The business model of starting a nation just to have somewhere to store your data

A few weeks ago, Fox News breathlessly reported that the embattled WikiLeaks operation was looking to start a new life under on the sea. WikiLeaks, the article speculated, might try to escape its legal troubles by putting its servers on Sealand, a World War II anti-aircraft platform seven miles off the English coast in the North Sea, a place that calls itself an independent nation. It sounds perfect for WikiLeaks: a friendly, legally unassailable host with an anything-goes attitude.

But readers with a memory of the early 2000s might be wondering, “Didn’t someone already try this? How did that work out?” Good questions. From 2000 to 2008, a company called HavenCo did indeed offer no-questions-asked colocation on Sealand—and it didn’t end well.

Perhaps demand will pick up a bit if the U.S. government continues to seize and shut down websites before even arresting or convicting the site’s operators.

It’s an interesting story, though.

via Death of a data haven: cypherpunks, WikiLeaks, and the world’s smallest nation.

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