Whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has attacked a former ally after one of the servers used to host the infamous Cablegate material was put up for auction on eBay.
The document-leaking operation – headed by Julian Assange™ – slammed Bahnhof, a Swedish internet service provider, for flogging the once-rented Dell Poweredge R410 server.
Proceeds from the auction will be handed to Reporters Without Frontiers, a charity dedicated to press freedom, and the 5th of July Foundation, which campaigns for free speech online. The auction began last night and with more than nine days to go, bidding has already reached $3,000.
A spokesman for WikiLeaks referred The Reg to Twitter, where the whistleblowers claimed Bahnhof was only interested in the publicity generated from the sale:
Bahnhof did not seek permission to auction the WikiLeaks server or to use it for marketing purposes, or to send the proceeds to others.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) September 2, 2013
Jon Karlung, CEO of Bahnhof, announced the sale last night, tweeting:
Karlung said he spoke to Julian Assange several times during the release of the Cablegate material – the hundreds of thousands of secret US diplomatic memos and classified intelligence files it leaked online, sourced from American army private Chelsea Manning.
He said Assange's signature can be found on a hosting contract, which will be provided to the buyer of the server.
In a statement, the CEO continued: "This is indeed the physical web server from which the leaked Cablegate material was released, complete with hard drives, motherboard and everything. It can be plugged in and used immediately. We ourselves put it on a pedestal and displayed it as a museum item in our underground Thule Brunkow Ridge data center in central Stockholm, as a symbol for our values as a hoster [sic] and ISP. It constitutes a unique collector's item. A couple of years ago foreign authorities would have bid a fortune to lay hands on this specific server."
Karlung claimed he decided to offer the funds to Reporters Without Frontiers and the 5th of July Foundation because he "burns for those causes".
WikiLeaks had rented the server, Bahnhof said, and it was never used by another client.
The firm insisted the data has been deleted by overwriting it. It added: "All hardware is original, including the hard disks. Those have however been erased according to the U.S. specification DoD 5220.22-M (PDF, relevant part on page 57) where every byte of the hard disk is overwritten several times. The original information cannot be recreated, not even by NSA."
We were unable to reach Jon Karlung, CEO of Bahnhof. ®