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Ex-WikiLeaker has new plan for sharing

Herbert Snorrason, a graduate student at the University of Iceland, used to volunteer for WikiLeaks (WikiLeaks claims not to have any full-time staff). Together with several other ex-WikiLeakers, Snorrason is now building a WikiLeaks competitor, Openleaks.org.

Herbert Snorrason, a graduate student at the University of Iceland, used to volunteer for WikiLeaks (WikiLeaks claims not to have any full-time staff). Together with several other ex-WikiLeakers, Snorrason is now building a WikiLeaks competitor, Openleaks.org.

Why did you decide to start your own website?

Several of the members of my group had been involved with WikiLeaks, and left that group out of a disagreement with management. There was a general disagreement regarding how WikiLeaks should be organized, both in technical terms and regarding how it should be run. It became clear that our ideas would not be implemented within WikiLeaks. There was never any question of abandoning the idea; we believe it is a case of ‘the more, the merrier.’

How will your website differ from WikiLeaks?

WikiLeaks handles everything from receiving documents to the final publication, with several steps in between. This creates a dangerously centralized system that focuses responsibility, trust, workload and power in a single organization. We intend to split those tasks, and have no intention of publishing documents ourselves. Instead, we will collaborate with third parties that already have popular trust and the capability to analyze and publish documents. They’ll receive documents through our system. Additionally, we intend to build a knowledge base documenting the legal and technical obstacles that need to be overcome as well as ways to overcome them. The goal is to make it easier for others to start helping whistleblowers.

How can the legal hurdles be overcome?

They depend heavily on the specifics of the case. Regarding the State Department documents currently being released by WikiLeaks, I don’t see that there are any hurdles, only saber-rattling from U.S. politicians.

How will Julian Assange’s arrest affect the “freedom of information” community?

Time will tell. It’s far too soon to see the impact.

Is he a criminal?

I have no information beyond what has been reported in the media. There are very good reasons for the judiciary system used today, even if it is often subverted. On a purely personal level, I have already stated my position: If Julian is handed to U.S. authorities, I will be in the front row of his supporters.

 
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