Details are emerging about the spinoff of the former Wikileaks volunteer:
“The German Domscheit-Berg, along with several other former Wikileaks staffers, plans to launch a website they’re calling OpenLeaks as early as next week, Domscheit-Berg told Forbes in an interview. Like WikiLeaks, the new site will allow leakers to anonymously submit information to a secure online dropbox. But unlike its parent site, it won’t publish that information itself. Instead, it will allow the source to designate any media or non-governmental organizations he or she chooses and have that information passed on for fact-checking, redaction and publication. That difference, argues Domscheit-Berg, will allow OpenLeaks to accomplish much of the transparency achieved by WikiLeaks, without drawing the same political fury and legal pressure.
“To constrain the power of the site, we’re splitting submission from the publication part. We won’t publish any documents ourselves. The whole field is diversified,” says Domscheit-Berg. “No single organization carries all of the responsibility or all of the workload.”
Resource constraints, as Assange told me in an interview last month, have forced WikiLeaks to choose only its “highest impact” material for publication. But those constraints have also politicized WikiLeaks and forced it to make subjective decisions about its targets, Domscheit-Berg argues. “We want to be a neutral conduit,” he says. “That’s what’s most politically sustainable as well.”
OpenLeaks will integrate with the organizations it passes information to, functioning as a secure tip box on their sites. Those organizations can choose to store leaked information on their own servers or leave it in the hands of OpenLeaks, Domscheit-Berg says. “All this is cryptographically separated in a fashion that everyone has their own dedicated part of the system,” he says.
The project will initially partner with five newspapers worldwide, but soon expand to anyone who wants to participate. “Newspapers, NGOs, labor unions, anyone who wants to receive information from anonymous sources, we enable all these people to run something like this,” says Domscheit-Berg.
And if the recipient organization chooses not to publish a leak? After a time designated by the source, the leaked material can be sent to other media outlets. “If a newspaper doesn’t publish it, it will be shared,” says Domscheit-Berg. “They can’t just put it in a drawer.”