Amazon.com (NSDQ: AMZN) says that a “government inquiry” did not drive its controversial decision to stop hosting WikiLeaks’ site Monday. In a short blog post, the company says charges that a government inquiry prompted it to not serve the company are “inaccurate” and instead says WikiLeaks was simply not following its terms of service.
From the post:
Amazon Web Services does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of service that must be followed. WikiLeaks was not following them. There were several parts they were violating. For example, 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.
It’s a similar argument that another company that has stopped hosting WikiLeaks content, Tableau Software, has taken. In a blog post of its own today (via TechFlash), Tableau Software says its terms of service “require that people using Tableau Public do not upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any content that they do not have the right to make available” and it has therefore removed data visualizations published by WikiLeaks.
That company does acknowledge, however, that it removed the data because of a public request by Senator Joe Lieberman.
And, indeed, while Amazon may be saying that a “government inquiry” did not drive its decision to separate itself from WikiLeaks, it’s worth noting that Liberman himself praised the e-commerce giant after it stopped hosting the WikiLeaks website and said the company itself had contacted him with the news. He went on to say that Amazon’s actions “should set the standard for other companies WikiLeaks is using to distribute its illegally seized material.”