when the New York Times picked up the story, also

incorrectly identifying us as the party who “unplugged” Wikileaks. The

U.K based Guardian did the same thing again on Tuesday, December 7th.

A timeline of events has been posted here:

http://easyurl.net/5119e

And our original rebuttal to the misinformation was posted here:

http://easyurl.net/a3191

easyDNS Added To WikiLeaks.ch DNS

==================================

On Sunday, Dec 5th, we were approached by a group acting on behalf of

Wikileaks and asked to provide DNS for their fallback domain WikiLeaks.ch.

We agreed to this on several conditions.

http://easyurl.net/fbbff

We did not take this decision lightly, and whichever side of the fence you

fall regarding what Wikileaks is doing, after being falsley accused of

unplugging Wikileaks and taking an enormous amount of backlash for doing

so, we felt we did not have much choice in the matter but to forge ahead and

take on this challenge.

http://easyurl.net/507d8

We actually consider this part of the situation to be well in hand.

Tonight the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail ran a story about

this bizarre sequence of events and we expect it to run in the print

edition (possibly as the cover story) on Thursday, Dec 10.

That story is here: http://easyurl.net/gandm

However, and this is large part of the motivation for this email, the Globe

story concluded with the following quotation, which we feel sends the wrong

message, as I mispoke when I said the following:

“Our lawyers have basically told us that if they want to shut us down

they’ll show up with an injunction and we’ll have to follow it and then

try and have it overturned later,”

This may connote that we think we, as a company, may be shut down. We do NOT

think this is going to happen at all.

What I meant to convey in the quote is:

“If they want US (easyDNS) to shut THEM (WikiLeaks) down, they’ll show up

with an injunction, and we’ll have to follow it, etc etc”.

And if that happened, we would be terminating service to wikileaks alone.

Further information about this clarification is here:

http://easyurl.net/gm2

We wanted to let you know as an easyDNS member, that we are taking every

measure to ensure that this situation does not disrupt the continuity of your

domain services at all.

In conclusion, we feel like we have taken the course of action that fits

with who we are as a company.

If you’ve been dealing with us for any amount of time then hopefully you know

what kind of company that is, and I also hope you agree that, regardless of

your opinion of Wikileaks itself, we are playing the hand we’ve been dealt

in accordance with who we are as a company.

In short, we think this is the right thing to do, and that is why we’re

doing it.

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If you are not already subscribed to our blog feed in your favorite RSS

reader, I suggest doing so via https://www.easydns.com/blog, or making a habit

of checking the blog for updates.

We also put out info as it happens on Twitter, http://twitter.com/easydns

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As always, if anyone has any questions or concerns regarding any of

these issues, feel free to email me or call me voice.

Thank you,

Mark Jeftovic, <markjr@easydns.com>

President & CEO, easyDNS Technologies Inc.

ph. +1.416.535.8672 ext 225

http://www.easydns.com/

44 thoughts on “Important: The WikiLeaks Situation”

  1. Nice Work !

    Please wait until the client is PROVEN guilty.

    As of now, they are not charged with ANYTHING !

    bryanhopkins

  2. Tridus says:

    Thanks for the update. It’s good to see how you’re handling this situation. :0

  3. Stephanie says:

    I just received the email this morning. To be honest, I haven’t been paying attention to the wikileaks stuff and had no idea that EasyDNS had been a victim of mistaken net identity. It’s a very unfortunate turn of events.

    I’ve been a customer here for many years, and just wanted to say, regardless of whatever comes and goes in the media, I plan to continue to be a customer here for many more years to come. The service has been impeccable; the rare occasion when I’ve called for support I’ve always got right through to a person, and they’ve always been able to resolve things immediately for me.

    I’ve been recommending EasyDNS to anyone who’s asked me what registrar & dns firm I use, and will continue to do so.

  4. Lisa says:

    You’ve handled a delicate situation well. I appreciate your communication and your down to earth and honest style. I hope that Wikileaks is not shut down and continues their fight for the truth.

  5. Joe says:

    This was the right decision, don’t let anyone convince you your doing something wrong!

    Keep up the great work, what I nice end to this story.

  6. Andy Konecny says:

    Instead of “Thursday, Dec 10.”, I think you mean “Thursday, Dec 9.”, unless it happens to come out “Friday Dec 10th”

    I am glad that this little typo / facts oops isn’t likely to cause anyone any loss of sleep like the one at the beginning of this all.

    • Mark Jeftovic says:

      Yeah, the dates are all over the place in that mailout. I was totally wiped, I realized it when it was about 2/3 of the way through and I didn’t want to resend it all out again.

  7. Jon says:

    Thanks for the e-mailed notice — good to know, and very professional of you to keep us informed. As a U.S. domain owner, I respect easyDNS’s handling of this…

    I chose easydns back when, because they offered the best value and reliability. I never considered that it would put my domain on the wrong side of some national cyber-warfare situation. (I expected such a thing as that would come from secret Chinese cyber-agents, anyway, not wikileaks…gosh, I hope they haven’t joined forces!) I wonder, if easydns was based in the U.S. — perhaps in Berkeley, CA, or Amherst, MA — if they would make any different choices regarding wikileaks…maybe not. Well, as long as they follow the law, I don’t really blame easydns for what it is doing. Like Batman, I think they are doing it partly because ‘no one else can’. They are better prepared to handle denial of service attacks than most DNS providers, they were already embroiled in this situation, and maybe they want to test their mettle. As for the wikileaks people themselves, I think they are criminals. It probably is a crime of espionage against the U.S. to knowingly disseminate information, known to be illegally obtained, that harms U.S. security and foreign policy, and it sure looks like that’s what they’ve done. Each DOS attack by their supporters is also surely a crime. And if the authorities shut down wikileaks, I am fine with that, too, but it is the responsibility of the authorities to do so — and to issue clearer guidance to ISP’s on what will be considered collaboration with wikileaks, punishable by prosecution. But I don’t blame easydns for what they are doing, so far, especially since (1) there is no ‘clear and present danger’ that providing DNS service to wikileaks.ch will result in thousands of people dying in a terrorist attack tomorrow, (2) the law and the official positions of the authorities and public opinion are very muddy on this issue, and (3) as a Canadian company, they are even less responsible for proactively enforcing U.S. interests, and have as much responsibility to uphold the rights of other parties and countries.

    The biggest responsibility in this whole affair is what is getting the least press: Who in the hell was responsible for building an IT system that could allow an army private to rapidly download and steal decades of classified information from many departments, and without anyone knowing about it?! Their head(s) should be on the chopping block, but I hear almost nothing about that.

  8. I’ve been a customer for almost ten years, and have seen many DDoS attacks first hand.

    If you *had* been the ones to pull wikileaks’ service under pressure from world governments, I probably would have let my domains expire and transferred them somewhere else. Since you’re on the side of the good guys here, you have my business for life.

  9. Colin says:

    Thanks for what you’re doing. I’m proud to be a customer (although I wish to remain anonymous here). I knew I liked your company and it’s ethics, but didn’t know just how much.

  10. Matt says:

    I’ve been using EasyDNS for about 8 months now. In that time I’ve never had any issues that have needed resolving. Nor have I had a chance to experience any customer service. My experience has been good, but nothing has jumped out and made me say “wow I need to recommend these guys to everyone I use,” that is until now.

    It’s good to see EasyDNS going forth and not letting politics get in the way of hosting a website, or at the very least running a business. It also shows that EasyDNS isn’t afraid to roll up the sleeves when the going gets tough.

    I’m going to recommend to everyone I know that EasyDNS is one of those hosts that can be relied on even when the crap hits the fan.

    Kudos to Mark and the EasyDNS team. I’m sure this was a hard decision to make, but I think it was the right one.

  11. David says:

    Looks like I will be the only one to leave a negative comment. I think it’s poor judgement for EasyDNS to take on WikiLeaks. The updates and emails in which EasyDNS sent out were in my opinion, in poor taste. I’m sorry but first EasyDNS was mistakenly identified as the DNS provider and then what… EasyDNS decides to become the DNS provider for WikiLeaks??? Doesn’t make sense to me. This is such a big issue, if anyone doesn’t think that AUTHORITIES will shut down EasyDNS then you are naive. Yes, EasyDNS is putting it’s clients at risk.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Dear Sirs,

    I just read about this situation on the http://www.lewrockwell.com blog and had to tell you that your response literally brought a tear to my eye (I may be overtired but it really struck me after all the massive wussing-out that companies are doing lately). In recognition of your dedication to the cause of freedom of information, I will be bringing all my DNS business (which is not inconsiderable) to your company from now on.

    Thank you.

  13. Dave T. says:

    Applause! Although I am not a customer, I wanted to express my admiration at your choice of handling this situation. Well done!

  14. Brian says:

    Excellent! Just read about this on Wired. Now considering switching from Gandi to you guys.

  15. Christian says:

    As with David’s comment. I am very disturbed by your lack of backbone in this situation. You did have a choice and your logic does not follow based on the info you have provided. Though I do commend you for being forthright about your situation.

    I’m all for whistle blowing but I have a real problem with you condoning putting peoples lives and personal privacy at risk. Assange has said he will release the complete set of documents (unredacted) under circumstances he decides (notably personal threat) which is effectively holding many individuals as hostages. There are many words for this type of individual. Hero is not one of them.

    I used to proudly recommend EasyDNS but I can not anymore.

  16. PatriciaPearl says:

    I appreciate you. Thanks for supporting Wikileaks…they are us.

  17. Alex Borromeo says:

    I am one of those easyDNS clients who thinks taking on WikiLeaks is a very poor call in judgement.

    It is reasonable to assume that easyDNS has now made itself “more interesting” and at greater risk of being attacked. For the most part, whoever attacks easyDNS is of no concern to us customers. My concern is that taking on wikileaks has exponentially increased the risk of attack and the possibility of outage. EasyDNS has never been immune to DDOS attacks on at least 3 ocassions in years past EasyDNS has had service interruptions.

    https://www.easydns.com/blog/2010/08/19/dos-attacks-and-dns-how-to-stay-up-if-your-dns-provider-goes-down/

    Even with new technology it isn’t a 100% guarantee that you can defeat a determined DDOS attack.

    With easyDNS initial denial of involvement with wikileaks, and now coming back to actually take on wikileaks sends a very conflicting message. easyDNS said they would be “taking on the challenge”. It is our desire as a client that easyDNS didn’t take this challenge, because no matter the precautions taken, it has put us, and all easyDNS clients at increased risk.

    This is a risk with very little reward for customers.

    It may have not crossed your mind either that with the internet and DNS being a publicly accessible technology our clients are easily able to determine that easyDNS is managing their domain. We have a number of U.S. coporate clients and this can be very problematic and damaging to our relationship with them especially if they want nothing to do with wikileaks.

    How long is easyDNS going to be taking on wikileaks? If it does so indefinitely then the risks remain ever present. It will be there every day and easyDNS will have to allocate resources, manpower and time to constantly guard against attack. It’s no longer business as usual and it is possible that customer service may suffer.

    Some paying customers may think this is not an issue, but when an outage occurs and their own reputations are on the line, even those who previously thought nothing of it, will no longer give easyDNS any consideration. Is easyDNS ready to face the music if service goes down and their customer’s reputations have been damaged? In this economy every client counts.

    To be prepared we are evaluating other DNS providers. Our own customers don’t care what makes things work, they only care that it just works, all the time. I am just not convinced that this was a prudent business decision. Our DNS service is in your hands. I do sincerely hope that easyDNS will not be affected and DNS requests to our domains will continue to remain online.

  18. Walking away... says:

    8+ years – I’m transfering my domains away as I type. Bad move – bad choice for customers – bad message.

  19. Daniel A says:

    I am not a current customer but have been looking for one as of recent. I think that it is great the easydns has taken on this responsibility and I will definitely keep you in mind in the near future.

    I think it is important that someone protect free speech. I know easydns has not stated that they necessarily agree with WikiLeaks, but by providing hosting you are doing the world a favour.

    I personally don’t care much for WikiLeaks myself, but if anyone bothered to read a little bit, they would realize that WikiLeaks has committed no crime (publishing leaked information is not illegal). Furthermore, WikiLeaks has taken many steps to ensure that the information leaked does not harm anyone, while still ensuring people realize what is going on. The insurance package, I believe, is their way of ensuring that all of these leaks are not lost by some strings being pulled by big corporations and governments.

    Deflecting the truth by saying it could harm the troops or others is apparently enough to make some people angry at you, easydns. Sorry you had to make such a hard decision. From the rest of us who believe in free speech still, thank-you. I hope you will continue hosting WikiLeaks until and if our government decides it is illegal (for whatever reason?), and no sooner.

  20. Robert van Mil says:

    Just wanted to say that although I am not one of your customers yet; I appreciate your stance in this matter and will certainly call on your company the next time I require domain registration services.

  21. robin says:

    Refreshingly rational!

    2011 might see us needing services in the US so we’ll be checking out your services for sure.

  22. de Paulus says:

    You guys are great, I’m not (yet) a customer, but I / We really appreciate your decision.

    Thanks for standing up and showing the World you stand behind democracy and Freedom of Speech.

    I’m sure you will lose some customers over this issue, but I’m certain you will gain even more..

    Thanks

  23. Nicole says:

    Yay EasyDNS!

    You will be getting my business from now on!!

  24. Aggy says:

    Just popping in to say I’m relieved to see at least one company with guts and foresight in this rat-race. I had not heard of easyDNS before this week, but will be proud to use your services next time I’m setting up a domain.

  25. Duncan Stutterheim says:

    I think it’s a great call doing DNS for Wikileaks. When you’re confronted with a shitstorm like this you best take advantage of the situation, which is what you’ve done. Sure, you might lose a few customers, but you might gain a few as well. The message it sends though is the important bit. It reads like this: easyDNS does not think lightly about yanking my online presence, and faced with difficulty it will stand behind me until I’ve been proven guilty. Thanks! That shows great character.

  26. Jonas Ströbele says:

    Despite not being a current customer, I wish to hereby applaud you for your decision. Your company shall be greatly rewarded for this, whether they’ll be forced to pull the plug on wikileaks in the future or not.

    If I were you, I’d expect a decent increase of international customers, especially since a lot of I.T. guys will be promoting your service. I know I will.

  27. John says:

    There comes a time when companies need to look beyond just their short term profits. It brings immense respect and admiration to the easyDNS team as they stand for what they believe in. I will recommend easyDNS to anyone who needs DNS services. Thank you for your integrity.

    (As to the previous commenter who talked about redacting, Wikileaks did invite the Pentagon to collaborate on redacting sensitive information, which they declined to do.)

  28. Tom says:

    As a customer, I am utterly relieved to find out that, not only did EasyDNS not terminate services to wikileaks, but that they are now providing them?

    I came here today to terminate my subscriptions, and now instead I am going away recommending you to my friends – Boo on the media for not fact-checking, and well done you!

  29. me says:

    Dear EasyDNS

    You are taking a well measured and smart approach. Please do not get scared by other countries laws. stick with canadian ones they are the ones you should concern yourself with. So if wikileaks has information which are not allowed to be made public in another country than this not really your concern =)

    THANK YOU!

  30. Tom Joyce says:

    I heard your interview on CBC yesterday and I can’t imagine what a nightmare all of this must have been for you. That you have chosen to support the freedom of information by hosting Wikileaks, even after all that happened, shows a degree of character that we don’t see often enough. The world would be much better off with more people and companies such as yours. Thank you.

  31. Pavitra says:

    Most excellent decision. Thanks for acting bravely.

  32. Admirable or even better, as robin said “Refreshingly rational”.

  33. anna says:

    Great decision. As this whole situation is historical I don’t think very many will ever forget decisions that some people and some companies did.

    I’m sure you’ll find out this was an excellent decision businesswise too.

  34. John D says:

    Mark,

    Thanks for your e-mail update.

    I’ve been a customer since 2001 and I think it’s very unfortunate you’ve been forced to make a call in this situation.

    Having said that, I do appreciate your honesty of informing us about it, it can’t have been a very easy call to make.

    Even though I personally don’t agree with what Wikileaks is currently doing, I have no intention of moving my domains anywhere else – you guys have been providing excellent service throughout the years and I’m hoping that will continue many years to come.

    Good luck!

  35. Graham Freeman says:

    I’ve been a happy EasyDNS customer for at least 5 years, and I look forward to the next 5. You already stood head and shoulders above my other DNS vendors, even before your exemplary handling of this situation.

    thanks as always,

    Graham

  36. Sylvain Pimpare says:

    Thanks for acting bravely and standig up for publish the truth.

    Democracy can only exist if the individuals have as much privacy as possible and the Government as little.

  37. Mark says:

    I have decided yes on easydns.org for some of my domains. Solid Company to be able to handle something like this and not take sides.

  38. Mark A. Taff says:

    Thank you. Freedom of the press and free speech cannot exist in a digital age if corporations self-censor at the slightest hint of displeasure by the government, with no due process afforded to the publisher of speaker.

  39. D. Wilson says:

    I am not a customer of yours, but I wanted to say that I support you in your decision to host wikileaks. I think it is wonderful how you’ve handled the situation and you have earned my respect.

    p.s. I’m American.

  40. Darren says:

    I think it may have been a good idea to bring on wikileaks as a customer, but plastering it out there that you are doing so is a privacy issue. If i sign up for easyDNS, is my doing so going to be sent to all the emails in your customer database? If you took on Wikileaks as a customer, you should have kept it to yourself.

    [In both cases we received approval before we said anything about it. Further, all domains moving into and off of any given nameservers are tracked on a daily basis by a number of internet websites and published for all to see. It is by definition impossible to move onto a given set of nameservers without that fact being plainly and easily visible to all.

    That said, I think the fact that we did not find it necessary to email our entire customer base about the other 120,000 domains here clearly answers that concern.]

  41. Dave says:

    Mark,

    I just wanted to say that I’m very impressed with the way that easyDNS has weathered this particularly difficult situation. While not a current easyDNS subscriber, I’ve instructed our IT department to prepare everything necessary so that our board can investigate transferring our web presence to easyDNS in the next year.

    I’ll note that the reason I’ve become such a supporter of easyDNS is not because of your decision to support WikiLeaks, but rather because of the way in which you have handled this situation, particularly as it relates to your customers. Looking at the comments above, it looks as though many of your current customers feel completely in the right lambasting you for the “ethics” behind a decision your company made. Some of these people are even walking away as a result of this decision. Apologies for turning this into a bit of a political rant, but if these people only read past the front page of the national paper, they’d notice that their credit card providers, banks and other service companies are doing a slew of ethical AND unethical things – the only difference is, they’re not being forthright and transparent about them. (e.g. for all of you with Royal Bank of Canada accounts: RBC has funded over $16 billion in tar sands developments. Please do not play the high and mighty card over Wikileaks unless you’re prepared to do so in all walks of life).

    My utmost respect for easyDNS for its approach to this situation, and of course a bit of pride to see a fellow Canadian company with such press.

  42. Richard Rehman says:

    Thank you for your support of wikileaks. Free speech is the basis of all healthy societies. Good on you guys!!

  43. Jason says:

    I just received notification yesterday that my hosting was about to expire from a competitor. You can bet yer sweet Canadian loonies that I’ll be transferring all my domains to EasyDNS. You have a new customer for life.

    Go Wikileaks!

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