backtop


Print 60 comment(s) - last by Lerianis.. on Dec 17 at 1:46 PM


Daniel Domscheit-Berg [right] used to be Wikileaks second-in-command. Disillusioned he left the site. Now he's founded OpenLeaks and is calling out Wikileaks' recent questionable behavior.  (Source: AFP)

OpenLeaks, Wikileaks' new rival, promises greater transparency and discretion.
Who's watching the watchmen?

Most would agree that there is a need for whistleblowing outlets in the media.  Without the scrutiny of exposé reporting, there are serious questions concerning whether the civilian government, military, and corporate businesses would exchange integrity for potential foul gains. 

With media shifting online, the web seems a natural home for a whistleblowing endeavor.  But the real question is -- who should be entrusted with such a vital mantle 

Criticism From Within 

Daniel Domscheit-Berg, like Wikileaks' notorious founder, Julian Assange, was a member of a high-profile early hacking community.  Whereas Mr. Assange frequented the Zen/Pacific Island servers in Australia, Mr. Domscheit-Berg was a member of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) in Germany.  

When Mr. Assange looked to open Wikileaks, Mr. Domscheit-Berg was already familiar with famous Australian who had committed cyber-crimes under the named "Mendax".  He agreed to participate in the project, and for a time assumed the position of both spokesperson for the site and its number-two commander behind Mr. Assange. 

But in recent months, the German technology expert became troubled with Mr. Assange's leadership and Wikileaks’ lack of transparency.  He also indicates that recent leaks were badly botched and questionable. 

In response he has created a new site, with firm ethics guidelines, dubbed OpenLeaks. 

Leaks:  Who to Trust? 

When it comes to whistle blowing, the question of who to trust is a critical one.  After all, it's far too easy for international cyberespionage to masquerade under the guise of "whistle blowing" as some have accused Wikileaks of intentionally or unintentionally doing. 

Ideally a whistleblower must have a certain degree of respect for the government or institution he's exposing.  Or perhaps more aptly, they should desire to improve it through their actions, rather than destroy it. 

Mr. Assange in recent interviews espouses such morals, but his writings from the 1990s reveal a man who's firmly anti-government, to the point of advocating anarchy.  In a 1997 book, Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier, which Mr. Assange did research for, he voices such opinions. 

In the book, he and the author Suelette Dreyfus write:

As he quietly backed out of the system, wiping away his footprints as he tip-toed away, Mendax [Assange] thought about what he had seen. He was deeply disturbed that any hacker would work for the US military.

Hackers, he thought, should be anarchists, not hawks.

Such a statement could be construed as off-the-cuff, but at least one source who was a member of Mr. Assange's Australian hacking circle, who did not want to be named, confirmed that Mr. Assange had advocated such anarchic ideals.

And the recent leaks from Wikileaks certainly seemed more of a bid to destabilize U.S. foreign policy, rather than merely call it out for wrongdoing.  While the blame for the publication of recent leaks like a list of top targets for terrorists to harm U.S. national security rests partly on cooperating publishing organizations, such as The New York Times, one has to question why Wikileaks published them in the first place. 

If its goal was merely to report wrongdoing, why was it releasing loads of cables, many of which contained embarrassing or dangerous secrets (vulnerable locations, undisclosed illnesses of world leaders, or political tensions) but seemingly had little to do with wrongdoing? 

OpenLeaks: New Leaks Site, New Perspective

Mr. Domscheit-Berg left Wikileaks some time ago -- and he is not alone.  In the last year or two, particularly after the recent round of leaks, many of the site's top volunteers have abandoned it, questioning whether the site is abandoning its morals for a darker agenda. 

Mr. Domscheit-Berg sums up the sentiments of these former volunteers, stating, "In these last months, the organization [Wikileaks] has not been open any more, it lost its open-source promise." 

When asked about Mr. Assange's leadership in a recent interview, he comments, "It has weakened the organization.  [T]oo much focused on one person, and one person is always much weaker than an organization." 

He and his fellow volunteers have launched a new site OpenLeaks website, which is now live (www.openleaks.org).  The site has not yet published any leaked information, but plans to begin by writing short essays analyzing information it has obtained. 

For his part, Mr. Domscheit-Berg promises more transparency and discretion.  Whereas Wikileaks does not disclose details on its leadership structure or finances, OpenLeaks plans on publishing reports detailing its procedures.  

Similarly, Mr. Domscheit-Berg says that if he happens upon a treasure trove of information, like the illegally obtained U.S. State Department cables that were recently published by Wikileaks, that he would be more selective about what is passed to the media. 

He says that by carefully reviewing the material, you kill two birds with one stone.  First, you ensure that each leaked document really necessitates publication under whistle-blowing grounds, allowing extraneous documents to be eliminated.  And secondly, by taking a slower, more considered approach, OpenLeaks hopes to not burn through its supply of leaked info as Wikileaks is thought to have.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By stmok on 12/13/2010 6:35:26 PM , Rating: 2
AliShawkat says...
quote:
Doing everything they can to make Assange look bad in the public eye!


Who's they?

OpenLeaks was formed by folks who used to be from WikiLeaks.

This is analogous to members of an open source software project deciding to fork because they didn't agree with the direction or the leadership. (The most recent example is The Document Foundation forking OpenOffice into their own LibreOffice. This is mainly because Oracle killed OpenSolaris in the way it did.)

In the case of online whistle-blowing; Assange has demonstrated that he is using WikiLeaks as a tool for his anti-govt/anti-corporate/anarchist ideals.

Instead of using the power he has to change the world in a good way; he chose to seek the path of chaos. ie: Light the fire, damn the consequences, and see how far it burns.

Its short-term thinking. Its also reckless, because he has created enemies unnecessarily. ie: Having the whole US Govt gunning for you isn't a pleasant experience!

If he was more strategic in his thinking (on a Ghandi level); he would have went for pointing out the injustices of the corrupt and offer a very researched suggestion (maybe impart his wisdom), in how they could change for the better. It could be via an online paper, public/university presentations, etc. But this should NOT be in your typical "crazy advocate" tone such that people laugh and ignore you. It must be wise and understanding...This would get the backing of the masses and cooperation by gaining the moral high ground. (I don't doubt if the cause is just; one would also gain a few celebrities on your side! That's access to another demographic!)

Essentially, I'm saying one doesn't need to destroy the existing system in order to destroy corruption. A mature/wise person would use the information they have to get people to re-think and change. The goal is to use the power of cooperation in a good way. (I rather turn an enemy into a friend, than continually make even more powerful enemies.)

Think about it: if you are anti-corporate, wouldn't it be easier to put the CEO in a position where he chooses to talk to you on his own accord? To actually have the person who can make the difference, listen to you and change their company's direction? (It certainly beats mindlessly protesting...Which to be honest, is ineffective in today's world.)

My overall point?

Assange is trying to change things by applying chaos on the system. The system will respond by fighting back.

I'm saying change the system by getting people to understand and realise they can do things differently. Use the system, but apply leadership to change for the better.


By rmclean816 on 12/13/2010 10:38:26 PM , Rating: 2
By rmclean816 on 12/13/2010 10:39:58 PM , Rating: 2
Why's = Who's


"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki