[photo] Mark Jeftovic

easyDNS CEO, Career Contrarian & AntiGuru

On the Implications of providing DNS for Wikileaks

It may not have taken long for us to lose our first customer as a result of taking on DNS for wikileaks.ch (who knows if we lost any for incorrectly blamed for unplugging them in the first place). One of the support guys just relayed the following from a customer:

“With regards to easyDNS support for Wikileaks and enemies of the State and support for terrorists overseas.
He and his clients disapprove of easyDNS position and our open support of Wikileaks.”

We may be hearing more of that in the days to come.

Taking this on was for us more about vindication than it was about ideology. Having said that, I am, by nature, deeply skeptical of governments, pundits and I am quickly cultivating an intense loathing for the media. [ Just tonight the Associated Press ran a piece describing easyDNS as a web host, which we aren’t, and I haven’t spoken to anybody at AP. They, like all the other mainstream “journalists” out there, are cobbling together their stories from seemingly random tweets and blog postings. ]

So when I hear the media calling people “terrorists”, or “criminals”, (or even “rapists”), I tend to sniff hyperbole at the root of it. The media routinely whips up hysterical frenzies around things that later turn out to be non-events and utterly inconsequential (Weren’t we all supposed to be dead from swine flu by now?)

Then whenever something really big does happen, it’s as a rule, out of the blue, unprecedented and the media just run around like complete idiots blathering “this is what we know right now, this is what we know right now……(NOTHING!)”

At the same time, really big issues which deserve to be front-and-center in the public discourse are just plain out-of-bounds and nobody is even allowed to bring them up. (I’m not even going to mention what I think those are here. Maybe someday but not now.)

In their own way, Wikileaks is forcing discourse to break out of that narrow framework.

What the “powers that be” can’t tolerate about this situation is that their dirty laundry is being hung out in plain view. What I really think is happening is that a gaggle of chickens are coming home to roost.

(And to the people who are saying that these cables are a boon to terrorists, I hope you’re sitting down because there is a far worse tool out there for people with nefarious intentions to gather information: it’s called Google. Although maybe they too will be on the firing line someday. It’s hard to believe that it was only a week ago when I wrote “First They Came For the Filesharing Domains“, where I mentioned both Wikileaks and Google in this context. I had no idea at the time what as coming at us….)

15 Comments to On the Implications of providing DNS for Wikileaks

  1. brent wiese's Gravatar brent wiese
    December 7, 2010 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    i have been a client of easydns for many years. i trust that you have taken the necessary steps so that any dos attack will not effect my little website.

    and you have my full support and sympathy for all the wrong information written about your company. like you, i am disappointed with the press’ lack of fact checking. i am sorry you had to take all the bad press and lousy responses when trying to right a wrong.

    and i am unhappy about the wikileaks’ postings.

    i have been a huge supporter of the “free” press, for a long, long time. and i agree the government should not take censor what they publish (unless it REALLY will get people hurt or killed).

    but at the same time, i’m tired with groups or people who think they have the inherent right to publish anything THEY want. there is no common sense, there is no discretion, there is no respect, and there is no personal responsibility.

    if wikileaks had something we need to know, some lie exposed, or information the public needs to be aware of, then i would have no issue with them. but no, they have dumped this huge amount of stuff, and hope we find something. they dump because they feel they have the right to.

    some information between heads of state, between staff and leaders should be confidential, because it allows free expression of the writer. but when the writer knows it will be exposed to the press, public enemies, or the whole world, they will not be so candid. and now we lose efficiency of communication. so we lose a little face with this latest round with wikileaks, no big deal. but the real loss will be self censorship by writers, and that could have a huge potential impact in the future.

    if you had originally hosted wikileaks, and if the government wanted to shut you down, i would be more than happy to contribute to your cause and fight it. but that’s not the case. you actually went out to seek them and bring them into your fold. so by that, you are encouraging this irresponsibility and lack of discretion. and that bothers me.

    no, i’m not going anywhere. in fact, in a couple months i’m planning on a multi-year recommitment to easydns. that’s not going to change because of this. this is a fantastic organization, and i am loyal to it.

    but i am disappointed that you would actually go out to seek to support wikileaks self serving information dump, no matter who it hurts, or what impact it will have in the future. i don’t think that is good business.

    well that’s all i have to say about this. other than that, keep up the good work. you guys rock!

  2. December 7, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Brent,

    To clarify something: we did NOT seek out wikileaks.

    We were asked if we would take them on if they came to us and we outlined our conditions.

    Then the .ch (not .nl as originally commented) group approached us (who were being quarterbacked by a person who had previously approached easyDNS for his own domain)

  3. J's Gravatar J
    December 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    The Guardian is still reporting that easyDNS was responsible for the WL takedown. Prepare for a whole new influx of idiots?


  4. JasonG's Gravatar JasonG
    December 7, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Clearly the issue lies in what people’s definition is of “what we need to know.” Or, maybe what people’s definition is of a lie.

    There has been a huge bunch of stuff dumped. I’ve already heard two separate and unrelated stories from the mainstream media gleaned from the cable revelations. It mattered to me.

    I’ve heard many people complain that lives will be lost. That’s probably true given that we’re at war. I think it’s very much up in the air if MORE lives will be lost as a result of cablegate. Personally, I doubt it.

    At least now I know what’s really going on instead of what I’m told. To wit:


  5. Brent 's Gravatar Brent
    December 7, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    thank you for clarifying, as that does make a difference. I apologize for not fully understanding the basis of your relationship with wikileaks.

    I would like to withdraw my critiscm of your organization in my original post.

    good luck with this. I suspect this won’t get easy for a while. you have my full support.

  6. December 8, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Permalink


    I can only applaud you on sticking your neck out and having the balls to be able to host such a high profile customer. It goes to show the confidence that you have in your infrastructure, and how well you know it.

    I am not directly a customer of EasyDNS but have been a big customer of Prolexic since the early days (when they were Digidefense) and I can definitely vouch for them. They have thwarted attacks directed at some of my sites of over 10Gbps.



  7. December 8, 2010 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    I respectively disagree with brent wiese above. Wikileaks is certainly a crude instrument, but if the conventional media had been doing its job it wouldn’t be necessary.

    The fact that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was based on false pretenses, that the war in Afghanistan and now Pakistan is being pursued for dubious motives, and that the far-reaching corruption on Wall St has largely if not entirely been suppressed suggests we need rather more whistle-blowing and wholesale document dumps than less.

    Kudos to EasyDNS for hosting DNS for the Wikileaks domains. Thanks Mark!

  8. NB's Gravatar NB
    December 9, 2010 at 3:22 am | Permalink

    To easyDNS: kudos for taking on a risky but paying client.

    To the engineer, payload is protocol overhead. As you pointed out, the legal system can – and should – be used to adjudicate disputes about content. UDRP is the only part that should cover domain names.

    To the people who complain that WL just dumped a bunch of documents: It’s not a dump; just over a thousand have so far been released, piecemeal, with almost all personally identifying information heavily redacted.

    If you think no new insights or shocking relevations can be gleaned from those documents, I suggest you search out actual news coverage like The Guardian’s liveblogging or Greg Mitchell at The Nation rather than the slop shown on your television set.

  9. December 9, 2010 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Mark. I’ve stuck with easyDNS for many years because I’ve always respected the people who run it (in both technical and ethical terms), and you’ve just earned that respect all over again by taking on Wikileaks. Even if it was more about vindication than ideology, I’m glad to see you doing the right thing.

  10. December 9, 2010 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Mark et al,

    As the CEO of an Internet infrastructure engineering company, I have long been a supporter, user and recommender of EasyDNS, Your recent moves in careful and secure support of free speech are laudable and well-done.

    Thank you!

    I wanted to comment to be sure you knew you had customers who FULLY support your actions and intent.

    Well done, sir!

  11. laphroaig's Gravatar laphroaig
    December 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I agree with your actions to date. Criminals should be prosecuted by governments, not persecuted.

  12. December 9, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Just a note in regard to the “no matter who it hurts” comment: as recently as August 11, 2010, an official Pentagon spokesman (Geoff Morrell) reported to The Washington Post that, “We have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the WikiLeaks documents.”


    To date, I am unaware of any claims that the Wikileaks documents have led to ANY harm to anyone in the U.S or Afghanistan. Not even the Pentagon is claiming that.

    Recently, Wikileaks has been screening (and redacting) their documents before releasing them with the help of several news organizations, who are also publishing the documents.


    Right now, it seems like the only valid claims of “harm” relate directly to embarrassing or shameful behavior by elected officials who’d rather not be accountable to the public that elected them.

  13. michael's Gravatar michael
    December 10, 2010 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    If you lose some customers who feel that assisting wikileaks in any way is somehow despicable, rest assured that you are also winning customers who, like me, have now read and learned about your ethics and have imprinted the name of your company in our minds.

  14. Phil's Gravatar Phil
    December 10, 2010 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Mark, you’ve earned my deep respect, though I’m no customer of yours (yet 🙂

    Telling it bluntly from your side of the fence is refreshing and answers my doubts about your industry .. as a long-time website owner and 50 names to protect.

    Wikileaks has lit the world of business like a forensic black light showing all the grubbiness of big business and how they treat troublesome customers.

    Readers should also see http://datacell.com/news.php where CEO Andreas Fink says of Visa’s blocking Wikileaks donations:

    “They have no problem transferring money for other businesses such as gambling sites, pornography services and the like so why a donation to a Website which is holding up for human rights should be morally any worse than that is outside of my understanding”

    Thanks again for some courage.

  15. December 27, 2010 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    I’ve been an easydns customer since 2001 and have hosted several domains over the years including one .ch I fully support the decision to take on wikkileaks. I’m glad you’re helping, and I’m appaled VISA/mastercard/paypal.

    Good doing business with guys who have balls!

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