Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wikipedia on Wikileaks

An interesting account, here:
Staff and funding

According to a January 2010 interview, the Wikileaks team then consisted of five people working full-time and about 800 people who worked occasionally, none of whom were compensated.[31] Wikileaks has no official headquarters. The expenses per year are about €200,000, mainly for servers and bureaucracy, but would reach €600,000 if work currently done by volunteers were paid for.[31] Wikileaks does not pay for lawyers, as hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal support have been donated by media organisations such as the Associated Press, The Los Angeles Times, and the National Newspaper Publishers Association.[31] Its only revenue stream is donations, but Wikileaks is planning to add an auction model to sell early access to documents.[31] According to the Wau Holland Foundation, Wikileaks receives no money for personnel costs, only for hardware, travelling and bandwidth.[45] An article in wrote

As a charity accountable under German law, donations for Wikileaks can be made to the foundation. Funds are held in escrow and are given to Wikileaks after the whistleblower website files an application containing a statement with proof of payment. The foundation does not pay any sort of salary nor give any renumeration [sic] to Wikileaks' personnel, corroborating the statement of the site's German representative Daniel Schmitt on national television that all personnel works voluntarily, even its speakers.[45]

Wikileaks describes itself as “an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking”. Wikileaks is hosted by PRQ, a Sweden-based company providing “highly secure, no-questions-asked hosting services.” PRQ is said to have “almost no information about its clientele and maintains few if any of its own logs.” PRQ is owned by Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij who, through their involvement in The Pirate Bay, have significant experience in withstanding legal challenges from authorities. Being hosted by PRQ makes it difficult to take Wikileaks offline. Furthermore, "Wikileaks maintains its own servers at undisclosed locations, keeps no logs and uses military-grade encryption to protect sources and other confidential information." Such arrangements have been called "bulletproof hosting."[46] Wired reported in July 2010 that is currently not possible to make submissions to the Wikileaks website. Assange responded that the submissions engine is currently being re-engineered.[47] Since 16 July 2010 the submission page is reachable again.
The Wikipedia entry posts an interesting list of prominent scoops, as well as a link to the Wikipedia profile of Julian Assange, director of Wikileaks. Thanks to this link on WaPedia's entry for Assange, I found this post from Assange's 2007 blog, that I think explains his rationale for Wikileaks:
Sun 31 Dec 2006 : The non linear effects of leaks on unjust systems of governance

You may want to read The Road to Hanoi or Conspiracy as Governance ; an obscure motivational document, almost useless in light of its decontextualization and perhaps even then. But if you read this latter document while thinking about how different structures of power are differentially affected by leaks (the defection of the inner to the outer) its motivations may become clearer.

The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive "secrecy tax") and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption.

Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems. Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.

Only revealed injustice can be answered; for man to do anything intelligent he has to know what's actually going on.