Authorities search home of owner of German Wikileaks domain

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

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German authorities have searched the homes of Theodor Reppe, a 32-year-old student who owns the "wikileaks.de" domain. Reppe has homes in Dresden and Jena in Germany. Wikileaks describes itself as an "uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis."

The police report obtained by Wikileaks states the reasons for the raid were "distribution of pornographic material" and "discovery of evidence". Wikileaks, however, asserts that the raid was in connection to Wikileaks hosting "censorship lists" of websites blocked by governments in Australia, Denmark, and Thailand. Wikileaks most recently published an alleged list from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The list contains thousands of URLs that are blocked when internet service providers use the government's software. Most URLs are alleged child porn sites and gambling sites. One of the blocked URLs on the ACMA's list included an image previously hosted on Wikimedia Commons. Wikileaks does not host and has never published child pornography.

Wikileaks goes on to allege that Mr Reppe was not properly informed of his rights when the searches were taking place. According to Wikileaks, authorities demanded the German domain be shut down and asked that passwords for the domain be handed over to them.

The 'wikileaks.de' domain is a mirror of 'wikileaks.org', and had been registered to Mr Reppe since at least November 2007. As of this report the website was still operating. Reppe and Wikileaks have not been charged with any crimes and no arrests have been made. Wikileaks also says that Reppe refused to sign any documentation from authorities "due to its inaccuracies".


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