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WikiLeaks To Ship Servers To Micronation of Sealand? 350

Velcroman1 writes "Julian Assange's investors are in the process of purchasing a boat to move WikiLeaks servers offshore in an attempt to evade prosecution from U.S. law enforcement, has learned. Multiple sources within the hacker community with knowledge of day-to-day WikiLeaks activities say Assange's financial backers have been working behind the scenes on the logistics of moving the servers to international waters. One possible location: the Principality of Sealand, a rusty, World War II-era, former anti-aircraft platform off the coast of England in the North Sea. Based on a 1968 British court ruling that the facility is outside the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, Sealand's owner has declared the facility a sovereign state, or 'micro-nation.'"
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WikiLeaks To Ship Servers To Micronation of Sealand?

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  • by John.P.Jones ( 601028 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:29PM (#38879155)

    In this day of age of virtualization, cloud deployments and the like the idea of moving servers offshore being equivalent to physically moving boxes across the ocean seems absurd. You setup some new machines at the new location, sync the data across this thing called the Internet, flip a switch and then wipe the old boxes and sell off the hardware (if you ever owned it to begin with).

  • Jurisdiction? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by countertrolling ( 1585477 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:30PM (#38879165) Journal

    Anybody actually think that would stop the bombs and bullets? Please! It would only suffer the same fate as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Vietnam, Philippines, etc etc etc.

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:30PM (#38879171) Journal
    To add to your doubt, the wikipedia article for Sealand makes it sounds like a couple guys with a boat and some small arms could over take it ... so, uh, you're moving your servers to a defenseless island? Where no other nation recognizes you? Where no one will come to your aid if someone decides to just blow you out of the water? And you're planning on hosting what? Oh, sensitive information about the United States government that they consider to be a threat to national security? Yeah, good luck with that. The US will take out anybody in Pakistan (or a number of other countries) in the middle of the night if they want to, I highly doubt they'd be worried about slapping some thermite to some servers out in the middle of the ocean and calling it a day -- which government would they worry about upsetting if they did so?
  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:37PM (#38879257) Journal

    You don't even need a platoon. A Sea King helicopter would probably be sufficient. Hell, one torpedo from a British sub and the whole thing goes to the bottom. Sealand is tolerated because it's just some morons with comprehension problems. But if it starts committing acts that might be viewed as criminal, such as, say, violating the national security of the United Kingdom, then the whole farce will come to an end in short order.

  • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:39PM (#38879279) Homepage Journal
    Uhhh, but then you don't get to buy a boat to do the moving. Your suggestion interferes as much with the original goal as renting a boat. Or paying a shipping company to move the servers. These are all dead-end approaches that fail to result in someone writing off a boat purchase on her taxes and then getting to sail the boat around for the purpose of 'helping' WikiLeaks move servers.

  • Hacker Community? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cosm ( 1072588 ) < minus bsd> on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:40PM (#38879285)

    Multiple sources within the hacker community

    WTF does that even mean? I understand Fox is trying to tie the negative connotations of the modern day usage of the word hacker to WikiLeaks, but who the flying fuck is this conglomerate of the hacker community such that Fox can claim them as reputable sources, much less assume that these people speak for the community as a whole, assuming that there is a uniform grouping of people that aren't just an amoeba group of a couple people who claim to be 'hackers', and thus the whole community is now tied to WikiLeaks via Fox's shitty sourcing in the first couple sentences that catch eyes.

    Ein Volk. Ein Reich. Ein Fuhrer. Ein News Channel.

  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:52PM (#38879403)
    It's also not in international waters in any meaningful sense. The British have pretty much let it be so far because it's basically harmless, but if they start posting embarrassing secrets about the US government from there, you can bet the US will put pressure on the UK to re-assert its territorial rights over it.

    The only real way they could get into international waters these days would be to be mobile in the middle of the Pacific ocean. Even then, if they started putting out information the US considered truly dangerous, it would only be a matter of time before their floating fortress was "accidentally" sent to the bottom of the sea by a wayward torpedo.

    This whole idea is a fantasy, of course. The only way to be safe from the US shutting it down would be to host it in a country willing to stand up against the US to protect it. I don't think there are very many countries on that list.
  • by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:57PM (#38879459)

    TFA states, saliently, that where the data resides does not determine jurisdiction anyway.

    The advantage of this Sealand "strategy", if there even is one, is that the servers are removed from within the borders of a country which might choose to comply with pressure from the United States to shut an ISP down.

    It does nothing to stop said government from influencing the provider of traffic to Sealand - whomever owns the dish communicating with it, for example, whomever owns the building on which it is mounted, whomever in the UK is providing the service. It does nothing to stop the ability to prosecute the people who are breaking the laws involved.

    It doesn't move them out of reach, it just adds an extra step or two to takedown.

  • by internetcommie ( 945194 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:59PM (#38879489)
    ... that this story came from FAUX News???? Nothing about it makes any sense at all. Apart from that moving the servers to Sealand would be illogical and stupid, it would take more than one boat as they already are in many different locations. And investors who might consider buying a boat for the purpose must have so much money that it is likely they already own at least one boat that could do the job. In addition, of course, boat can be hired or rented. Somebody are trying to drum up hysteria about Wikileaks again; probably to cover up something that is really happening. NOT news, but normal operational practice for media.
  • by demachina ( 71715 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @02:06PM (#38879577)

    "I don't think there are very many countries on that list."

    Russia and China almost certainly would be on the list if Wikileaks would confine itself to only embarassing the U.S. But doing that you are trading an increasingly dictatorial police state(the U.S.) for a couple that have been there for a while. I seem to recall Putin was fairly delighted with all the state department cable leaks for exposing how duplicitous the U.S. and its allies are.

    But, I think Wikileaks is an equal opportunity embarasser of repressive states so I doubt they would partner with Russia or China.

    The real problem is you need a country that is willing to stand up to the U.S. AND isn't heading towards repressive police state itself and THOSE are sadly somewhere between vanishingly rare and non existent.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @02:22PM (#38879753) Homepage Journal

    " It does nothing to stop the ability to prosecute the people who are breaking the laws involved."

    Personally, I don't recognize that Wikileaks is breaking any laws. I'm an American, and a veteran of the US Armed Forces. But that doesn't blind me to the fact that Corporate America has been throwing their weight around, using their bought congressmen to bully the rest of the world into submission.

    Wikileaks has violated no reasonable law.

  • by sohmc ( 595388 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @02:25PM (#38879805) Journal

    Territory can be anything. You have to be able to defend your territory from other nation states, terrorists, etc.

    Put it this way: The only reason the POTUS can be president is not because the Constitution says so. It's because the force and might of the US Armed Forces that protects the Constitution gives the POTUS power. I can say I'm the President but without the military, I'm just some lunatic.

    Whether Sealand is "officially recognized" is not the point. They must be able to defend themselves from usurpers, much like the US did during the revolution. And they must be able to continually do so, less they become like some African nation that is constantly in civil unrest.

  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @02:33PM (#38879897) Homepage

    Oh, wait, that already happened? The British courts ruled that it was outside of their jurisdiction?

    It's not quite that simple. They were hauled before Crown Court when the comic opera 'nation' was outside British waters. Now, not only are they inside British waters, the finding of the Crown Court is not binding on an Admiralty Court anyhow.

    there are international laws pertaining to how territorial waters work if two nations are within 12 miles of each other.

    Since Sealand is not a signatory to any of those instruments, and is not recognized as a sovereign state by any signatory, and there is no binding decision, precedent, or principle to provide them with de jure or de facto recognition... My guess (though IANAL) is those laws don't apply.
    tl;dr version: you can't both claim to not be bound by the law *and* seeks it's protection. Not to mention that if you don't understand the difference between different types of courts and laws and their jurisdictions, you shouldn't be parroting crap you patently don't understand.

  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @02:35PM (#38879911) Homepage Journal

    I call shenanigans. The story has all the hallmarks of being manufactured.

    #1) It's from Fox News, a known organization that will lie, lie, lie, violate the law, lie some more, and then lie to cover up the law violations. Oh, and they lie.

    #2) "According to sources in the hacker community" == something I heard on Reddit. A rumor.

    #3) You don't have to physically move machines to a new host -- There's this thing called FTP I'm sure the author knows nothing about.

    #4) Wikileaks is already redundant across the globe. What would be the point of putting machines on Sealand? This is also something the author doesn't understand.

    #5) Sealand, if they were to be the sole host, like the author implies, doesn't have the bandwidth to serve Wikileaks.

  • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dlrowcidamon.> on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @02:40PM (#38879973) Homepage
    Sealand is 6 miles away from the coast of the UK, and thus lies within the UK's territorial waters. It is UK territory and best described as such.
  • by tragedy ( 27079 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @03:11PM (#38880327)

    I'm not so sure that's ironic. It's only ironic if you consider Wikileaks to be an enemy of those Western nations who seeks to destroy them. A free press has traditionally been regarded as one of the things that helps keep free nations free.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @03:37PM (#38880647) Journal

    Acts of war are not necessarily wrong or illegal.

    Acts of war are always extra-legal.

  • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @04:37PM (#38881507) Journal

    ... and accidental bombing/drone filled with explosives crash into the "micronation".

    USA apologizes for what they say is an accident.

  • by ( 245670 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @06:05PM (#38882701)

    Their sovereignty is only as strong as their ability to defend it. McHale's navy could take this place down. Heck, Gilligan and the skipper would have a good shot with the professor providing coconut bombs.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @06:15PM (#38882855) Journal

    TFA states, saliently, that where the data resides does not determine jurisdiction anyway.

    It seems to be a factor in the MegaUpload case.

  • by Professr3 ( 670356 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @09:03PM (#38885107)
    Not many people would cry if your house was invaded and forcibly annexed, either. Just because you're not the target doesn't mean you should support the practice.

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer