Recently in Collateral Damage to Innocents Category

Just what sort of media, whistleblower source protection, anti-libel tourism etc. legislation , are Julian Assange , Daniel Schmitt and the other WikiLeakS,org activists actually helping to draft in Iceland ?

Chris Vallance from the BBC has an article and video interview with some of those involved: Wikileaks and Iceland MPs propose 'journalism haven'

Coupled with Iceland's attractions for companies looking for cheap, non-carbon cycle electricity and cooling for their internet server farms, such legal protection could be very attractive to "cloud computing" and publishing services.

Will WikiLeakS.org get some server space and bandwidth in Iceland ?

Perhaps they should firstly pay US$ 250 for the wiikileaks.is Icelandic domain name registration (limited to Icelandic citizens) ?

Will the Icelanders manage to shame the increasingly repressive and hypocritical European and North American Governments into sorting out their own equivalent laws, which also badly need reform in the internet age ?

Here are some more details of what is being proposed:, but not an actual detailed legal Bill:

Icelandic Modern Media Initiative - Proposal

The annual congress held by the German Chaos Computer Club, between Christmas and the New Year, yet again provided WikiLeakS.org with a chance to communicate some of their activities, in front of an enthusiastic, highly information technology literate audience.

Video of the presentation, in several online formats is now available online:

26C3: Here Be Dragons video recordings

Daniel Schmitt and Julian Assange gave an update of some recent WikiLeakS.org activities:

3567 WikiLeaks Release 1.0 mp4 iProd mp3 ogg

Rather strangely, they claimed that they know of no other working whistleblower service , and so seem to be planning to extend to Corporate and Government whistleblowers, their Knight foundation funding application idea of letting local newspaper wbesites use a bit of web server code to provide a secure whistleblowing channel via the WikiLeakS.org infrastructure.

Given the various whistleblower hotline and other services which exist, mostly in response to the Sabarnes-Oxley Act legal requirement (with a criminal penalty of up to 10years in prison) to protect whistleblowers, at least for United States regulated financial industry companies etc., this claim seems a bit elitist.

Do they totally dismiss the work done by, for example,

http://whistleblowers.org

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is a 30-year-old nonprofit public interest group that promotes government and corporate accountability by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers, and empowering citizen activists. We pursue this mission through our Nuclear Safety, International Reform, Corporate Accountability, Food & Drug Safety, and Federal Employee/National Security programs. GAP is the nation's leading whistleblower protection organization.

Again, as with our criticism of the Knight Foundation local media funding application, we are not sure how offering such a website plugin would prevent the people who very publicly offer it , from being targeted by lawyers or government agencies in their local jurisdictions, who tend to use legalistic wording like "publishes or causes to be published", even if they are effectively powerless over WikiLeakS.org itself.

However, the most interesting part of the WikiLeakS.org talk, was their report on the their trip to Iceland in November.

Julian and Daniel managed to get themselves onto the Icelandic political mainstream media, to talk about the WikiLeakS.org project, because, at the end of August 2009, WikiLeakS.org published the loan book of the failed Kaupthing Bank.

The whistleblower leak allowed the Icelandic public to see where the missing billions were initially siphoned off to, immediately prior to this bank's collapse.The failure of this bank, helped to destroy the current Icelandic economy, and precipitated hitherto unheard of riots in the streets of Reykjavik, and a change in government.

Iceland is trying to restructure its debt laden economy, to take advantage of its almost limitless cheap electricity from green hydro electric and geo-thermal sources, and its small but highly computer literate population of about 300,000 people, and its mid -Atlantic time zone location, by hosting some large computer and internet hosting data centres.

The WikiLeakS.org team suggested that Icelandic legislators should take this opportunity to pass the best free speech, whistleblower protection, personal privacy, data protection, copyright and libel laws etc., modeled on best practice around the world, to allow Iceland to become a Publication Data Haven.

This idea seems to have impressed some Icelandic legislators, who seem to be preparing some legislation for consideration by the end of this month January 2010 (another advantage of a small state).

Daniel and Julian are rightly sceptical that such plans might succeed , if the Icelandic politicians wait until after Iceland attempts to join the European Union, as there are a lot of vested interests, lobbyists and bureaucrats who would oppose such laws.

The incompetent UK Labour Government, which failed to regulate UK banks and financial institutions, and which precipitated the Icelandic banking collapse , by seizing Icelandic financial assets, in the most insulting way possible, by abusing anti-terrorism money laundering legislation, (see Icelanders are NOT terrorists!) together with the governments of the Netherlands and Denmark etc,, are using the carrot of European Union membership, to pressure / blackmail the Icelanders into promising to pay the debts of this and other failed Icelandic banks, to the often greedy or incompetent investors from those countries, who should have been aware of the commercial risks associated with the "too good to be true" high interest rates being offered. The Government / Bank failures in the UK or the Netherlands etc. were much larger than the Icelandic ones, but did not affect all of their financial sector in the same way.

Also of interest to WikilLeakS.org whistleblowers and journalists etc.is the presentation by Roger Dingledine.showing how the Tor anonymity cloud helped in last year's increases in censorship of the internet by the control freaks currently in power in Iran and China etc.

3567 Tor and censorship: lessons learned mp4 iProd mp3 ogg

Roger appealed to his audience of Tor users, to please set up some more voluntary Tor Bridge Relays, which do not appear in the main, easily censored or blocked, public Tor Directory.

Note also Roger's hint about the current uncensorability of IPv6 connections.

This blog has had the expected surge in traffic, as WikiLeakS.org failed to cope with the demand for the second alleged "BNP Membership list".

People from organisations such as the UK Ministry of Defence, from Boldon James a Qinetiq subsidiary specialising in secure messaging systems for the military and intelligence agencies, Grampian Fire Service, several UK Universities. Gloucestershire County Council, the University of Oxford, University College London, University of York, Leeds Metropolitan University etc (a sad reflection on the poor internet research skills of some university students, academics or administrators), have all attempted to search for this "BNP Membership List" here on this blog (obviously without success), presumably whilst the WIkiLeakS.org website has been overwhelmed by demand There have been multiple attempts to search for this from Pakistan.

As with the previous list, there will be several fake or erroneous entries, which the armchair "anti-fascism" campaigners will abuse to besmirch innocent people as "racists". Why should innocent people's personal details be spread over the internet like this ?

There were plenty of reports about such abuses after WikiLeakS.org published the first leaked list, but they have persisted in doing so again, and have hyped up mainstream media interest in the "story".

What happens when other alleged lists of political or religious groups are published on WikiLeakS.org , in contravention of the principles of Data Protection as applied to Sensitive Personal Data ?

What happens when such lists are used by extremists or the mentally unstable to target people for harassment or death threats ?

Will WikiLeakS.org publish lists of political opponents and dissidents in other countries apart from in the United Kingdom ?

How would publishing the name, address, telephone and other details of say Chinese, Burmese, Iranian, Cuban, Kenyan or Zimbabwean etc.political opponents to the ruling regimes be any morally different to publishing these BNP lists ?

This "collateral damage" against innocent, law abiding people, destroys any kudos which WikiLeaKs.org may have merited through its publication of the Trafigura / Carter-Ruck "super injunctions" and the the Minton report.

It looks as if the WikiLeakS.org core team journalists and activists might perhaps have succeeded in getting their first mainstream media customer, for the method of funding which Julian Assange proposed i.e. "exclusive" access to a leaked document, ahead of its publication on WIkiLeakS.org.

BNP hit by second leak of 'members database'

Robert Booth, Helen Pidd and Paul Lewis
guardian.co.uk, Monday 19 October 2009 21.36 BST

The BNP is bracing itself for potentially fresh embarrassment tomorrow when details of the party's rank and file UK membership are expected to be posted on the internet.

The list, which purports to be a snapshot of the party's support in April this year, includes the names, addresses, postcodes and telephone numbers of people who have signed up to the far-right group, including the grade of membership assigned by the party - standard, family, family plus, gold, OAP, and unwaged.

This list was leaked to a website, which insisted today that it was genuine, and that it intended to publish the information tomorrow.

Not how this article does not mention WikiLeakS.org, even though:

The Guardian has seen the list, but could not verify its authenticity.

As Julian has rightly pointed out, giving stuff for free to the lazy or heavily under resourced or legally gagged mainstream media, by simply publishing it online does not get it reported or analysed or discussed by the mainstream media or the blogosphere or the twitterverse.

WikiLeakS.org or most probably Julian himself, in fact have to hawk the "story" around various mainstream "News" outlets, who are extremely reluctant to ever mention WikiLeaks.org as the indirect source, and almost never report the http://WikiLeakS.org URL, let alone a specific link to the actual article or leaked document itself.

The mainstream media do pay for stories, but only for "exclusives", which theeir commercial rivals then happily steal of each other, often without attribution, so this is , in one sense, entirely logical and predictable.

However, usually, a mainstream media organisation is dealing directly with a whistleblower or with an agent or middleman, who, although they might not know, or might claim not to know who the actual whistleblower is, has been empowered by the whistleblower to negotiate financially or otherwise with the mainstream media organisation.

This is not the case with WIkiLeakS.org.

Nowhere during the WikiLeakS.org document submission work-flow is there any mention that the leak which you are proving for free, is going to be arbitrarily delayed from online publication by WikiLeaks.org.for financial reasons, or for their own political agenda.

The ability to set a delay or a random delay between actual leaked document submission and online publication is an important optional feature of the technology. Used properly, it can add "Plausible Deniability", or strengthen the alibi of a whistleblower at risk of exposure. Obviously not every whistleblower needs or uses this feature.

However, it is not morally right, for WikiLeakS.org to arbitrarily take over the timing and release of a whistleblower document, simply to give itself "exclusives", which it has not itself paid for, but which it hopes to get money from a mainstream media partner, or which suit the political activists' own hidden agendas.

At the very least, they should obtain the prior, informed consent from the whistleblower specifically allowing WikiLeaks.org to act as more than just politically neutral technology assisted publishers, and more as a Public Relations agency on their behalf.

Since there is no longer any private and secure method of communicating with the WikiLeakS.org team, after they abandoned their use of PGP Encryption for email privacy or for digital signatures, there is no way for a whistleblower to negotiate the terms of how WikiLeaKs.org intends to promote the story to the mainstream media.

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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