LONDON — Wikileaks struggled to stay online Friday as corporations and governments moved to cut its access to the Internet, a potentially crippling blow for an organization dedicated to releasing secret information via the web.
The American company that hosted the website wikileaks.org stopped late Thursday after cyber attacks threatened the rest of its network. WikiLeaks responded by moving to a Swiss domain name, wikileaks.ch — and calling on activists for support. Two companies host the Swiss domain name, one of which is in France. The other is in Sweden.
On Friday, the French government moved to ban WikiLeaks from French servers.
Industry Minister Eric Besson says it’s “unacceptable” for French servers to host the site, which “violates the secret of diplomatic relations and puts people protected by diplomatic secret in danger.”
In Friday’s letter to the CGIET — a government body that is part of the Finance Ministry involved in information technology among other industries — Besson asked what legal steps could be taken to ban WikiLeaks from French servers.
He added that French servers who have hosted the site must first be made to understand the “consequences of their acts and secondly be made to take responsibility for them,” suggesting possible legal fallout.
Wikileaks has been hosted by French server OVH since Thursday, the letter said.
The Guardian newspaper took down an live online question-and-answer session with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after being swamped with visitors. It was not immediately clear if it had been the target of an attack. The Guardian, one of the papers that has been posting hundreds of U.S. diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks, later posted Assange’s answers to reader questions.
On Wednesday, Amazon.com Inc. — who had provided WikiLeaks with use of its servers to distribute embarrassing State Department communications and other documents — evicted it.