WikiLeakS.org "overloaded by readers" message and Freedom House

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The WikiLeakS.org servers seem to have come back online after the maintenance upgrade at their hosting provider in Sweden.

It is worth re-stating from the previous blog comment

Hopefully none of the SSL or Tor private cryptographic keys on the server hardware will be copied, and no sneaky software patches will be secretly installed, during the possible window of vulnerability presented by this physical re-location of the server hardware.

Some people seem to panic whenever WikiLeakS.org is offline or unreachable, for even a few minutes or hours.

We have experienced the occasional "overloaded by readers" message today. Over the months since WikiLeakS.org started generating media interest, there have been several times when similar messages have been displayed.

Perhaps this time it was as as a result of extra web traffic, due to the current media hype about the Geert Wilders video "Fitna" about Islamic extremism which has now been now pulled from LiveLeak.com (YouTube etc. never wanted it either). Videos are much , much, larger files than .doc or .pdf documents, and so they impose much more strain on the infrastructure.

Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature, and some ill informed reports from certain corners of the British media that could directly lead to the harm of some of our staff, Liveleak.com has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers.

This illustrates one of the the risks which WikiLeakS.org staff and volunteers also face, and why, perhaps, they try to remain anonymous.

Or perhaps this is all due to some more Scientology web traffic malarkey,

N.B. we keep telling people not to bother searching for any "leaked" content here on this WikiLeak.org blog, but that does not seem to deter some Google search engine users, who are perhaps non-native English speakers, and others, from repeatedly trying our simple blog search form over and over again .

Remember that every time you do this, you leave some electronic clues in our web server log files - it is surprising how many people from rival Swiss Banks and other international financial institutions were hunting for clues about Bank Julius Baer, for example.

Whatever the reason for extra traffic peaks, or perhaps for temporary reduced capacity of the WikiLeakS.org servers, there is a small clue to the sort of infrastructure which WikiLeakS.org is running on i.e. there seems to some very common reverse proxy cache load management going on, resulting, sometimes in a message page :

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Wikileaks is overloaded by readers

Wikileaks servers are currently overloaded by extreme popularity. Why not consider supporting Wikileaks so we can deploy more servers and keep fighting the good fight! See HERE for more information.

[... PayPal donations form]

Try again in a minute by pressing "return" on the website address in your browser address bar (do not press reload -- this will take longer).

[... email contact details]

N.B. the original "HERE" link to PledgeBank.org is currently missing a crucial "e"

Interestingly, at the bottom of the page is what looks like a Squid reverse proxy message says that it was generated "by cache.freedomhouse.org (squid)"

Interestingly "cache.freedomhouse.org" does not seem to resolve to have an external internet DNS entry.

"freedomhouse.org" is Freedom House which is a long established US based human rights lobbying group, who publish an annual report on the state of the world's tyrannies. The fact that they are large enough to have attracted US and other Government grants over the years, also attracts praise or criticism, depending on your own politics.

Whether or not Freedom House is officially actively supporting WikiLeakS.org is not at all clear. Whether or not such support would be a good thing, is also unclear.

Freedom House's web infrastructure seems to be confined to the USA, and it seems unlikely that they would be sharing internet infrastructure in Sweden, so perhaps this squid cache page is simply due to the some content or technical expertise being shared by the activists working for the core WikiLeakS.org group..

There is certainly some WikiLeakS.org style rhetoric text commented out in this web page source code reproduced below:

The first ingredient of democracy is a people's right to know, because without such understanding no human being can meaningfully choose to support anything, including a vote for a political party. Knowledge is the driver of every political process, every constitution,every law and every regulation. The communication of knowledge is without analogue. It is not a piece of furniture and it is not a man throwing a ball. It is unique and demands its own place at the summit of society. Since knowledge is the creator and regulator of all law, it must be placed beyond law.

That the world will change if there is ever truly free speech is not something to be afraid of, rather it is a way for the basic organizing principle of society, the communication of knowledge, to flourish. When knowledge is restricted, each man becomes an atom, unaware of his own destiny or of those around him.

Mankind has successfully adapted to electricity and the engine. It can also adapt to a world where state sponsored violence against the communications of consenting adults is not only unlawful, but physically impossible. It is time, as conversation flows accross international jurisdictions, to sum the great freedoms of every nation and not substract them. It is time for the world to come of age and say 'here I am!'.

Does anyone know if there is any financial or organisational connection between Freedom House and Wikileaks, or do they just share some individual activists and volunteers in common ?

About this blog

This blog here at WikiLeak.org (no "S") discusses the ethical and technical issues raised by the WikiLeakS.org project, which is trying to be a resource for whistleblower leaks, by providing "untraceable mass document leaking and analysis".

These are bold and controversial aims and claims, with both pros and cons, especially for something which crosses international boundaries and legal jurisdictions.

This blog is not part of the WikiLeakS.org project, and there really are no copies of leaked documents or files being mirrored here.

Email Contact

Please feel free to email us your views about this website or news about the issues it tries to comment on:

email: blog@WikiLeak[dot]org

Before you send an email to this address, remember that this blog is independent of the WikiLeakS.org project.

If you have confidential information that you want to share with us, please make use of our PGP public encryption key or an email account based overseas e.g. Hushmail

LeakDirectory.org

Now that the WikiLeakS.org project is defunct, so far as new whistleblower are concerned, what are the alternatives ?

The LeakDirectory.org wiki page lists links and anonymity analyses of some of the many post-wikileaks projects.

There are also links to better funded "official" whistlblowing crime or national security reporting tip off websites or mainstream media websites. These should, in theory, be even better at protecting the anonymity and security of their informants, than wikileaks, but that is not always so.

New whistleblower website operators or new potential whistleblowers should carefully evaluate the best techniques (or common mistakes) from around the world and make their personal risk assessments accordingly.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

The WikiLeakS.org Submissions web page provides some methods for sending them leaked documents, with varying degrees of anonymity and security. Anybody planning to do this for real, should also read some of the other guides and advice to political activists and dissidents:

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link: http://ht4w.co.uk

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual, by Irish NGO Frontline Defenders.

Everyone’s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide (.pdf - 31 pages), by the Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics by Human Rights Watch.

A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc - 62 pages), by experienced UK direct action political activists

Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress & Tor - useful step by step guide with software configuration screenshots by Ethan Zuckerman at Global Voices Advocacy. (updated March 10th 2009 with the latest Tor / Vidalia bundle details)

WikiLeakS Links

The WikiLeakS.org Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

WikiLeakS Twitter feeds

The WikiLeakS.org website does not stay online all of the time, especially when there is a surge of traffic caused by mainstream media coverage of a particularly newsworthy leak.

Recently, they have been using their new Twitter feeds, to selectively publicise leaked documents to the media, and also to report on the status of routing or traffic congestion problems affecting the main website in Stockholm, Sweden.

N.B.the words "security" or "anonymity" and "Twitter" are mutually exclusive:

WikiLeakS.org Twitter feed via SSL encrypted session: https://twitter.com/wikileaks

WikiLeakS.org unencrypted Twitter feed http://twitter.com/wikileaks

Internet Censorship

OpenNet Initiative - researches and measures the extent of actual state level censorship of the internet. Features a blocked web URL checker and censorship map.

Temporary Autonomous Zone

Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZ) by Hakim Bey (Peter Lambourn Wilson)

Cyberpunk author William Gibson

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us, UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

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FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond

Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

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Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

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Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

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Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

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Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

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Wikileaks.org - the controversial "uncensorable, anonymous whistleblowing" website based currently in Sweden.

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