WikiLeaks – Blowing Whistles since 2006

Just thought I’d share this interesting use of wiki technology. WikiLeaks is a place where sources anonymously upload or “leak” sensitive information without the fear of reprisal. Based in Sweden and in operation since 2006, it was started by Chinese dissidents, and is now used internationally. With 1.2 million uploads, it claims to “provide a forum for the entire global community to examine any document relentlessly for credibility, plausibility, veracity and falsifiability [sic].”

An “uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking,” WikiLeaks editorial board focuses on content “of political, diplomatic, historical or ethical interest.” Past leaks have included posts on Guantanamo Bay procedures, Scientology, Sarah Palin’s Yahoo emails, Australia’s proposed laws on Internet censorship, and toxic dumping in Africa.

It has recently been in the news after it leaked a 2007 video of US soldiers indiscriminately killing over a dozen Iraqis and two Reuters new staff from an Apache Helicopter flying over a Baghdad suburb. See Collateral Murder for more information.

Critics of WikiLeaks point out the fundamental problem of proving the authenticity of the leaked documents. WikiLeaks responds by arguing that the “simplest and most effective countermeasure is a worldwide community of informed users and editors who can scrutinize and discuss leaked documents.”

The site has had financial difficulties, and had to shutdown briefly in 2009. It claims to have 18 steadfast supporters, mostly from journalism, including the Associated Press, the LA Times, Hearst, Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, Citizen Media Law Project (Harvard), The E.W Scripps Company, and the National Newspaper Association.

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