[Here’s a blast from the past — RDC]: In the New York Times:
In a move that legal experts said could present a major test of First Amendment rights in the Internet era, a federal judge in San Francisco on Friday ordered the disabling of a Web site devoted to disclosing confidential information.
The site, Wikileaks.org, invites people to post leaked materials with the goal of discouraging “unethical behavior” by corporations and governments. It has posted documents said to show the rules of engagement for American troops in Iraq, a military manual for the operation of the detention center at GuantÃ¡namo Bay, Cuba, and other evidence of what it has called corporate waste and wrongdoing. . . .
On Friday, Judge Jeffrey S. White of Federal District Court in San Francisco granted a permanent injunction ordering Dynadot, the site’s domain name registrar, to disable the Wikileaks.org domain name. The order had the effect of locking the front door to the site — a largely ineffectual action that kept back doors to the site, and several copies of it, available to sophisticated Web users who knew where to look.
Very interesting. Is the fact that the remedy in the order itself was fairly ineffectual mean that the court was willing to make a pro forma but not really meaningful gesture here? Or is this the camel’s nose poking through the tent of prior restraint?
I am not a purist on this topic.
UPDATE: How far we’ve come.