Home How OpenLeaks is Likely to Work

How OpenLeaks is Likely to Work

In September, a number of prominent personnel from the whistle-blower site Wikileaks, left that organization. They argued that its founder, Julian Assange, was autocratic and heedless of the safety of those whose names appeared in the leaks the organization released. He also over-focused on the U.S. and his political goals were untenable. In November, the group announced it was creating a rival organization, to be called OpenLeaks.

Although the site was scheduled to go live last week, it has been delayed until January. So we have cobbled together news reports and the founders’ words to sketch out an idea of how the site will work.

The Big Picture

OpenLeaks will provide whistle-blowers a way to upload leaked documents and to send them to particular recipients, such as newspapers, news channels, radio stations, non profit organizations, labor unions, governmental oversight groups and others. OpenLeaks itself, unlike Wikileaks, will not publish the leaked documents on its site. By-passing the editorial function is intended to keep the organization unencumbered political considerations.


Leakers will be able to upload the documents via a “dedicated submission website” integrated with the media partner’s web presence but funneling the information through the OpenLeaks architecture.

The leakers and the organizations via which they upload will be insulated from one another, as all leaks will go through the OpenLeaks site’s structure before it goes to anyone, regardless of where the leaker and the recipients are located. Given the political fallout from Wikileaks, the on-site uploads may prove a hard sell, though Domscheit-Berg claims the organization currently has about a dozen partners and is reviewing a large number of partnership applications..

If, after a specified time period has passed and the designated recipient elects not to use the leak, the OpenLeaks process will make the leak more widely available, though how they will do this is uncertain. Uncertain as well is whether a leaker may be able to designate a sole recipient, with the uploaded documents being purged if that recipient passes.

Corporate Culture

Domscheit-Berg has said he hopes for the organization to be more transparent than Wikileaks, a notoriously closed system, though it is uncertain how that transparency will be achieved.

Assange has written about Wikileaks as a government-impeding service, arguing that decreasing the efficiency of the current system of many governments will bring about a new, presumably better, system. OpenLeaks has made no such statements and seems to be trying to stay away from imposing either editorial intent or political intent, beyond a belief in the value of transparency, in government as well as other spheres.

Open Source

The code will, presumably, be open source, as one person associated with OpenLeaks has said, an aspect of the undertaking is “encouraging others to start similar projects.” Elsewhere, Domscheit-Berg has described Wikileaks as having “lost its open-source promise.”

Other Features

  • Versions of the website will be available in six languages, including legal and technical information.
  • The OpenLeaks website will aggregate links to stories and other publications making use of leaked materials.
  • The site will itself be overseen and guided by a foundation charged with those duties.

Top secret photo by Marcin Wichary | other sources: TechPresident | Zunguzungu | Dagens Nyheter | Wired

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