Will the Rise of #Wikileaks Competitors Make Whistleblowing Resistant to Censorship? ( dont forget #anonleaks )
Since it began publishing a trove of classified United States Embassy cables on November 28, 2010, Wikileaks has faced an onslaught of censorship that demonstrated how online speech is vulnerable when intermediaries refuse to host contentious or unpopular speech. When payment providers, service providers and even visualization software services cut off services, Wikileaks struggled to keep their site online, going down for periods of time and reducing the content they carry. But while the availability of Wikileaks content was restricted, the demand from readers and media organizations to access that information stayed strong. Now a new generation of Wikileaks-inspired websites is populating the Internet — decentralizing the concept of whistleblowing and making it harder to shut down speech merely by cutting off services to one site.
There are numerous other online whistleblower sites cropping up; here is a sampling of some of the newcomers:
- OpenLeaks is the most well-known of the new online whistleblowing sites. Founded by several former members of Wikileaks, including former Wikileaks spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg, OpenLeaks aims to avoid some of the controversy around Wikileaks by passing all material directly to news organizations, rather than publishing material themselves. The source submitting the documents will have the ability to choose how and to whom information is leaked.
- LocalLeaks provides an online service that will send information to 1,400 newspapers across the United States. Sources can choose which news outlets will receive their information.
- Rospil, created by journalist Alexei Navlny, is an online portal for whistleblowers to share information about corruption in Russia. They’re currently seeking experts who can provide analysis of the documents they receive and say with some authority whether or not they point to fraud and corruption within the government.
- RuLeaks is another Russian whistleblower site. A project of the Russian Pirate Party, RuLeaks is promoting itself as a “Russian Wikileaks.” It gained international attention after publishing a series of photos showing Putin’s lavish estate on the Black Sea.
- GreenLeaks.org (apparent trademark owners of “GreenLeaks”) is a nonprofit organization that provides an online platform for leaking information about nature, the climate and the environment. It should not be confused with similarly-named
- Greenleaks.com is a media organization that also publishes information about the environment.
Specific to a single news outlet:
- Al Jazeera’s Transparency Unit is an online portal for securely uploading documents, photos, audio, video and story tips. It’s goal is to “shine light on notable and newsworthy government and corporate activities which might otherwise go unreported.”
- The New York Times, which has been deeply involved with publishing recent materials from Wikileaks, is now rumored to be considering its own online leak submission system.
- There are also reports that the Washington Post is investigating a similar online document submission service.
As these sites multiply, they will still need to deal with the challenges that Wikileaks and Cryptome have faced. They will need to find ways to effectively protect the identities of their sources, provide an adequate media platform, earn the trust of whistleblowers, weed out fabricated leaks, and avoid the wrath of corporations and governments. However, one thing is clear: the strong demand by readers and the media will make anonymous whistleblowing websites a permanent fixture in the future of investigative journalism. Cutting off services to one popular whistleblowing website will never be enough to keep truthful political information off the Internet.
The exploits of Anonymous to hack the systems of firms providing spying services to governments and corporations suggest that the WikiLeaks mini-era has been surpassed.
Much of WikiLeaks promise to protect sources is useless if the sources are not whistleblowers needing a forum for publication. Instead publishers of secret information grab it directly for posting to Torrent for anybody to access without mediation and mark-up by self-esteemed peddlers of protection, interpretationa and authentication, including media cum scholars.
Ars Technica descriptions of the how the Anonymous hack are the best technical reading of Internet derring-do yet and far exceeds the much simpler rhetorical version of WikiLeaks security carefully bruited as if invulnerable but is not according to Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s revelations.
AnonLeaks.ru is a remarkable advance of WikiLeaks. And promises much more by the same means and methods most associated with official spies — NSA and CIA have long run the Special Collections Service to do exactly that kind of criminal aggression, along with black bag burglaries, surveillance and bugging. Contractors hiring ex-spies do much of this highly classified work as well and invent and supply the gadgets and front organizations required.
Not least of importance of the Anonymous hack and the many preceding it is the revelation of how commercial firms have been exploiting public ignorance of their spying capacity. That they are themselves vulnerable is a surprise to them, as it must be to those who hire them and, in the case of governments, provide legal cover for criminal actions.
This is not news, to be sure, for it has been alleged and reported on for decades but mostly in technical journals and conferences where offerers strut their malwares to buyers of perfidium.
Imagine that instead of the many iterations of Wikileaks now appearing to receive and publish documents, that more of the Anonymous-type hacks simply steal and torrent the family jewels of the spies, officials, lobbyists and corporations believing they own the territory in order to show the extent of their secret predations on the public.
The digitization of vast archives of government, commercial and non-governmental organizations to facilitate their hegemony provides a bounty to be hacked repeatedly despite attempts to prevent it by vainly inept cybersecurity agencies and firms.
The cyber-racket cartel will yell, hit the Internet Switch. Too late, too late. Anonymous controls the switch. Sure, Anonymous can be compromised with sufficient hostile and friendly inducements, but so can the predators, perhaps moreso the latter now revealed to be vulnerable.
Venerable Anonymous and the promise it offers surpasses the Nymous authoritatives of secrecy frantically attempting to ban its greatest threat.
For honoring the WL era bestow on Julian Assange, the WL Four and Bradley Manning Medals of Freedom and spy-grade lifetime pensions for initiating the rise of Unnameables worldwide.
Coda: Cryptome and reportedly John Young’s private network were hacked in October 2010. Thugs Corey “Xyrix” Barnhill, Michael “Virus” Nieves, Justin “Null” Perras are still bragging about it on hacker forums. So prepare for exposure no matter illusory protection by law and technology.
- (new) email@example.com - Greg Hoglund - 27,606 emails (torrent)
- firstname.lastname@example.org - Aaron Barr - 16,906 emails (torrent)
- email@example.com - Ted Vera - 12,134 emails (torrent)
- firstname.lastname@example.org - Phil Wallisch - 15,156 emails (torrent)
Total: 71,800 emails
Want to search the database? search.hbgary.anonleaks.ru
Protip: search for WikiLeaks, Anonymous, FBI, NASA, Stuxnet, etc.
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