`French web host need not shut down WikiLeaks site`
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Last Updated: Tuesday, December 07, 2010, 10:24
Paris: A French judge declined to force web provider OVH to shut down the WikiLeaks site, OVH has said, after the government called for the whistleblower website to be kicked out of France.

The legal challenge came after French Industry Minister Eric Besson called for WikiLeaks to be banned from French servers after the site took refuge there on Thursday, having been expelled from the United States.

A court in the northern city of Lille had rejected a first complaint by OVH arguing that it was incomplete.

A new complaint was made yesterday calling on judges in Lille and Paris to rule whether or the not the site was legal, said OVH in an email to AFP.

The Lille court again rejected it, while the Paris court said the case needed further arguments.

"As far as OVH, the technical provider, is concerned we have done the utmost to clarify the legal situation of the site.... We have tried to be as transparent as possible," said the company based at Roubaix near Lille.

"It's neither for the political world nor for OVH to call for or to decide on a site's closure, but for the justice system," OVH's managing director Octave Klaba said. "That's how it should work under the rule of law."

OVH said it had only discovered it was hosting WikiLeaks after reading press reports.

WikiLeaks ordered a dedicated server with protection from cyber attacks through OVH's website using a credit card to pay the "less than 150-euro" (200-dollar) bill, Klaba said.

"OVH is neither for nor against this site... We neither asked to host this site nor not to host it. Now that it's with us, we will fulfil the contract. That's our job."

Besson earlier asked the CGIET, the highest body governing the Internet in France, to find a way to expel the site from French servers, describing the situation as "unacceptable".

On Thursday, WikiLeaks moved to OVH after US Internet giant Amazon booted it off its servers following pressure from US politicians angered by the release of some quarter million secret diplomatic cables.

"France cannot host Internet sites that violate the confidentiality of diplomatic relations and put in danger people protected by diplomatic secrecy," Besson wrote in a letter, a copy of which was seen by AFP.


First Published: Tuesday, December 07, 2010, 10:24

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