On Friday, citing First Amendment concerns and questions about legal jurisdiction, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White dropped the injunction that took Wikileaks.org, a website which anonymously publishes leaks of sensitive corporate and government documents. In mid-February, White had previously issued an injunction against Wikileaks after the Zurich-based Bank Julius Baer accused the site of posting sensitive account information stolen by a disgruntled former employee, a move which set off free-speech protests around the globe.
At the latest court hearing in San Francisco, however, White said he had "serious questions" about whether the legal measures sought by the bank "would be constitutionally approriate" and whether they constituted prior restraint by the government. He also cited "possible violations of the First Amendment" and questioned the effectiveness of shutting one website down when dozens more had already obtained the documents in question. According to Matt Zimmerman, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, one of several organizations that filed briefs on the case: "The reality of the Internet makes it difficult for him to issue an order that will have any impact, given the fact that all the material is already out there."
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