WikiLeaks mirror sites: A new lease on life for WikiLeaks
WikiLeaks mirror sites ensure that it will be very difficult – if not impossible – to ever scrub WikiLeaks from the Web.
WikiLeaks lists its location on Twitter as "Everywhere" – a bold claim, considering the intense fire the organization has come under in the past week. Amazon, PayPal, Visa and MasterCard all recently severed ties with WikiLeaks, first leaving the site server-less, and then restricting the ways in which supporters can donate to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.
But even as Assange faces extradition from London – on sex crimes charges – WikiLeaks lives on through a constantly mutating network of mirror sites.
"WikiLeaks now has 355 sites. Thanks to YOU," WikiLeaks wrote in a Twitter message on Sunday. That number has fluctuated, as some sites are dismantled and others spring up in their place, but one thing is clear: It will be exceptionally difficult, if not impossible, to ever scrub WikiLeaks from the Web.
Mirror sites are used often in file-sharing circles, typically to dodge censure from record labels or content distributors. (Wikipedia has a pretty good primer on mirror sites, if you're interested, and have the time.) As WikiLeaks hinted in the Twitter message, many of the mirror sites are in this case being created by supporters, who want the information from the WikiLeaks vaults to remain open in perpetuity.
Meanwhile, Assange's arrest in London has prompted some analysts to speculate that the WikiLeaks founder could eventually be shipped to the US to face charges. On Monday, according to the New York Times, US Attorney General Eric Holder said that he had "authorized just last week a number of things to be done so that we can hopefully get to the bottom of this and hold people accountable."