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ACM Opinion

The Wikileaks Paradox


Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, doesn't know who leaked the thousands of Afghanistan war documents that his site posted this week. That's not unusual—it's how WikiLeaks works. To get a scoop to WikiLeaks, a would-be whistle-blower clicks the Submit Documents button on the site's home page, then uploads a file through a form that encrypts every interaction between the source and the site.

WikiLeaks keeps no logs of the submission, and the site says that it is legally bound, under Sweden's press secrecy laws, never to cooperate with any investigation into the identity of the source. The site takes several additional measures to scrub submitted documents of any information that could compromise the leaker, removing any ID trails left by word processing software, for instance.

The site also constantly feeds fake submissions through its network in order to fool potential attackers. "We have never lost a source," Assange declares in his pitch to whistle-blowers around the world. "None of our sources has been exposed or come to harm."

At the same time, WikiLeaks says its founding mission is radical transparency...

From Slate
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