Wikileaks. Highly Confidential Documents Made Available to Public.

By March 13, 2008 challenges governments and businesses to clean up their corruption by posting their documents for the public to see. Launched in December 2006, Wikileaks is a forum for the anonymous uploading of government and co

rporate documents for the global community to examine for their credibility. Because leaking such materials can carry punishments as severe as death in some countries, assures people that it uses “sophisticated cryptographic and postal techniques [in order] to minimize the risks that anonymous sources face.”

According to the website, their interest is “in exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East,” but they aim “to be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations.”

The website now has over 1.2 million documents covering 109 countries, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, but because of an unexpected surge in popular demand, the site will not be going live for several months. Still, Wikileaks has plenty of viewable classified documents aimed at exposing the corruption in various governments and corporations “for maximum political impact.”

Wikileaks believes “that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government, and stronger democracies.”

By disclosing sensitive documents for the betterment of the public, embraces the title “whistleblower site” and encourages its anonymous contributors to be referred to “as ‘investigative journalists,’ ‘analysts,’ ‘open government activists’ or, especially in an African context, ‘anti-corruption activists.’”

Although not associated with Wikipedia, it functions similarly to it. Anyone can submit documents to the site about anything related to government and corporate ethics, but before they are posted every article is reviewed by a team of professional journalists and anti-corruption analysts. People can also edit and submit changes to the articles they read, and such changes go through the same review process.

With such sensitive material, the website faces much scrutiny, namely by the corporations and governments it implicates.

Wikileaks has already been taken to court over documents posted on its website. On February 14th, 2008, Julius Baer Bank and Trust Company, a Cayman Island bank entity, filed an order prohibiting the site from disclosing documents they say contain "stolen or otherwise wrongfully obtained confidential and protected bank files and records."

Dynadot, Wikileaks' domain name registrar and web host, was initially forced to disable the domain name, but later it was restored. As of March 5, 2008 the case was dropped with a strong defense of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment of freedom of speech and of the press. Wikileaks has already won its first battle, and it will probably not be their last.

Access Wikileaks here or through a secured page:

By Danny Scuderi
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