Category Archive 'OpenLeaks'

07 Feb 2011

WikiLeaks Defectors Found OpenLeaks

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According to the New York Times, Julian Assange’s disgruntled former collaborators objected to his self promotion and flamboyant left-wing politics.

As the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange fights extradition to Sweden to face allegations of sexual wrongdoing, a dozen of his former colleagues are creating an alternative Web site for leaks to be governed by what they characterize as a revised vision of radical transparency.

The new organization, OpenLeaks, will begin work in earnest this summer, said Herbert Snorrason, an Icelandic programmer who is involved. It aims, he said, to avoid the “influence of a single figurehead” by refusing to handle documents itself. Instead, it will act as a neutral conduit to connect leakers with media and human rights organizations.

OpenLeaks emerges from the ashes of a struggle between Mr. Assange and many of his closest associates last September. About a dozen members of WikiLeaks left that month, accusing Mr. Assange of imperious behavior and of jeopardizing the project by conflating the allegations of sexual wrongdoing, which he denies, with the site’s work. The defectors, Mr. Snorrason said, decided to start their own project.

“It’s no secret that we had disagreements with how WikiLeaks was being managed,” he said, “and a large part of what we hope to accomplish with OpenLeaks is to avoid those problems.” …

Though those behind OpenLeaks are at pains not to criticize Mr. Assange, and have repeatedly made it clear that they do not see themselves as his competitors, their aims address many of the barbs leveled at him, the man who has defined a new era of online mass leaks.

It is partly run by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a precise programmer from Berlin who was once Mr. Assange’s deputy. Since he left WikiLeaks in September, he has been working on a book which he promises will reveal “the evolution, finances and inner tensions” inside WikiLeaks.

At a recent gathering of the Chaos Computer Club, a hacker community in Berlin, Mr. Domscheit-Berg said OpenLeaks would be neutral and would not rely on secrecy as WikiLeaks does. Those who seek transparency, he said, should “stand in the sunlight ourselves and enjoy that we are creating a more transparent society, not create a transparent society while sneaking around in the shadows.”

The new site must not, he added, “contain any politics and personal preferences or personal dislikes about whatever you’re going to publish or what you must not publish.”

It is not obvious at all why a world that has the New York Times, the Washington Post, Spiegel, and the Guardian needs another venue for leaking official secrets. It also seems likely that any non-establishment media leaking venue would be highly likely to face criminal prosecution by Western governments. If genuinely neutral, the leakers would also be compromising state secrets from non-liberal Western governments, like Russia’s, which would not necessarily restrict negative responses to legal processes. Lots of luck with that, guys.


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