Another US company pulls plug on WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks was using Tableau Software to create charts of secret cables.

Washington: A US company whose software was being used by WikiLeaks to create and display charts of its cache of secret US diplomatic cables has said that it had pulled the plug on the whistle-blower website.

Tableau Software yesterday said it cut WikiLeaks off on Wednesday, the same day that Amazon booted the website from its servers, in response to a public request from Senator Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Tableau Software said WikiLeaks had published data visualisations of the more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables obtained by the site to Tableau Public, a free service offered by the company.

"Wednesday afternoon, Tableau Software removed data visualisations published by WikiLeaks to Tableau Public," the company said in a blog post.

"Our terms of service require that people using Tableau Public do not upload, post, e-mail, transmit or otherwise make available any content that they do not have the right to make available," it said.

"Furthermore, if we receive a complaint about a particular set of data, we retain the right to investigate the situation and remove any offending data, if necessary," the Seattle-based company said.

"Given the controversy around the WikiLeaks data, we`ve closely followed the debate about who actually has the rights to the leaked data," it said.

Tableau Software said the decision to no longer host the WikiLeaks charts was "not an easy decision, nor one that we took lightly”.

"This will inevitably be met with mixed reaction," the company said. "However, our terms of service were created to ensure responsible use of data."

Tableau Software had received about three dozen comments on its blog last afternoon, most of them negative.

"This act of cowardice and capitulation in the face of government censorship makes it impossible for me to use your services with a clear conscience," said a message from "veelo2”. "I`m very disappointed by your decision."

Senator Lieberman welcomed Amazon`s decision on Wednesday to no longer offer its Web-hosting services to WikiLeaks and called on other companies not to cooperate with the site.

"No responsible company -- whether American or foreign -- should assist WikiLeaks in its efforts to disseminate these stolen materials," he said.