This blog has had the expected surge in traffic, as WikiLeakS.org failed to cope with the demand for the second alleged "BNP Membership list".
People from organisations such as the UK Ministry of Defence, from Boldon James a Qinetiq subsidiary specialising in secure messaging systems for the military and intelligence agencies, Grampian Fire Service, several UK Universities. Gloucestershire County Council, the University of Oxford, University College London, University of York, Leeds Metropolitan University etc (a sad reflection on the poor internet research skills of some university students, academics or administrators), have all attempted to search for this "BNP Membership List" here on this blog (obviously without success), presumably whilst the WIkiLeakS.org website has been overwhelmed by demand There have been multiple attempts to search for this from Pakistan.
As with the previous list, there will be several fake or erroneous entries, which the armchair "anti-fascism" campaigners will abuse to besmirch innocent people as "racists". Why should innocent people's personal details be spread over the internet like this ?
There were plenty of reports about such abuses after WikiLeakS.org published the first leaked list, but they have persisted in doing so again, and have hyped up mainstream media interest in the "story".
What happens when other alleged lists of political or religious groups are published on WikiLeakS.org , in contravention of the principles of Data Protection as applied to Sensitive Personal Data ?
What happens when such lists are used by extremists or the mentally unstable to target people for harassment or death threats ?
Will WikiLeakS.org publish lists of political opponents and dissidents in other countries apart from in the United Kingdom ?
How would publishing the name, address, telephone and other details of say Chinese, Burmese, Iranian, Cuban, Kenyan or Zimbabwean etc.political opponents to the ruling regimes be any morally different to publishing these BNP lists ?
This "collateral damage" against innocent, law abiding people, destroys any kudos which WikiLeaKs.org may have merited through its publication of the Trafigura / Carter-Ruck "super injunctions" and the the Minton report.
It looks as if the WikiLeakS.org core team journalists and activists might perhaps have succeeded in getting their first mainstream media customer, for the method of funding which Julian Assange proposed i.e. "exclusive" access to a leaked document, ahead of its publication on WIkiLeakS.org.
Robert Booth, Helen Pidd and Paul Lewis
guardian.co.uk, Monday 19 October 2009 21.36 BST
The BNP is bracing itself for potentially fresh embarrassment tomorrow when details of the party's rank and file UK membership are expected to be posted on the internet.
The list, which purports to be a snapshot of the party's support in April this year, includes the names, addresses, postcodes and telephone numbers of people who have signed up to the far-right group, including the grade of membership assigned by the party - standard, family, family plus, gold, OAP, and unwaged.
This list was leaked to a website, which insisted today that it was genuine, and that it intended to publish the information tomorrow.
Not how this article does not mention WikiLeakS.org, even though:
The Guardian has seen the list, but could not verify its authenticity.
As Julian has rightly pointed out, giving stuff for free to the lazy or heavily under resourced or legally gagged mainstream media, by simply publishing it online does not get it reported or analysed or discussed by the mainstream media or the blogosphere or the twitterverse.
WikiLeakS.org or most probably Julian himself, in fact have to hawk the "story" around various mainstream "News" outlets, who are extremely reluctant to ever mention WikiLeaks.org as the indirect source, and almost never report the http://WikiLeakS.org URL, let alone a specific link to the actual article or leaked document itself.
The mainstream media do pay for stories, but only for "exclusives", which theeir commercial rivals then happily steal of each other, often without attribution, so this is , in one sense, entirely logical and predictable.
However, usually, a mainstream media organisation is dealing directly with a whistleblower or with an agent or middleman, who, although they might not know, or might claim not to know who the actual whistleblower is, has been empowered by the whistleblower to negotiate financially or otherwise with the mainstream media organisation.
This is not the case with WIkiLeakS.org.
Nowhere during the WikiLeakS.org document submission work-flow is there any mention that the leak which you are proving for free, is going to be arbitrarily delayed from online publication by WikiLeaks.org.for financial reasons, or for their own political agenda.
The ability to set a delay or a random delay between actual leaked document submission and online publication is an important optional feature of the technology. Used properly, it can add "Plausible Deniability", or strengthen the alibi of a whistleblower at risk of exposure. Obviously not every whistleblower needs or uses this feature.
However, it is not morally right, for WikiLeakS.org to arbitrarily take over the timing and release of a whistleblower document, simply to give itself "exclusives", which it has not itself paid for, but which it hopes to get money from a mainstream media partner, or which suit the political activists' own hidden agendas.
At the very least, they should obtain the prior, informed consent from the whistleblower specifically allowing WikiLeaks.org to act as more than just politically neutral technology assisted publishers, and more as a Public Relations agency on their behalf.
Since there is no longer any private and secure method of communicating with the WikiLeakS.org team, after they abandoned their use of PGP Encryption for email privacy or for digital signatures, there is no way for a whistleblower to negotiate the terms of how WikiLeaKs.org intends to promote the story to the mainstream media.