• 10.09.09

Wikileaks Makes Muckraking Easier by Anonymizing and Protecting Sources


Wikileaks is like Wikipedia for sensitive information: a user-populated dossier of classified and leaked stuff, submitted by anonymous sources all over the world. Johnny Law has attempted to shut it down both domestically and abroad, but the bilge keeps flowing in. And now, the floodgates may be opening.


According to Slashdot, Wikileaks has announced a plan to create a leak “uploader” feature that news orgs can embed in their Web sites. The uploader will allow quick and anonymous submission of leaked material that journalists can use exclusively for a window of time–before Wikileaks pulls the information into its publicly available database.

The upload feature should give anonymous sources a safer, easier way to disclose sensitive information. It will also transfer legal responsibility for the material away from a given journalist and onto Wikileaks itself, a site that has proven very difficult for lawyers to thwart. And that may allow financially strapped newspapers to undertake risky stories that would have otherwise landed them millions of dollars in legal fees, as in seminal cases like the Pentagon Papers debacle in 1971. Pretty great–unless you’re the person or entity whose secrets are being leaked.

We covered Wikileaks earlier this week, when the site published the UK’s Ministry of Defense’s Defence Manual of Security–a document designed to help officials keep secrets off the Internet.

About the author

I've written about innovation, design, and technology for Fast Company since 2007. I was the co-founding editor of FastCoLabs.