John D Radcliff, Specializing in Interactive Technology & Education!

WikiLeaks and P2P Networks

“Before WikiLeaks started releasing the classified State Department cables, its content was hosted by two Swedish ISPs and another based in France. WikiLeaks added Amazon.com’s cloud server to the list earlier this month after it began releasing the documents, Cowie noted. Amazon quickly stopped hosting WikiLeaks, apparently over terms of service violations.
After Amazon’s actions, WikiLeaks began hosting the wikileaks.org domain with two different ISPs one in France, and another in Sweden, Cowie said. Then a couple of days later, WikiLeaks’ DNS provider, EveryDNS, terminated its domain name service. In response, WikiLeaks established several new country-level domains, such as wikileaks.ch in Switzerland, wikileaks.at in Austria and wikileaks.cc in Cocos Islands. It then pointed the new domains back to existing IP addresses, or began having the new domains hosted with service providers in different countries (Computer World, 2010, https://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9200481/WikiLeaks_nearly_
immune_to_takedown_says_researcher?taxonomyId=17
).”

P2P Networks

Even though authorities tried to shutdown WikiLeaks, it was able to use other DNS providers and spread out further on multiple overseas internet based servers. This trend started with Napster which not only changed the music industry but which helped give rise to peer to peer networks. Napster, was the first generation of peer to peer file sharing which relied on a central based server. After the government shut down Napster, new P2P networks like Kazaa, Gnutella, and BitTorrent took Napster’s place. Just like WikiLeaks, these new P2P networks are scattered throughout the internet with no central physical place to store data. So now if a government or corporation wants to shutdown a P2P network, it is almost impossible since these new networks do not have a central location of where files are stored. So if illegal music or movies are being transmitted through several nodes and these nodes go down, then the P2P software will find other nodes to get these files from.

WikiLeaks now has a bigger presence now since the authorities shutdown some of their servers. According to James Cowie, chief technology officer at Renesys, an Internet Monitoring firm, “A total of 14 different name servers across 11 different networks today provide authoritative name services for the wikileaks.ch domain.” So now after the authorities tried to shutdown WikiLeaks, the organization mutated through the internet just like today’s P2P networks which makes it hard to find and shut down these networks. The spread of these networks are like a virus with no head and in an attempt to shutdown these networks it only causes these networks to spread. There is no head or organizational hierarchy which exists to WikiLeaks or P2P networks. These networks exist as a collective consciousness that keeps morphing without a real purpose only to reiterate that information is meant to be free and to fight against organizations that are suppressive or non-transparent.

Does WikiLeaks and P2P networks create or cause issues for other user’s on the internet?
What is the future of these P2P networks?

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