EasyDNS to host Wikileaks

Date December 9, 2010

At my company, we use EasyDNS to do our external DNS hosting (building a real, high availability DNS server infrastructure is outside of the scope of our financial resources, so we have them do it for us), and I've always been very happy with their service.

Today, I got a very interesting email from them. I'm including it in its entirety here:

easyDNS Support [[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, December 09, 2010 1:54 AM
To: Matt Simmons
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This notice is being sent to all active domain holders on the system.

In this email:
1. The WikiLeaks Situation

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1. The WikiLeaks Situation
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It is not very often we send out an all-member email blast, so when we do, it's usually pretty important.

First and foremost, everything is ok. Please read the information that follows carefully but understand that we would never do anything that we thought put our members at risk.

The Basic Background:
=====================

On Friday, Dec 6th, easyDNS was mistakenly identified in various online channels as the DNS provider who revoked DNS Services for the controversial website Wikileaks, and a large internet backlash ensued against us.

In fact, the Wikileaks DNS provider was a free DNS provider in New Hampshire called "EveryDNS.net". At some point this was mistakenly reported as "easyDNS", and it gathered momentum from there. The problem was compounded on Saturday, Dec 7th when the New York Times picked up the story, also incorrectly identifying us as the party who "unplugged" Wikileaks. The U.K based Guardian did the same thing again on Tuesday, December 7th.

A timeline of events has been posted here:

http://easyurl.net/5119e

And our original rebuttal to the misinformation was posted here:

http://easyurl.net/a3191

easyDNS Added To WikiLeaks.ch DNS
==================================

On Sunday, Dec 5th, we were approached by a group acting on behalf of Wikileaks and asked to provide DNS for their fallback domain WikiLeaks.ch.

We agreed to this on several conditions.

http://easyurl.net/fbbff

We did not take this decision lightly, and whichever side of the fence you fall regarding what Wikileaks is doing, after being falsley accused of unplugging Wikileaks and taking an enormous amount of backlash for doing so, we felt we did not have much choice in the matter but to forge ahead and take on this challenge.

http://easyurl.net/507d8

We actually consider this part of the situation to be well in hand.

Tonight the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail ran a story about this bizarre sequence of events and we expect it to run in the print edition (possibly as the cover story) on Thursday, Dec 10.

That story is here: http://easyurl.net/gandm

However, and this is large part of the motivation for this email, the Globe story concluded with the following quotation, which we feel sends the wrong message, as I mispoke when I said the following:

"Our lawyers have basically told us that if they want to shut us down they'll show up with an injunction and we'll have to follow it and then try and have it overturned later,"

This may connote that we think we, as a company, may be shut down. We do NOT think this is going to happen at all.

What I meant to convey in the quote is:

"If they want US (easyDNS) to shut THEM (WikiLeaks) down, they'll show up with an injunction, and we'll have to follow it, etc etc".

And if that happened, we would be terminating service to wikileaks alone.

Further information about this clarification is here:

http://easyurl.net/gm2

We wanted to let you know as an easyDNS member, that we are taking every measure to ensure that this situation does not disrupt the continuity of your domain services at all.

In conclusion, we believe we have taken the course of action that fits who we are as a company.

If you've been dealing with us for any amount of time then hopefully you know what kind of company that is. I also hope you agree that, regardless of your opinion of Wikileaks itself, we are playing the hand we've been dealt in accordance with who we are as a company.

In short, we think this is the right thing to do, and that is why we're doing it.

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If you are not already subscribed to our blog feed in your favorite RSS reader, I suggest doing so via http://blog.easydns.org, or making a habit of checking the blog for updates.

We also put out info as it happens on Twitter, http://twitter.com/easydns
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As always, if anyone has any questions or concerns regarding any of these issues, feel free to email me or call me voice.

Thank you,

Mark Jeftovic, <[email protected]>
President & CEO, easyDNS Technologies Inc.
ph. +1.416.535.8672 ext 225
http://www.easydns.com/

As an American, I feel like my rights have been gradually eroding for a long, long time (longer than I've been around), but it has accelerated, and in the past few months, I feel like the erosion has turned into a landslide, finally culminating with the worldwide manhunt for someone who was essentially sheltering whistle-blowers.

I don't support the government sponsored mandates being thrown around to the private companies, and I do support open knowledge and government transparency. After all, if the government has done nothing wrong, then they've got nothing to worry about.

  • Lee W

    Go EasyDNS! I wonder if they have a facility set up to receive donations. I'd definitely chip in $50 or so towards the inevitable legal challenge. I am an EveryDNS contributor, back before they got bought out by DynDNS a year or so ago, so I technically have 'free' service from them. They (EveryDNS/Dyn) has one hell of nastygram about half-written just waiting for them, and looks like I need to send an attaboy to EasyDNS. If I didn't have lifetime-free service from Dyn/EveryDNS, I'd switch. Hell, I may open a paid account just on principle, and have THREE different facilities serving my DNS (BIND on one of my local servers, with Every/etc set up as slaves). I too am pretty much in the same boat you are, and I'm super happy to hear that EasyDNS has stepped up to the challenge.

    Also, just so you (and your readers) know: PowerDNS is one mighty, mighty DNS server. It's highly optimized (and runs on a SQL backend!) to serve an absolutely pornographic number of concurrent DNS requests, and it's cake to set up. Having used PowerDNS in a large, distributed hosting environment (2k+ servers, over a million different domains, something like mmmmmm four PowerDNS machines if memory serves) I'd wager a handful of PowerDNS boxes in a master/slave setup would go far in being able to meet many of Wikileaks' DNS needs. Just sayin'.

  • http://www.standalone-sysadmin.com Matt Simmons

    @Lee

    Cool, thanks for the tips, and for checking out the story. I replied to EasyDNS by email and told them that I really appreciated what they were doing. I'm sure they'd appreciate hearing from you, too.

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  • Adam L.

    I love your blog and agree with a lot of what you write in it. That being said, I disagree on the following:

    I do support open knowledge and government transparency. After all, if the government has done nothing wrong, then they’ve got nothing to worry about.

    Being in the financial business sector, I am sure your executives have "classified" documents they don't want made public. The same line of reasoning could be held against them. If they have done nothing wrong, they have nothing to worry about.

    I am all for government transparency, but you need to clarify what that means. Just because a government is (or trying to be) transparent doesn't mean there won't be documents that need to be kept secret. There could be many reasons to try and keep a document from the public's eyes. These could range from the names of intelligence operatives in foreign lands to diplomats that have an ill-worded report about one of our allies.

    Let's face it. People can be stupid at times. Should we really jeopardize our relationship with an ally just because some diplomat submitted a report while drunk (completely bogus example...). Some things are meant to be kept under the rug.

  • http://www.standalone-sysadmin.com Matt Simmons

    Adam,

    Thanks for the comment. You're absolutely welcome to disagree.

    I agree completely that people can be stupid at times, and that businesses do need to have a reasonable expectation of privacy (as do private citizens). Also, because part of the government's mandate is to act on behalf of the citizens when dealing with foreign governments, and foreign governments are often hostile, there is need of secrecy and obscurity in some aspects, notably national security.

    The problem is that the same opacity that is necessary for national security is used to hide ineptitude and malice (toward other countries as well as citizens of this one).

    Even given the need for national security, the secrecy in which things are conducted is unwarranted by the apparent threat (for an example, look at airport security).

    My goal is not to run a political blog. No one here cares about my political views, and I try very, very hard to not let them bleed over into the posts that I write, but this particular news story is hard to disassociate (maybe because I run an online site, and the thought that the government could disagree with the content and mandate its removal is horrifying to me. Not because of the loss of the content, but because the government has that power).

  • Matt

    Let's just be clear about this: there was no worldwide manhunt. The British Police knew his whereabouts the entire time. When a properly filled-out extradition noticed was sent from Sweden, Assange turned himself in.

  • Shamrockhoax

    Further clarity, other than possibly the trumped up sex charges, Assange has not committed a crime. Publishing confidential documents is not a crime in the United States.

  • http://systembash.com Dave Drager

    Ditto on PowerDNS. We use it to host all DNS for our services (with MySQL backend) and it raises nary a hair with all we are throwing at it (load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00). We did have to upgrade the ram, but once everything is in there is absolutely screams. Plus you can modify the backend using whatever language you want - it works exceedingly well.

    I was looking for an anycast DNS provider and somehow easyDNS wasn't on my radar - they have good prices and hosting Wikileaks.ch DNS really proves their metal. Thanks for sharing their email.

  • James

    @Shamrockhoax: You are absolutely correct. However, our own politicians are saying it is illegal - essentially rewriting the constition and taking away freedom at a whim. Some people just go ahead and mindlessly believe the politicians. Other people are afraid that, even though the politicians are completely wrong, they may still get what they want.

  • James

    @EasyDNS: I wish I had a domain name, and I wish it was with EveryDNS, so I could cancel it with EveryDNS and sign up with you :)

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