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Wikileaks — Anonymous Whistle-Blowing 162

Posted by kdawson
from the weapons-of-mass-conscience dept.
too_old_to_be_irate writes to tell us about a site that word got out on before they were ready. Wikileaks aims to be an anonymous and uncensorable repository of leaked documents, posted for commentary by interested parties. It's expected to go live in a month or two. From the site: "Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable version of Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interests are oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact; this means our interface is identical to Wikipedia and usable by non-technical people. We have received over 1.1 million documents so far from dissident communities and anonymous sources."
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Wikileaks — Anonymous Whistle-Blowing

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:13PM (#17562044)
    "word got out on before they were ready."

    anybody else want to raise the B.S. flag?

    "It's expected to go live in a month or two."

    and die about a month PRIOR to that.

    " We have received over 1.1 million documents so far from dissident communities and anonymous sources."

    You mean folks that bitch and UNRELIABLE sources?

    "Our primary interests are oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact"

    Tell me, how is this going to be any different from any other site pushing a political agenda?

    "We aim for maximum political impact; this means our interface is identical to Wikipedia and usable by non-technical people."

    How does political impact have anything to do with your interface being like Wiki?

    Oh, and BTW doesn't

    "leaked documents"

    mean leaked documents? Ones that are already 'out of the closet'?

    I guess I just don't get how this got our attention.
    • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:31PM (#17562496)
      The problem with non-technical documents is that they rarely contain actual data or fact to justify the wild claims. Making them great for politics and politicians, but worthless for genuinely smart people to make good decisions.

      On the other hand, god help the world if defect tracking databases (or issue subsets) were made public on this. Any bug you ever had could become a lawsuit if it could be construed to have caused financial loss. The world would grind to a halt.
      • > On the other hand, god help the world if defect tracking databases (or issue subsets) were made public on this. Any bug you ever had could become a lawsuit if it could be construed to have caused financial loss. The world would grind to a halt. The world won't, the existing legal system will. Not like it's not broken as it is, anyway, so who cares?
    • Expect this to last about a month, until someone posts some company's trade secret and the site gets sued off the face of the planet.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jbdigriz (8030)
      Well, you're right, talk is cheap, and they are promsing an awful lot. It's certainly technically concievable what they propose. but whether they have an actual working system yet that is ready for prime time, I dunno, I haven't seen it. They are going to have to produce something demostrable RSN as a result of the premature publicity, but it's not a scam. They've been soliciting server operators for at least 3-4 years now, and at that time openly under some of their own names, though the exact nature of th
  • Better Information (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Roofus (15591) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:15PM (#17562104) Homepage
    For some real information, check out the 'Leaked' WikiLeak mailing list via (my favorite) Cryptome:

    http://cryptome.org/wikileaks/wikileaks-leak.htm [cryptome.org]
    http://cryptome.org/wikileaks/wikileaks-leak2.htm [cryptome.org]
    • Well, that was interesting. I wouldn't say informative, precisely, because I'm not sure what exactly I just read, but interesting.

      Let me just get this straight. So someone decided to do this Wikileaks project. They recruit some other, ideologically-motivated ("solidarity!") folks to help. They claim to have a prototype that works, and distribute a leaked document from Somalia of unknown provenance. They create several mailing lists. Lots of cloak-and-dagger stuff, people playing with PGP, etc., ensues. The
  • by User 956 (568564) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:15PM (#17562130) Homepage
    Wikileaks aims to be an anonymous and uncensorable repository of leaked documents, posted for commentary by interested parties.

    They were going to name it LawyerMagnet.com, but that was already taken by a file-sharing service.
  • Fab! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:16PM (#17562144) Homepage Journal
    I can't think of a single possible way this could be misused in any manner whatsoever by anyone for any reason in any whatsoever.
  • by drGreg (153424) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:16PM (#17562150)
    This looks like an ideal place to spread FUD and provide a fertile breeding ground for conspiracy theories.

    • by eln (21727) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:22PM (#17562288) Homepage
      provide a fertile breeding ground for conspiracy theories

      That's exactly what they want you to think.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Let us hope that this never happens to the internet.
    • Don't forget slander. Uncovering real abuse is important, but at what cost? Some of it is laughable, but a lot of it will be taken at face value by people with little net savvy but real power to hire and fire, etc. With "untraceable, uncensorable" content you can never remove the lies no matter how throughly they've been proven to be false and malicious. "Fight bad speech with good speech" is a good argument against prior censorship, but nobody would say it's a good idea once said speech has been found
  • OT III (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:17PM (#17562162)
    Can we expect to see the full story of Xenu? :P I mean, Soviet secret police are one thing, but you don't want to mess with Scientologists...
  • by Noryungi (70322) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:17PM (#17562170) Homepage Journal

    Wikipedia already has a credibility problem, but this?

    Anonymous leaking of materials that may be totally unverified? I can already the giant wooshing sound of lawyers descending on this poor thing for defamation.

    Besides, what's the point of such a site if countries like China and Iran can censor it by building a "Great Firewall" around their little corner of the Internet?

    Oh, and by the way, thanks for posting all of your plans on the Internet before the site even goes live. Dumb script kiddies everywhere are going to blast your poor site as soon as it shows up.
    • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@n ... t ['etz' in gap]> on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:30PM (#17562482) Homepage Journal
      This group, whomever they are, is improperly using the trademark "Wikipedia" as a buzz word to try and gin up support for this very dubious sort of project.

      Say what you might about Wikipedia, but this does not involve either the Wikimedia Foundation, its employees, or frankly much of anybody even involved with the day to day running of Wikipedia either.

      And slashdot is hardly the best place to announce something like this if you wanted to involve the Wikipedia user base. While this is a sort of "geek news" that might get some notice, it is disingenuious to suggest any association with Wikipedia.

      Besides, on those Wikimedia projects where I have admin privileges, I would delete most of this content on the spot as unverifiable rumors and gossip, and expect the same on the other Wikimedia projects.

      While this might be something rather interesting in terms of a web server to host this material, and invite some anonymous method of gathering these documents, I don't even see that they are going to be using a Wiki to gather this information.

      In short, move along.... there is nothing here to see.
      • by smoker2 (750216)
        Is the word wiki trademarked then ? I don't think they claimed to be part of the wikipedia organisation.

        Otherwise, way to go - you mentioned the word wikimedia 3 times and wikipedia 6 times in a searchable thread about wikileaks. Lets keep the net relevant !

        • by Kesh (65890)
          Is the word wiki trademarked then ? I don't think they claimed to be part of the wikipedia organisation.

          Um, did you even read the clip from the website posted at the top of this page?

          "Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable version of Wikipedia..."

          Emphasis mine.

          • by Teancum (67324)
            Thanks for pointing this out. I was not implying that the term "wiki" was somehow a protected trademark (Ward Cunningham anybody?), even though the Wikimedia Foundation seems to feel that they own that particular trademark from time to time.

            I've seen literally hundreds of these proposals posted on Foundation-l, including two this month alone, and a whole page of them on the Meta wiki. Every once in a blue moon one comes along that is a really outstanding idea, but that is a rare idea. This is one of thos
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Teancum (67324)
          It is right out of their FAQ that they intend to use Wikipedia for the delivery of this content. Or that they intend to "mirror" Wikipedia.

          Frankly, I don't even see where the word "wiki" comes in for this project, as they aren't even going to be using HTML servers at all, but rather intend to use Freenet or something similar. Good luck! They are going to need it if they choose Freenet as the underlying technology. That is good for about 1000 pages total, if they are very, very lucky. There is no way yo
    • Wikipedia already has a credibility problem, but this?

      It's funny how Slashdotters always say that you can't trust Wikipedia, yet more and more people actually use Wikipedia regardless of all the complaints.
  • Baloney (Score:5, Interesting)

    by earnest murderer (888716) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:18PM (#17562190)
    I'm curious how this repository of uncensorable documents intends to keep their credibility when the 9/11 conspiracy, and moon landing was a hoax crowd move in.

    • Re:Baloney (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ms1234 (211056) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:38PM (#17562648)
      Not to mention those who are falsely accused. How do they check the stories?
    • Re:Baloney (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:49PM (#17562892)
      Dude, you couldn't have picked two worse examples. There is a huge amount of documentable and verifiable evidence on both the 9/11 conspiracy and moon landing hoax theories. In fact, the amount of contrary evidence exceeds "real" evidence for both.
      • I really, really hope that you're joking.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        There is a huge amount of documentable and verifiable evidence on both the 9/11 conspiracy and moon landing hoax theories. In fact, the amount of contrary evidence exceeds "real" evidence for both.
        Provided you define "evidence" as "anything presented as evidence by its proponents", then yes, that is true. But that's what you'd expect - for every simple truth, there is an infinity of lies.
      • by KZigurs (638781)
        Show me the money. links.
        something that would convince me.
    • by Kadin2048 (468275)
      Well, I would think that the idea is that this place is a repository for leaked primary-source information, and not one for conjecture. If they're smart, they won't allow text-editing like Wikipedia, but will be more like Wikimedia Commons, allowing people to upload files and comment on them, rather than write articles.

      If you could produce some secret NASA documents on the fake moon landing, and scan them in, then this would be the place you'd want to share them. Of course, it would also be the place to sha
    • by CmdrGravy (645153)
      Exactly, I'm certainly going to spend the next couple of months writing "leaked" documents about all the activity going on in Area 51 the goverment doesn't want you to know about, how Tony Blair orders the whipping of African children which he has recorded and sent to him to watch at dinner parties and how Diana was in fact a thick overprivelidged whinger who only achieved fame by marrying a Prince.
    • Hey, as long as you are trying to discredit the 9/11 Conspiracy, please add "bigfoot".

      We all know that the moon lander was 10x over budget because it was made by a shell corporation owned by the Kennedy's. They also told the FBI not to investigate any moon lander financing. Then America spent $500 Billion to invade Mars, as they were definitely the culprits for the Attempt on Apollo 13. This is all very reasonable activity, and is usually in these sorts of situations -- however unique they are. The extra mo
  • From the news page [wikileaks.org]:
    05/01/07: WikiLeaks gets leaked

    Due to a single blog posting of just a few words, Wikileaks has been thrust into the spot light far earlier then expected.

    (Note that the date is 5 January, not May 1, as may be misread by my fellow Americans.)

    I would expect another "news" article soon, dated 11/01/07 (11 Jan): "WikiLeaks flooded: Slashdotted!"
  • by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:21PM (#17562262) Homepage
    On hearing the name of the service, the one thing that came to mind was - "Pssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss..."
  • Anonymity Networks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by delirium of disorder (701392) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:21PM (#17562266) Homepage Journal
    According to the FAQ
    For the technically minded, Wikileaks integrates technologies including modified versions of FreeNet, Tor, PGP and software of our own design.
    If they don't release the source for their custom/modified anonymity network, how do we really know it works?
    • by Enoxice (993945)
      Modified Freenet, Tor, AND PGP? That's going to be the slowest website EVER. And add the slashdotting to the equation and no one will ever be able to get to it...
    • by Jerf (17166)
      Eh, it'll get leaked sooner or later.

      (On a slightly less "+1, Funny" note, that'd put their ethics to a real test...)
  • Irony (Score:4, Funny)

    by OfficialReverendStev (988479) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:22PM (#17562300)
    I love the irony... the existence of a site about leaks was... yes... leaked. Fantastic.
    • May I suggest that you learn the meaning of the word "irony", there's nothing "ironic" about it at all.

      Ironic: happening in the opposite way to what is expected, and typically causing wry amusement because of this

      What's unexpected about the existence of a site that publicizes leaks getting leaked? Nothing. Obviously, the people who are interested in such a site are interested in leaking information, and its' existence won't remain secret for long.

      It's about as ironic as a news agency like CNN getting ment
  • I am *SO* going to hoax the hell out of them. :)
  • Spamy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Z Master (234139) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:23PM (#17562314)
    Sounds great and all, but I still remember the 8 emails I got from them, all to the same mailing list (which has no business being exposed beyond its members). A company that's willing to spam to promote its cause is not one that I'd be willing to support.
  • 2 big problems (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:23PM (#17562320)
    1. they're gonna get their asses sued nonstop because DUH most will be illegaly leaked
    2. Anyone can make up anything but unlike wikipedia, you can't just go and check and see if it's true somewhere because it's supposed to be classified and leaked so nobody knows about it. Everyone can deny everything and everyone can say everything is true and nobody really, really knows. I bet politicians will "leak" things about their opponents and opposing parties and all sorts of made up BSing situations like that
    • by balsy2001 (941953)
      I guess some people will sue (like movie stars and such), but most entities won't have to do much because of the reason you stated, they'll just claim it isn't true.
    • by balsy2001 (941953)
      If you sue the public will think it implies truth in most cases that are not defemation related.
    • Don't forget - Even if a document exposes something that wasn't meant for public consumption, those who *want* to sue will have to think this option through very carefully - once a suit is initiated, everything becomes public record.
  • by chazzf (188092)

    In case it wasn't obvious from the write-up, Wikipedia isn't associated with this project in any way. Calling it an "uncensorable version of Wikipedia" is very misleading; it doesn't sound like they'll be mirroring content or anything like that. Moreover, their "content" isn't theirs and certainly couldn't be released under the GFDL. Commentary by users, perhaps, but certainly not the source text.

    I predict a legal minefield here, depending on location. Unless they're negotiating with Prince Roy, I doubt t

  • One Word (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Penguinshit (591885) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:30PM (#17562470) Homepage Journal

    HONEYPOT

  • by iwein (561027) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:39PM (#17562672)
    Is this another attempt of the Saudi-Bush alliance to keep us under control? But wait, I have here a msn history of GeorgeW with OsamaB. Freshly leaked!

    GeorgeW: I like what I see, wanna get busy ;'#P#?
    OsamaB: No thanks, I'm watching a movie...
    GeorgeW: Not that boring Fahrenheit again PHULEASE :p
    OsamaB: :o LOL
    GeorgeW: (K)
    OsamaB: (L)
  • ...word got out on before they were ready...


    So it was leaked? Right :->
  • by mwpierce (1031662)
    Wikileak is sent documents about you!
  • by RichPowers (998637) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:51PM (#17562912)
    Someone with a pirated copy of Photoshop and a few graphics design courses can produce documents that will fool plenty of people. Until the site gets sued to oblivion, we should all enjoy the damaging "documents" that spill onto the Internet.

    I look forward to that CIA memo reminding Area 51 employees to keep the cryo freezers nice and cool so Marvin and friends don't decompose. We might also get some behind-the-scenes photos of Soundstange 56 where Stanley Kubrick filmed the moon landings (rumor has it that Neil showed up to the first shooting totally wasted). We might also see a few invoices addressed to the Bahamas for one "Elvis P."
  • There are many different levels, from "we don't demand you log in", to "we keep zero internal records of the times and history of when people view, let alone submit to our web site, and unless you ask us to immediately post it, we wait 1-20 days to post anything you put up making it more dificult to even guess who might have done what when"
  • Cryptome documents (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    After reading the documents decrypted on Cryptome to do with wikileak. I've come to the conclusion that this is just a front for CIA to destabilize governments that do not follow the unique US democracy.

    I just see no point in anyone ever having to contribute to this.

    The other point is, a wiki (central location) is not a good idea to distribute this type of static data.

    Tor or similar type of network with non-destabilizing search front ends would be a better way.

    And most of this data would be static, thus why
    • by dave420 (699308)
      If you read the page, you'd see they are suggesting using Tor. Also, the wiki is not for editing of the documents, but discussing them. Again, if you'd read the article, all of this is made painfully obvious.
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @05:20PM (#17563502)
    This type of anonymous whistle-blower system is mandated by U.S. Sarbanes Oxley Act, but is illegal under European privacy laws. SarBox says thou shalt support anonymous informants as a means of preventing fraud, corruption, etc. The EU says thou shalt NOT permit anonymous tipsters because that's how the Nazi's found so many Jews.

    It's a real conundrum for multinational companies.
  • I suppose this is founded on the idea that no corporation or government has any right to keep secrets. So people should engage in (in their words) "principled leaking" to "lead us to a better future". Freakin progressive morons. And since it's supposedly uncensorable, I suppose it won't be any trouble for those so inclined to leak secrets regarding construction of nuclear and biological weapons. I, for one, would be interested in finding Al Gore's home phone number and leaking that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by davesag (140186)

      I, for one, would be interested in finding Al Gore's home phone number and leaking that.

      I, for one, want to know what it is you have against Al Gore that you'd take such such action against him, over the hundreds of millions of others you could have targetted. I mean really, is Al Gore a worse person than George Bush, or Bill Clinton, or Anne Coulter or Michael Moore? Or Henry Kissinger? Or the Pope? I figure if you want to start sending crank calls to people there are lots more deserving than big Al wh

      • The Pope?

        I mean, there are valid reasons to hate the Roman Catholic Church (I don't subscribe to them -- I attend Catholic services -- but I can certainly understand them and I certainly think the Catholic Church is still doing quite a few things wrong). But the Pope personally? Do you really think he has that much power? There's a culture of powerful subordinates that are going to respect him as their spiritual father but not as their boss, and I'd blame them for the misdoings of the Vatican, not Mr. Ratzi
        • But the Pope personally? Do you really think he has that much power? There's a culture of powerful subordinates that are going to respect him as their spiritual father but not as their boss, and I'd blame them for the misdoings of the Vatican, not Mr. Ratzinger as a person.

          Why are you being such an apologist?
          He's the head of the organization and he's "infallible".
          What he says goes, or he can boot you from the church. Either way, this means that all these bad people are operating with his implicit appr
          • He's the head of the organization and he's "infallible".

            Only when he speaks with official authority (ex cathedra, etc.) regarding points of doctrine. If you see him on the street and he says "It's going to be a nice day today," that doesn't mean he had a revelation from God to that effect.

            What he says goes, or he can boot you from the church.

            Yeah right. Then why were there up to three "popes" at once in the early 1300s? Simple, because the Pope decided to boot people from the church, but the people said no
            • You just don't get it. A leader can't stop everyone from doing wrong, but it is his duty to take action when we DOES find out about it.
              Your newspaper analogy would be:
              The editor-in-chief of the New York Times may not be directly responsible for Jayson Blair's misreporting, but by taking no action when he does find out about it, he would be giving it implicit approval.

              Your comment about handling crime within their own ranks for thousands of years suggests a very ill-informed opinion. Whether it's the C
    • So people should engage in (in their words) "principled leaking" to "lead us to a better future". Freakin progressive morons.

      Seems to me the people who don't want corruption and illegal behaviour exposed are the morons...but hey, if you thought Nixon was an OK guy with a deep regard for proper democratic process, you're entitled to your opinion.

      I suppose it won't be any trouble for those so inclined to leak secrets regarding construction of nuclear and biological weapons.

      You do know Popular Mechanics publis
  • Even assuming this ever gets off the ground, just how do they plan to survive the nearly infinite number of lawsuits and subpoenas that are sure to follow?

    I mean, sure, maybe a few governments will ignore or pretend it doesn't exist, but can you really see one of the DOW 30 companies not try and find out who leaked the document? If anything, it will encourage more companies to adopt the trusted documents / readers / DRM fiasco.

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