nettime's avid reader on Wed, 15 Dec 2010 13:38:48 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> let a thousand wikileaks bloom

Here Come The WikiLeaks Copycats: IndoLeaks, BrusselsLeaks And BalkanLeaks
Dec. 13 2010


When Daniel Domscheit-Berg defected from WikiLeaks in September to create 
his own leak-focused project, he told Der Spiegel that âthere must be a 
thousand WikiLeaks.â The four that launched in just the last few days 
arenât a bad start.

Last Thursday, a group of former European Union officials and journalists 
launched a site theyâve called BrusselsLeaks, focused on obtaining and 
publishing leaked internal information about the backroom dealings and 
secrets of the E.U. The Bulgarian newspaper The Sofia Echo reported on 
Saturday that a Bulgarian expat in Paris has set up BalkanLeaks, a 
WikiLeaks-modeled site that declares that âthe Balkans are not keeping 
secrets anymore.â WikiLeaks itself pointed on Sunday in its Twitter feed to, a whistle-blowing site that has already published revealing 
documents from the countryâs Suharto administration, though it seems to 
have since been brought down temporarily by technical glitches.

Though IndoLeaks wasnât visible Monday, the two other sites appear to use 
anonymous submissions systems similar in principle to the one that 
WikiLeaks offered until October of this year, when it stopped accepting 
documents. BalkanLeaks uses the anonymity tool Tor to protect its leakers, 
while BrusselsLeaks employs the encrypted messaging service Hushmail.

German former WikiLeak staffer Domscheit-Berg may be launching his own 
leaks site,, as early as Monday, though unlike WikiLeaks or 
its copycats, OpenLeaks wonât publish any documents, instead functioning as 
a cryptographically secure submissions box on other sites, a strategy that 
passes the responsibility for leaked documents directly to whatever media 
or activist organization a leaker wishes.

The challenge for any WikiLeak-alike site, especially those without a known 
figure like Domscheit-Berg, will be establishing credibility. Even 
WikiLeaks was initially rumored to be a CIA ruse in its early days, a 
conspiracy theory that still persists in some corners of the web. The 
controversy around WikiLeaksâ latest disclosures and the charges against 
its alleged source Bradley Manning will only make leakers more paranoid.

Those questions may be resolved with time, as the new sitesâ security and 
motives are proven out. BrusselsLeaks addressed the trust question, albeit 
vaguely, in a post Sunday: âHow do you know we are not a lobbyist or 
political group? Weâre not and in the coming months that should become 
plainly obvious,â the post reads. âThe people we know trust us personally, 
and if the website fails then so be it, we can carry on.â

WikiLeaksâ Julian Assange has been skeptical of other attempts at leaking 
sites in the past. In an interview last month, he told me that he wouldnât 
recommend any other sites following WikiLeaksâ model. âThere have been a 
few over time, and theyâve been very dangerous. Itâs not something thatâs 
easy to do right. Thatâs the problem,â he said, pointing specifically to a 
Chinese attempt at a leak site that âhad no meaningful security,â and âno 
reputation you can trust.â

But he was more positive about the prospect Domscheit-Bergâs spinoff group, 
OpenLeaks. âThe supply of leaks is very large,â said Assange. âItâs helpful 
for us to have more people in this industry.â

If even a fraction of the leaking sites that are beginning to surface prove 
credible and secure, then WikiLeaks may end up having an even larger impact 
than the government- and business-shaking leaks itâs already revealed; It 
may have planted the seeds for an entire new generation of secret-spilling 

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