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OpenLeaks
May 20, 2012 3:13 PM   Subscribe

OpenLeaks has come into focus as a platform where leakers submit material specifying participating media organizations to receive early access as well as a later date for a full non-exclusive release. In principle, OpenLeaks cannot access the leaked documents themselves until this later release date.

Just fyi, Assange is faring better than expected in his bid for a Australian Senate Seat.
posted by jeffburdges (48 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I suppose one might summarize the recent history of leak site design as : WikiLeaks attempted crowd sourcing analysis of leaks, this failed. WikiLeaks replaced crowd sourcing with "scientific journalism", meaning traditional journalism but publishing the original source materials. WikiLeaks implements their "scientific journalism" idea by either (a) becoming independent journalists themselves, ala Collateral Murder, or (b) offering outside journalists exclusives access for a limited time, ala CableGate, depending upon the situation. OpenLeaks attempts doing (b) alone without ever doing any journalistic editing themselves, leaving all presentation issues to leakers and journalists.

Daniel Domscheit-Berg is optimistic that OpenLeaks won't be targeted for harassment by U.S. authorities like WikiLeaks. It's worth recalling that the U.S. authorities closed much of Indymedia through server seizures years before they shut down WikiLeaks through the financial blockaded by Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal, but again Indymedia was a journalistic organization publishing narratives the U.S. authorities disliked, not merely a technical tool.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:27 PM on May 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Have they leaked anything yet?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:31 PM on May 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Domscheit is a parasite. OpenLeaks is a non-public, non-accountable, non-productive joke.

Everything that Domscheit criticized Assange about was basically essential, in order to attempt to protect the privacy and security of his sources.... which, for better or worse, is a huge part of the reason why certain supposed leakers haven't been tried and convicted in a court of law.

Was Assange paranoid? Controlling...?!

Stupid question.

The real questions are: was he right to be so?
Who would you trust your anonymity to?
posted by markkraft at 3:35 PM on May 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Supporters of the left-wing Greens party were most likely to be pro-Assange, with 39 percent saying they would vote for him, meaning he had a good chance of wresting a Greens Senate spot, UMR's John Utting told the newspaper.

"There is clearly a significant level of support for Julian Assange which crosses party lines and is more concentrated amongst Greens voters," he said.
Leading to rumours he is going to run here in Tasmania, where Greens support is significant, and Greens leader Bob Brown is not running for reelection. I really can't see him running as a Greens candidate, though - I doubt he would be willing to pay lip-service to the entire suite of Greens policies, and I doubt the Greens would be comfortable with his ego.
posted by Jimbob at 4:35 PM on May 20, 2012


(A high potential to follow in the footsteps of that other famous Australian leaker, now federal independent member, Andrew Wilkie...)
posted by Jimbob at 4:37 PM on May 20, 2012


Did Assange sell the Bank of Amerca hard disk to the Russian mob? Why eps hasn't it been released?
posted by humanfont at 4:37 PM on May 20, 2012


Supporters of the left-wing Greens party were most likely to be pro-Assange, with 39 percent saying they would vote for him, meaning he had a good chance of wresting a Greens Senate spot, UMR's John Utting told the newspaper.

Good lord, is that what they're basing his support on? Hilarious. I just assumed someone had crunched some byzantine senate preference maths, and presumed the coalition would preference him over the Greens (though god knows why, he'd almost certainly be more obstreperous in the senate).

If they think half of greens voters will go for him over a greens candidate they are huffing paint. Voting intentions - especially senate voting intentions - have more rubber than truck tire at the best of times. This far out from an election, they're just fairy tales.
posted by smoke at 4:40 PM on May 20, 2012


It'd be interesting to see what UMR's research actually said. Assange getting 25 per cent first preferences, especially 23 per cent first preferences from Liberals, is ludicrous. As such, one must assume the polling question was something along the lines of "would you direct preferences to Julian Assange" or maybe even a series of 2-candidate matchups. In which case, as smoke says, it means almost nothing, just some puff-polling to keep Assange's bid in the papers.

The Greens will almost certainly not take Assange - the party's current arc is to build credibility with the mainstream, and accepting Assange in to the party is probably the quickest and most efficient way to ruin a decade of hard work.
posted by kithrater at 4:49 PM on May 20, 2012


Did Assange sell the Bank of Amerca hard disk to the Russian mob?

No, he didn't sell it to the Russian mob, exactly. He exchanged it with the Russian mob for some live human babies. That he could eat. Because he eats babies. And then kicked a puppy.
posted by indubitable at 4:50 PM on May 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


the party's current arc is to build credibility with the mainstream, and accepting Assange in to the party is probably the quickest and most efficient way to ruin a decade of hard work.

So who's more credible, Assange or Sarah Hanson-Young?

Maybe it's just me. I haven't been able to stand SHY since she was an Adelaide University student politician...
posted by Jimbob at 4:55 PM on May 20, 2012


Did Assange sell the Bank of Amerca hard disk to the Russian mob? Why eps hasn't it been released?

I've heard two versions of what happened:
1) Daniel Domscheit-Berg was in possesion of the encryption keys for the BoA stuff, and deleted them, hence it is now inaccessible
2) Wikileaks didn't find anything worth releasing among the BoA stuff (I heard it was the contents of an executives hard drive - perhaps nothing interesting was there)
posted by memebake at 5:03 PM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


So who's more credible, Assange or Sarah Hanson-Young?

Who can be trusted to respect the necessary quid-pro-quo of passing legislation, turn up and ask worthwhile questions in Senate estimates, attend and add value to parliamentary committees and inquiries, use their influence to further their political agenda, establish and maintain a voting community, and steadily increase their primary vote election after election? The Greens have demonstrated they can do this. I highly doubt Assange will demonstrate a capacity to do any of the above. As such, the Greens have political credibility. Assange does not.
posted by kithrater at 5:03 PM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


IIRC, the Australian government has just passed a suite of laws which would result in Assange being arrested and extradited to the US as soon as he touches down in Australian territory. Would he be able to run for office from outside Australian jurisdiction?
posted by acb at 5:05 PM on May 20, 2012


Afaik, there hasn't been anyone refuting the statement by DDB that "[Assange] has no role in creating the submission system and neither have I. And neither did I or he ever have access to that system", meaning other technical people defected with DDB. Also, the Chaos Computer Club rescinded their expulsion of DDB. I suppose DDB is roughly a project manager, but parasite sounds too harsh.

I'm happy if anybody gives OpenLeaks' tech only model a serious attempt. I'd prefer that OpenLeaks merely complemented more full spectrum activist journalistic organizations, like Indymedia and WikiLeaks. Yet, I understand when people flee organizations once harassment by the U.S. government starts : You're a technical person developing software. Julian can hide in mansions, but you've no such friends when the U.S. decides to kidnap you. I'd prefer the software was open source of course, but wikileaks never did that either.

Assange strikes me much like Steve Jobs, both exceedingly insightful people who brought brilliant ideas to life, well Assanbe's ideas were seemingly even his own while Jobs copies Xerox PARC, but both also extremely egomaniacal, ultimately losing control over their own organizations.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:08 PM on May 20, 2012


acb, here are the qualifications for being a Senator. Presuming Assange is on the electoral roll, he will be able to stand. However, he could subsequently be disqualified if he was elected as a Senator - either through being convicted, or non-appearance due to fear of arrest and conviction.
posted by kithrater at 5:14 PM on May 20, 2012


Would he have to show up in person in Australia to run for office though?
posted by acb at 5:19 PM on May 20, 2012


Nothing about that in the rules, acb. Just looks like (a) you have to be a citizen and (b) if you get elected, you'd better turn up to the Senate in person or you'll lose it.
posted by Jimbob at 5:33 PM on May 20, 2012


jeffburdges, I apologise for derailing your Openleaks thread with minutiae about the Senate and Australian party politics.

acb, I can't find anything that requires you to be in Australia during the election. Interestingly enough, Assange will likely need to renounce his British Citizenship - in 1998, Heather Hill was elected as a Senator for One Nation, but was later found to not have been validly elected in a 1999 ruling by the High Court. The Constitution prohibits citizens of a foreign power being elected, and in that case the UK was deemed a foreign power.
posted by kithrater at 5:33 PM on May 20, 2012


...or Assange would, were he a British citizen. My bad.
posted by kithrater at 5:47 PM on May 20, 2012


I think arresting and extraditing an Australian senator would be a bit politically difficult. Note that he can lose his seat by being convicted, but not merely by being extradited (s 44 ii). Also, presuming he's in Australia, it might be the case that he'd be protected from extradition by some form of Parliamentary privilege.

One avenue that might work would be a civil case that made him bankrupt (s. 44 iii). I don't know what would happen if he were sued in the USA but not Australia - you'd think that this provision would be very easy to misuse.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:22 PM on May 20, 2012


Assange's Senate run would apparently look for core support amongst the Greens yet he wants to run as a libertarian. This doesn't seem workable... as soon as the Green base starts asking him about policy issues beyond Wikileaks/freedom of information/international relations/criticism of corporations , that support will be quickly eroded.
posted by Bwithh at 6:26 PM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suppose I'm the one who dropped the Assange aside into the post while all the Australians were awake, kithrater. ;)
posted by jeffburdges at 6:31 PM on May 20, 2012


Of all the old/current political groups, the greens (I assume they are ecologists) are the group which has more to gain from a transparent, facts based approach to government.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 6:37 PM on May 20, 2012


"Did Assange sell the Bank of Amerca hard disk to the Russian mob? Why eps hasn't it been released?"

No. It was apparently in with the more than 3,500 unpublished sets of documents -- some of them well over 100 pages in length -- that Domscheit stole from Wikileaks and permanently deleted. The B of A docs were reportedly in there, as was the "no-fly list".

If you ask me, there is a very high possibility that Domscheit is working for someone / has turned informant... which explains, in large part, why he hasn't released anything of merit to anyone after being kicked out of WikiLeaks two years ago.

Indeed, Domscheiß was kicked out of Germany's Chaos Computer Club after lying a blue streak to them and refusing to accept their repeated offers of mediation as to the return to WikiLeaks of the stolen documents.

CCC's spokesman Andy Müller-Maguhn in an interview with Der Spiegel:

SPIEGEL: Last week former WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg announced the test start of his new project OpenLeaks. Have his conflicts with WikiLeaks been resolved?

Müller-Maguhn: Unfortunately not. The members of the CCC's board are not at all happy that Domscheit-Berg has aroused the impression that OpenLeaks will be tested by our people and thus earn what amounts to a CCC seal of approval. The CCC is not the TÜV (ed's note: a German safety certification organization). We won't allow ourselves to be co-opted like this. It was shameless.

SPIEGEL: Why so harsh? Domscheit-Berg is a member of your club. (Ed's note: This interview was conducted shortly before the CCC expelled Domscheit-Berg.)

Müller-Maguhn: The fact that he came to us from WikiLeaks played a large role in our receptiveness to him. That was his reputation. We were also sympathetic to his plan to build another platform. But now I doubt Domscheit-Berg's integrity. He is certainly quite flexible with facts.

SPIEGEL: How do you substantiate such serious accusations?

Müller-Maguhn: For 11 months, I have tried to intercede between Julian Assange and Daniel, because I know them both and I believe the idea of a whistleblowing platform is right. When Domscheit-Berg left WikiLeaks amid conflict there, he also took the archive and unpublished submissions with him. He said that he had no plans to use the material for himself or OpenLeaks. But now I have my doubts about that. I have put lots of patience and discussion into this. Still, flimsy excuses have led to unbelievabe delays in the handover of the archive. I can no longer believe in his willingness to hand over the unpublished material either.

SPIEGEL: Perhaps he can't surrender the material because he doesn't have it. Last week he told the weekly magazine Der Freitag: "I took no documents from WikiLeaks with me."

Müller-Maguhn: That is exactly the reason for me to suspend my mediation efforts. He told me last Thursday evening that he had to look at each document before handing them over. It doesn't match up. I have never personally seen the documents. But Assange told me that there are about 3,000 submissions, some of them with several hundred documents.

SPIEGEL: Domscheit-Berg argues that the confidential material isn't safe with WikiLeaks.

Müller-Maguhn: That's nonsense. I've visited Assange a number of times in England over the last 11 months. There I also saw more than 10 hard-working WikiLeaks employees from around the world. And Assange's mobility is limited by the electronic ankle monitor in any case.

SPIEGEL: Will Assange file a lawsuit against Domscheit-Berg?

Müller-Maguhn: For that to happen the material would have to be described in more detail. I don't believe he would do that, out of responsibility to the sources.

SPIEGEL: What does the mudslinging mean for future exposés?

Müller-Maguhn: Unfortunately I don't currently see a platform that can really simultaneously reconcile the responsibility to protect sources with transparency regarding its own structures. For me right now, OpenLeaks is nothing more than a cloud with promises of security.


(i.e. Domscheiß is blowing smoke.)
posted by markkraft at 6:37 PM on May 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


The simple fact is that the difference between a high level WikiLeaks staffmember and a black/white hat hacker is potentially very small, because they all move in the same circles, attend the same conventions, etc. There's a lot of fluidity in those circles, even though most people don't like to admit it. It's part of the reason why Assange was highly secretive and took such extreme steps for security in the first place. Nobody *wants* to have to invest large amounts of time and money if they don't have to.

If you were one of those who had trust and access to those documents -- the power to share or even destroy them -- then you could potentially profit from them too, to the limit and degree you are willing to either destroy data or rat your "friends" out. It wouldn't be that hard to contact the right people... assuming they didn't contact you first.

Maybe Domscheiß just spooked easily or was greedier or more egocentric than anyone suspected.
posted by markkraft at 6:48 PM on May 20, 2012


If that's true about the deletion of the BofA content -- chap deleted the content or the keys -- it indicates the difference between belief and vision. If he deleted them either out of fear or for profit, the weight of one of those values exceeded his belief that The Information Wants To Be Free.

Assange on the other hand has a vision for a society in which The Information Is Free... Which explains his activites and attitude. And makes him a potential candidate for politics.

If that dude did delete that data, we again are illustrated with two truisms. Self-interest is a hard master to best. And you are only as strong as the loyalty of your people.
posted by nickrussell at 7:16 PM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there any more detailed information about the Chaos Computer Club's debate that resulted in reinstating Daniel Domscheit-Berg's membership?
posted by jeffburdges at 7:32 PM on May 20, 2012


Indeed, Domscheiß was kicked out of Germany's Chaos Computer Club after lying a blue streak to them and refusing to accept their repeated offers of mediation as to the return to WikiLeaks of the stolen documents.

Did you actually read the article in the main link?

"Meanwhile, Domscheit-Berg's reputation has slowly mended. For example, a matter of weeks ago he was voted back into the Chaos Computer Club, and Andy Mueller-Maguhn was booted off their board. These developments indicate that the steady vindication of Domscheit-Berg, in the hacker world at least, is more or less complete."
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:38 PM on May 20, 2012


It appears his reinstatement was quite controversial though, not sure if Müller-Maguhn's views changed since August.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:44 PM on May 20, 2012


I still don't know if I trust Domscheit. Assange always seemed to have the fervent missionary zeal that showed a true belief in his cause of open transparency. I assumed, like Stallman and other's with that same unbending belief, that he was impossible to work with and most likely an asshole too. But he was always strangely trustworthy when it came to Wikileaks.

Also, I just wanted to say all this talk of the CCC and stuff makes me miss PHRACK and the old days.

But I don't know why I'm getting nostalgic, with the success of the Pirate Party, increasing resistance to SOPA and ACTA, it seems many of the hacker ethos is gaining widespread acceptance.
posted by formless at 8:29 PM on May 20, 2012


He exchanged it with the Russian mob for some live human babies. That he could eat. Because he eats babies. And then kicked a puppy.

It isn't a real Metafilter thread until Assange is simultaneously eating babies and kicking puppies.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:49 PM on May 20, 2012


There's one thing I don't understand: who needs Wikileaks or Openleaks or whatever? Couldn't a hypothetical whistleblower just open an anonymous email account and send stuff to journalists? Or perhaps do something more sophisticated involving Dropbox and emailed passwords?
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:51 PM on May 20, 2012


Couldn't a hypothetical whistleblower just open an anonymous email account and send stuff to journalists?

Well, this is kind of how Wikileaks started. It started off being "Mainstream media represents the man, they aren't going to publish the leaks that attack their paymasters, so send it to us over at Wikileaks!". Remember, way way back in the day, Wikileaks was an actual wiki, where pretty much everything they received went up there, and the public could interpret and comment on it?

Then Assange decided, after some fascinating leaks sat on the site for months with no-one giving a shit about them, that, in fact, leaks needed promotion - hence the "Collateral Murder" video with it's big release, and editorial interpretation. This got Wikileaks in trouble for not being real, unbiased journalists.

This is about the point where Wikileaks pulled down their wiki, and instead focused on doing partnerships with "real, respected" media organisations - receiving and collating the documents, then giving, say, The Guardian exclusive first publishing rights.

And now we have Openleaks, which aims to be nothing more but an anonymous conduit to mainstream media organisations. So it's come full circle.
posted by Jimbob at 9:06 PM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Open leaks? Trap.
posted by mobunited at 9:58 PM on May 20, 2012


Domscheid-Berg stole huge amounts of documents from Wikileaks and then deleted them. Considering that people risked their careers and, possibly, their lives to get these documents out this alone should make this guy toxic to any whistleblower.

He also spread the encrypted diplomatic cable file knowing that the key had leaked, thereby knowingly risking the outing of sources.

I wouldn't trust this guy with my grocery list.
posted by patrick54 at 10:44 PM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you ask me, there is a very high possibility that Domscheit is working for someone / has turned informant

Well, yeah. Domscheit doesn't even have to be a CIA informant or anything that exotic, just be a, well, dumb shit, a useful idiot who has been put forward as the acceptable face of leaking. Openleaks is set up to be completely useless other than as a conduit for information that the US government wants to be leaked.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:45 PM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


MUUUHHAHAHA.
posted by clavdivs at 9:54 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Open, leaks? Tap.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 1:08 PM on May 21, 2012


As opposed to Assange who actually works for President KGB Vladimir Putin's propaganda channel.
posted by humanfont at 1:36 PM on May 21, 2012


"Meanwhile, Domscheit-Berg's reputation has slowly mended. For example, a matter of weeks ago he was voted back into the Chaos Computer Club, and Andy Mueller-Maguhn was booted off their board."

That has nothing to do with his reputation.

From what I heard, what happened is that a couple wannabe leader types in the CCC who were friends of Domscheiß pushed the issue, because they didn't like the fact that someone could be booted from the club for lying, not cooperating with attempts to resolve a dispute over the theft, etc.

They never rehabilitated Domscheiß's reputation, or showed him to have not lied repeatedly to Mueller-Maguhn. They merely said that it shouldn't matter at all, and lowered the organization's standards to be more inclusive of dishonest, dishonorable behavior.

Given that Domscheiß admitted to the press that he took the data in question, then said he never took it at all, then started working with a coder on a project designed to release leaked data, then said that he wouldn't release it, then said he couldn't return it until he had personally inspected it all, then said that he destroyed it... well, no. His reputation hasn't been mended.

There is no honor amongst thieves; the CCC has merely become dishonor-inclusive.
posted by markkraft at 1:59 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


There isn't afaik any reason why leaks require monolithic organizations. We should create an open source server architecture that facilitates leak distribution through Tor hidden services, maybe roughly as follows.

Delivery nodes contact the outside world by either sending emails, offering web downloads, or seeding torrents. Repeater nodes anonymously pass data through the network until delivery with leaker programmed delays, like an asynchronous Tor. Repeater nodes are capable of subdividing messages using a secret sharing algorithm. Leaks are injected by creating a temporary repeater node. All nodes communicate using Tor hidden services because repeater nodes need some anonymity to hold data.

A small leak would simply be an email subdivided into multiple parts using secret sharing. A large leaks would consist of any encrypted download or torrent and an email directing the recipient to the download or torrent and providing the decryption key.

A proof-of-work type system could prevent the system from being used for spam.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:42 AM on May 23, 2012


Julian Assange loses appeal against extradition
posted by homunculus at 9:50 AM on May 30, 2012


Looks like somebody doesn't want to face charges in Sweden.

From a legal standpoint, I would not pick a Western Hemisphere nation. I would have picked Russia.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:54 PM on June 19, 2012


There is no honor amongst thieves; the CCC has merely become dishonor-inclusive.

Uh, didn't Assange accept stolen data in the first place?
posted by Ironmouth at 2:55 PM on June 19, 2012


Domscheit is a parasite. OpenLeaks is a non-public, non-accountable, non-productive joke.

Didn't Domscheit write the Wikileaks code and Assange take it and all the credit?
posted by Ironmouth at 2:56 PM on June 19, 2012


I believe Assange and Domscheit-Berg both said another figure wrote all the code. Did you even read the article linked here?

I'm happy that markkraft clarified that Domscheit-Berg's reputation has not mended after all, that's extremely clarifying.

There is no question that the world need massively more transparency, whether through legislation or leaks, as well as what Assange calls "scientific journalism". We've learned an awful lot from wikileaks about making that happen, certainly enough that an attentive leaker can maximize their damage without going through any organization.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:53 PM on June 19, 2012


Assange has skipped bail for Ecuador's embassy, popcorn time.
posted by humanfont at 5:40 PM on June 19, 2012


I believe Assange and Domscheit-Berg both said another figure wrote all the code. Did you even read the article linked here?

That's why I posed it as a question, because I read elsewhere that Domscheit had written the code.

Ecuador won't offer him asylum.

The funny thing about all of this is why somehow, the UK would be less likely to send him to the US for this potential prosecution than Sweden. It seems Sweden would be less likely. The UK is the US main aaly.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:34 AM on June 20, 2012


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