Wikileaks gets ZDNet readers' support

Wikileaks gets ZDNet readers' support

Summary: ZDNet UK readers have broadly supported Wikileaks in a poll, with a majority saying the whistleblower site is right to publish confidential documents. We present the UK results of a global poll of over 11,000 ZDNet readers

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TOPICS: Government, Security
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    ZDNet UK readers thought that Wikileaks was motivated both by a desire to inform and by politics. Wikileaks editor Julian Assange, who faces extradition to Sweden for questioning on sexual molestation charges, has vowed to carry on his work.

    In Asia, over 83 percent of ZDNet readers said that Wikileaks wanted to inform, but only 28 percent thought that the organisation was driven by political motives. By contrast, 62 percent of US readers said that Wikileaks had political motivations, which tallied with China, at 61 percent.

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    UK readers felt that governments should not ban Wikileaks in order to keep sensitive documents secret. However, readers understood that governments may not wish local providers to host Wikileaks.

    A slim majority of US readers said that it was not legitimate to ban Wikileaks, but 76 percent said it was understandable for countries not to want to host Wikileaks.

    In Germany, by contrast, 79 percent of ZDNet readers did not agree that it was understandable that countries would not want to host the whistleblower site.

    At the beginning of December, Amazon stopped hosting Wikileaks on its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). US senator Joe Lieberman said that Amazon had stopped its relationship with Wikileaks after pressure from the US government, a claim that Amazon later denied.

    Payments processors also ceased business relationships with Wikileaks. A PayPal executive said in December that PayPal had stopped accepting donations to Wikileaks after pressure from the US government. MasterCard and Visa also stopped processing payments for Wikileaks donations.

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    Over 70 percent of UK readers thought that if Wikileaks is blocked by one country, an organisation in another country should host the site.

    Wikileaks lost its domain name at the beginning of December, after DNS provider EveryDNS.net pulled its DNS services. For a short space of time, Wikileaks websites could only be accessed via numerical IP addresses, until Wikileaks moved its main site to a Swiss host. As a result of Wikileaks's difficulties, hundreds of mirror sites sprang up.

    The majority of ZDNet readers around the world consistently said that Wikileaks should remain accessible by being hosted in different countries. ZDNet Germany readers were the most supportive, with 89 percent saying Wikileaks should be accessible online, while 53 percent of ZDNet Japan readers agreed. In the US, 57 percent of readers said that Wikileaks should remain accessible.

    Organisations have come under attack from pro-Wikileaks supporters. PayPal, MasterCard and Visa have all had customer-facing sites taken offline by distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

    Only a minority of readers think that DDoS is a legitimate form of protest. In the UK, 37 percent said that DDoS is legitimate. In France, 45 percent of readers believed it is legitimate to attack sites as part of a protest, while in the US the figure is 30 percent.

Topics: Government, Security

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com. He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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  • I thought the question "Do you think Wikileaks is motivated by politics?" was open to misunderstanding and ambiguity as people understand the word "politics" differently and associate either good or bad with it automatically.

    For example, if you were asking was WikiLeaks motivated by the desire for political change (i.e. more freedom and transparancy), my answer would be yes; however, if you were asking was WikiLeaks motivated by their own political bias, I'd probably say "no"; or if you were asking was WikiLeaks "[using] intrigue or strategy in obtaining any position of power or control" or "[dealing] with people in an opportunistic, manipulative, or devious way" (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/politics) I'd definitely say "no".
    authentictech