WikiLeaks to buy boat, move servers offshore to avoid prosecution

By on February 1, 2012, 4:00 PM

Investors for WikiLeaks are reportedly in the process of purchasing a boat that would be used to move the site’s servers offshore in an attempt to avoid prosecution from law enforcement in the United States. Multiple sources within the hacking community have told FoxNews.com that those backing founder Julian Assange have been working behind the scenes to move the servers to international waters where they would fall under maritime law.

According to the report, once you are a certain distance away from land, you’re then dealing with maritime law. Assange has been under the microscope of US law enforcement after WikiLeaks released classified military and State Department files.

FoxNews.com points to one possible location known as the Principality of Sealand, described as a rusty, World War II-era, former anti-aircraft platform off the coast of England in the North Sea. A 1968 court ruling proclaimed that this area was outside of the jurisdiction of the UK which, although not a boat, could provide a potential safe haven for Assange and company.

Sealand played host to HavenCo, an anything-goes Internet host, until 2008. Self-appointed Prince Michael Bates told FoxNews via email that the location is currently hosting another company’s websites via satellite and Wi-Fi connections, although these claims weren’t able to be verified.

But there are some, however, that believe a server move alone wouldn’t garner the desired outcome. Jim Dempsey, vice president for public policy with the Washington, D.C., think tank Center for Democracy and Technology, said that moving the servers offshore wouldn’t do any good unless the people running WikiLeaks also relocated offshore.

“Where the data resides isn’t what determines jurisdiction,” Dempsey said. “You prosecute real people, you don’t prosecute servers. So if the WikiLeaks people want to live on a platform in the North Sea and educate their children there ... for people who have lives, that doesn’t make sense.”




User Comments: 21

Got something to say? Post a comment
captainawesome captainawesome said:

I'm on a boat (I'm on a boat)

I'm on a boat (I'm on a boat)

Everybody look at me 'cause I'm sailing on a boat (sailing on a boat)

I'm on a boat (I'm on a boat)

I'm on a boat

Take a good hard look at the motherf@#ing boat (boat, yeah)

Credit <before I get SOPA'd> :Lonely Island

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avaSdC0QOUM

chuckmeister said:

I see potential "icebergs" in their future

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

chuckmeister said:

I see potential "icebergs" in their future

Big black submarine shaped icebergs...

pixelstuff pixelstuff said:

So if someone in a boat off shore, under maritime law, decided to launch a few missiles into U.S. citizens, should they really expect not to be sunk? Similarly if another boat launches a digital attack at U.S. citizens, should they also expect not to be sunk?

I must be missing some piece of information in the investor's logic.

ikesmasher said:

captainawesome said:

I'm on a boat (I'm on a boat)

I'm on a boat (I'm on a boat)

Everybody look at me 'cause I'm sailing on a boat (sailing on a boat)

I'm on a boat (I'm on a boat)

I'm on a boat

Take a good hard look at the motherf@#ing boat (boat, yeah)

Credit <before I get SOPA'd> :Lonely Island

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avaSdC0QOUM

What a lovely contribution to this discussion. I now feel smarter after reading this.

RH00D RH00D said:

pixelstuff said:

So if someone in a boat off shore, under maritime law, decided to launch a few missiles into U.S. citizens, should they really expect not to be sunk? Similarly if another boat launches a digital attack at U.S. citizens, should they also expect not to be sunk?

I must be missing some piece of information in the investor's logic.

I think there might be a very small difference between exposing documents and mass-murdering U.S. citizens with missiles. Just a small difference.

Lurker101 said:

Dempsey said:

"You prosecute real people, you don't prosecute servers.

No, you just seize the servers and take everything down whilst arresting the people behind it, long before any judicial verdict has been declared, effectively assuming guilty until proven innocent.

Mindwraith said:

pixelstuff said:

So if someone in a boat off shore, under maritime law, decided to launch a few missiles into U.S. citizens, should they really expect not to be sunk? Similarly if another boat launches a digital attack at U.S. citizens, should they also expect not to be sunk?

I must be missing some piece of information in the investor's logic.

There's a difference between maritime law and crazy ass-face do whatever you want on planet bonkers law.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Julian will henceforth be known as "The Cap'n"

fimbles fimbles said:

Sealand has been invaded before. In international waters no one can hear you scream....

Emexrulsier said:

True you prosecute ppl but you can't prosecute ppl without evidence. You need physical evidence of which they wouldn't have access to because its offshore effectively your own country you can deny them any access create a new law to shoot on site.

Gamesinner said:

Who needs evidence when there was a horrible ship wreck at see. lol

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Techspot, Keep this thread open for as long as you have money to host it, that is the single greatest first comment on a story like this I have ever witnessed

tonylukac said:

Pirates, pirates. Anyone haunted by pirates?

TJGeezer said:

ikesmasher said:

captainawesome said:

I'm on a boat (I'm on a boat)

I'm on a boat (I'm on a boat)

...

Credit <before I get SOPA'd> :Lonely Island

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avaSdC0QOUM

What a lovely contribution to this discussion. I now feel smarter after reading this.

Did it improve your sense of humor too? Because @ikesmasher certainly got a smile from me. As have many of the WikiLeaks releases.

If it's a serious comment you want, I'll just say that any government with a passion for secrecy - even to the point of reclassifying old, declassified documents, as the U.S. has done - has hidden entirely too much from its own people. In such a clear case of government vs. the people, not of the people, what does a political hierarchy *think* will happen to its own legitiimacy? Go WikiLeaks! They perform a genuine public service.

Tygerstrike said:

Even if they move their servers, it still wont stop any current charges from going through. They prolly dont need those servers for evidence. They have all they need already. They couldnt have gotten as far as they have w/o evidence. I can imagine tho what the US Navy is going to do once they are in international waters. A small "accident" on one of the battleships and a F-14 fighter plane falls on Sealand lol.

Guest said:

metal gear solid 4 anyone?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Let's all chip in and buy Julian Assange a yacht. That's the best idea ever.....!

unloco101 said:

In all honesty.. if they are going to charge him, does it really matter if they have his servers in custody? they could bring a 3g ipad to the trial? Exibit A: iPad showing said website. Exibit B: Click said link on said web page to display stuff that is bad.

Its really a poor decision to move the servers off shore, aside from all the funny submarine, missle attacks, and the "three hour tour" the servers make it to Assanges island (Gilligans) I can think of. Physically storing (assuming the only copy) media and computer hardware miles off shore is an information security disaster waiting to happen. Storms, waves, fires, pirates, treasure hunters, looters, its all free game out there and unless you have a dedicated response team and armed guards...

Unless there is a backup on land which invalidates the plans all-together. Maybe hes using iCloud or Dropbox

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