Whistleblowing Wiki: coming soon to a corrupt governing body near you

A new venture: Wikileaks, will be set up to enable anonymous, untraceable “principled leaks” in the public interest.

Wikileaks was founded by Chinese dissidents, mathematicians and startup company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

Our advisory board, which is still forming, includes representatives from expatriate Russian and Tibetan refugee communities, reporters, a former US intelligence analyst and cryptographers.

There are currently 22 people directly involved in the project and counting.

TrustMe examines the idea:

The power of principled leaking to embarrass governments, corporations and institutions is amply demonstrated through recent history. Public scrutiny of otherwise unaccountable and secretive institutions pressures them to act ethically. What official will chance a secret, corrupt transaction when the public is likely to find out? What repressive plan will be carried out when it is revealed to the citizenry, not just of its own country, but the world? When the risks of embarrassment through openness and honesty increase, the tables are turned against conspiracy, corruption, exploitation and oppression. Open government answers injustice rather than causing it. Open government exposes and undoes corruption. Open governance is the most cost effective method of promoting good governance.

It’s a very interesting venture. How feasible will the anonymity/untraceability aspects prove to be? What sort of pressure will the site owners be subject to in various jurisdictions? Will it actually make a difference?

(Via)

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writer, singer, webwrangler, blogger, comedy tragic | about.me/vivsmythe

Posted in activism, Ethics, media
11 comments on “Whistleblowing Wiki: coming soon to a corrupt governing body near you
  1. professor rat says:

    This will supplement the existing Indymedia, blog and email lists already out there and so, should be good.

    I’d like to know what happened to the MIT open government project that started to list everyone in public service though. That was great!

    Also the Policy Analysis Markets plan was supposed to start up in 2004 – what happened to that?

    Don’t Wikileak on our legs and tell us its raining Totalitarian Information Agencies in Singapore please.

  2. grace pettigrew says:

    Is there not a chance that innocent people going about their daily business in the corridors of power could be vindictively and maliciously defamed with no recourse to clear their names? Risky business, seems to me.

  3. Craig Mc says:

    I can’t wait to leak to the world that ***** ***** kicks his cat. Not that I’m suggesting he’d do such a thing of course. In this forum.
    [name redacted by moderator]

  4. Craig Mc says:

    It was a joke Joyce.

  5. Craig Mc says:

    Seriously, Grace had already made the point. We only have to look at Wikipedia to see what would happen if “truthers” had free rein.

    I can see how attractive a system like this is to someone living behind an opaque curtain, but I also know how many budding Joe Vialls there are in wards with internet connections.

    I don’t know how you juggle the competing issues of: making people responsible for what they publish; and preventing people from being unjustly persecuted for exercising their free speech. Maybe by only allowing certain domains to post?

  6. tigtog says:

    Craig, mentioning the name of someone who is constantly harassed online, even as a “joke”, doesn’t meld well with our no-go for cyberbullying on LP.

    The point about anonymous slurs and how to regulate them in this brave new untraceable wiki-world is a good one though.

  7. wpd says:

    Grace, you are on the money. I had to undergo three Crime and Misconduct Commission inquiries, all based on anonymous complaints. BTW, I knew who the complainant was. All it took was a one sentence allegation written on a scrap of paper.

    Even though you know you are innocent, you can never be sure that those young lads in suits who invariably do the investigation might convict you on ‘the balance of probabilities’. A conviction helps with their statistics and perhaps performance pay or maybe even effects promotion. Such investigations increase stress levels, particularly as you approach retirement.

    Like being in opposition. Throw as many mud/grenades as possible. Damage as many as possible. All care but no responsibility.

    But there is also an upside.

    By and large the problem is not readily solvable.

  8. Lang Mack says:

    Wikileak in Australia, John Howard today announced while he can’t totally support the idea he has appointed Tony Abbot and Nick Minchin to the panel to keep things honest, and can also appoint others if necessary.

  9. JahTeh says:

    From the article I read in New Scientist, they intend to have everything edited the way Wikipedia is now.

  10. Craig Mc says:

    But how do you edit a leak? No editor could be in the position to know whether a single leak is genuine or not. If you’re going to require multiple independent sources before publishing, well, then you’ve got the mainstream media. On a good day. Thirty years ago.

  11. Graham Bell says:

    Everyone:

    Yippee!!!! This means a few decades of accumulated misdoings and neglect-of-duty by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs could see the light of day without the usual ever-reliable protection from a handful of accomplices and stooges in the ex-service organizations. And no need to wait several years for a cotton-wool Royal Commission either.

    Grace Pettigrew:

    I do share your concerns about vexatious, spiteful comments [been on the receiving end of completely unjustified nasty slander myself]. However, since some awful unjustices have happened without much, if anything at all, being done about them by politicians, journalists or those who are paid hansomly to protect ordinary citizens …… a whistleblower site might be the only avenue of redress left.

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