Since Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s public disagreement with Julian Assange and his decamping from WikiLeaks, there hasn’t been a secure place for whistleblowers to drop off documents they wish to make public.
At the time, Domscheit-Berg and some other former WikiLeaks staffers announced the creation of OpenLeaks, which was supposed to accept documents that might not be as explosive as those published by WikiLeaks, but are important nonetheless.
That was all back in November 2010, but there hasn’t been many news about it since. The planned January opening of the OpenLeaks system for anonymous submission of documents didn’t happen, and finally Domscheit-Berg explained why. “We stated much too early that we were going to be online,” he said. “If you want to do this correctly, it takes time.”
According to Andy Greenberg, he and the other people involved in the making of OpenLeaks are determined to get it right, so on Wednesday they called upon the visitors and participants of the Chaos Communications Camp hacker conference to try to hack the test site.
They hope that the results of this crowd-sourced penetration test will allow them to improve the site’s stability and the security of the dropped off data, but most especially to ensure the complete anonymity of the whole process – a feature crucial for an endeavor such as this one.
“We need to be sure for the people who use such a system that it can’t be compromised,” said Domscheit-Berg. “Whistleblowers are the ones who take the risks. And they’re the ones that get screwed if something goes wrong. So it’s inherently important for us to make these people as comfortable as possible.”
OpenLeaks is not intended to be a perfect copy of WikiLeaks – the fact that the volunteers behind this effort have worked for and left WikiLeaks is indicative of their disagreement with some of WikiLeaks’ – or maybe that’s Julian Assange’s? – practices.
Among the things OpenLeaks will do differently is to have media partners. So far there are five: German Die Tageszeitung and Der Freitag, Danish Dagbladet Information, Portugese Expresso, and German non-profit organization Foodwatch. But, five more organization may join them if they come to a satisfactory agreement with the site.