Monday, Jan 15, 2007, 11:04 pm
Elizabeth Williamson in WaPo reports on Wikileaks.org.
Wikileaks.org is a Web-based way for people with damning, potentially helpful or just plain embarrassing government documents to make them public without leaving fingerprints. Modeled on the participatory, online encyclopedia Wikipedia, the site is expected to go live within the next two months.
The site, whose FAQs are written in flowery dissident-ese -- "What conscience cannot contain, and institutional secrecy unjustly conceals, Wikileaks can broadcast to the world" -- targets regimes in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but not exclusively. It was founded and partially funded, organizers say, by dissidents, mathematicians and technologists from China, the United States, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa. The site relies on a worldwide web of volunteers and contributors to post and vet the information, and dodge any efforts to shut it down. To protect document donors and the site itself, Wikileaks uses its own coded software combined with, for the techies out there, modified versions of Freenet and PGP.
"I think it's an intriguing effort," said Steven Aftergood, an open-government advocate who runs the Federation of American Scientists' Secrecy News blog.
"It's significant that their emphasis seems to be on relatively closed societies rather than the U.S. or Europe, that have a rather robust media sector.