The techie press has been filled with reports that Wikipedia Germany was shut down for three days for hosting an article that revealed the name of German hacker Boris Floricic (aka Tron). The story has also been taken up by the blogosphere. But is the story accurate? Not according to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
Jonathan Zittrain posted a message in the Cyberpof mailing list reproducing Wales’ opinion about the story. In it, Wales claims that the site was never shut down, not even for an instant, as the servers are in the United States and not in Germany. More importantly, the Wikipedia Foundation has never received a court order.
I have been doing some research of my own. The domain is still working at http://de.wikipedia.org. I performed a traceroute of the domain and it is indeed hosted in the United States, seems to be somewhere in Tampa, Florida. I would then guess that the story is false, and that it was one of those journalistic memes that have never been checked by the reporter. Did they even click on the site to see if it was available?
How did the story start then? It seems like there may be a case against the site http://www.wikipedia.de, which hosts a group of German Wikipedia enthusiasts. I don’t read German, so a translation of the text on the site would be welcome.
It seems like the press gets it wrong (again).
[UPDATE] I’ve been looking more on this and I still cannot find corroboration that the Wikipedia foundation has actually been sued. The injunction seems to exist against the wikipedia.de site, but as that site does not host any content, the injunction would seem to be completely useless. Not only useless, counterproductive. Now more people know about Tron than ever before.