Why did Amazon dump the leaked document site WikiLeaks? It wasn’t because of government intervention, or because WikiLeaks was facing denial of service attacks, Amazon’s Web Services team explained in an announcement this morning.
Instead, the company says that WikiLeaks violated its terms of services because the site hosted vast amounts of stolen content that could potentially cause harm to innocents:
…Our terms of service state that “you represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content… that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity.” It’s clear that WikiLeaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content. Further, it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren’t putting innocent people in jeopardy.
Of the possible reasons for Amazon to dump WikiLeaks, this is probably the most noble. No matter the value that WikiLeaks does provide, it’s understandably difficult for a well-known company like Amazon to host its content. Amazon is also well within its rights to dump WikiLeaks just as it would any other customer that doesn’t play by its rules.
While it took a while for the company to respond to this controversy, it’s notable that Amazon is more clear and honest here than it’s ever been in the past when it comes to addressing problems. Amazon’s usual course of action is to refuse to comment entirely. For example, when it removed Macmillan published books from its site, Amazon didn’t tell anyone what it was doing, and didn’t respond to comments from authors or journalists. Instead, all we got was a very unhelpful comment from Amazon on its Kindle message boards.
Via Business Insider