Various German language online media are reporting that Daniel Domscheit-Berg has been expelled from the Chaos Communication Club after his presentation of the state of play of his OpenLeaks.org project at the 5 day Chaos Computer Camp at an ex-soviet airfield / military aircraft museum north of Berlin this week.
This is only the second expulsion of a member in the 30 year history of the Chaos Computer Club - the previous one was, apparently some neo-nazi who had been abusing their infrastructure.
There is no mention of this bickering on either the official https://ccc.de or https://openleaks.org web pages, the participants have, instead decided to give interviews to the media, without bothering to inform their supporters directly (a couple of thousand of whom were gathered at the campsite).
The test setup
From 12th to 14th of August 2011 this public platform is offered by German daily taz die tageszeitung, German weekly der Freitag, Portuguese weekly Expresso, Danish daily Dagbladet Information as well as the consumer protection organization Foodwatch; in cooperation with OpenLeaks. During this time you can upload documents, which will be worked on by the involved parties.
The goal of this setup is to invite you to do a security evaluation of the system during the Chaos Communication Camp 2011.
Surely nobody in the rest of the world, who is interested in the anonymity and security of whistleblowing website projects, ever considered that the temporary test server, set up in a in a tent on the outskirts of the main camp site infrastructure, was actually somehow being "officially" tested and "approved" by the CCC ?
Obviously, most of the people at the CC campsite were busy with the many other projects and causes, but some of the people with expertise and experience of whistleblowing website anonymity and security infrastructure, and relations with the mainstream media, were present and may have contributed to the discussions and the preview "testing".
As anybody who has attended these sort of hacker conventions should know, the mere act of putting up a webs server on the campsite network, will mean that it will be "stress tested" in a very hostile network environment, with lots of port scans and probes and attempts to hack into it and run denial of service attacks, but these would also happen if it was hosted at a major data centre.
But that should not be the only proper testing that the system gets before going live, a point on which here we agree with the CCC and which Daniel Domscheit-Berg also probably agrees with.
Endorsement by mainstream media brand names mentioned above provide far more public trust and credibility, whatever that is actually worth regarding a currently non-operational system, than any (non-existent) "CCC" branding or approval.
The CCC have never been known for having any kind of "approved by the CCC" branding or "approval" of computer or telecommunications projects and they are deluding themselves if they think they would ever be trusted internationally if they did so.
The CCC leaders' action (it is a properly registered legal entity with a board of directors, a constitution etc.) now gives the impression of siding with Julian Assange (who was never a member) against Daniel Domscheit-Berg.
As mentioned in his book, Daniel Domscheit-Berg and the other former WikiLeakS.org technical staff defector "the Architect", took away their own intellectual property and thereby disabled the "improved" WikileakS.org submission system
Julian Assange and his cult of supporters have never bothered to replicate even the shaky anonymity and security infrastructure which they were left with or re-launch a different, better, whistleblower leak submission and publication system, despite having plenty of volunteers and money to do so.
The president of the CCC Andy Müller-Maguhn, who some of us once elected to the board of the ICANN which regulates internet domain name registration and appeals procedures, seems to have been trying to mediate between Julian Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg for nearly a year over the return of this encrypted data to Julian Assange.
Since there is no evidence that the current WikiLeakS.org team is capable of handling the data securely (their current website does not even bother to use an SSL / TLS Digital certificate any more) they cannot be trusted any more than Daniel Domscheit-Berg can be.
The current OpenLeaks.org project may not yet have published its software as an Open Source project, which is what the purists at the CCC would like, but then neither has WikiLeakS.org nor any other whistleblower website.
Even if they did so, there is no guarantee that the specific computer and networking configuration settings and infrastructure used by a particular website are not actually counteracting any anonymity or security functions built in to the Open Source software.
All that the CCC board needed to do was to issue a press release making it clear that there was no official CCC endorsement of the OpenLeaks.org project.
The breakdown in mediation attempts the CCC may have tried between Julian Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg are not proper grounds for expelling the latter from the Club.
Some of the wrongdoers who have something to hide from public scrutiny and might therefore fear the OpenLeaks.org project, will be smiling to themselves at this display of disunity amongst the German section of the tiny minority of people around the world with the technical skills and attitude to make a difference.
Expelling Daniel Domscheit-Berg, without also criticising the current WikiLeakS.org cult, has damaged the reputation of the Chaos Computer Club internationally.
What about the Wau Holland Foundation and OpenLeaks.org ?
The registered charity the Wau Holland Foundation, which is controlled by CCC sympathisers, may not now be available the Openleaks.org project, as a channel for receiving financial donations from supporters, a service it currently performs for WikiLeakS.org.
If OpenLeaks.org gets some money from its media partners, this may not matter too much, but until there is a virtuous circle of whistleblower trust and actual mainstream media publication of leaks via OpenLeaks.org, they will always be short of money.
OpenLeaks.org may still be able to make use of PayPal etc., to receive financial donations from individuals, something which WikiLeakS.org no longer can do, as they have managed to annoy and get banned over the years, due to their lack of financial transparency and their perceived anti-American political bias.