December 2009 Archives has applied for a grant from the Knight Foundation a charitable foundation financed from the former Knight-Ridder US newspaper conglomerate.

Do not confuse this with the recently revived 1980's fictional Knight Rider TV series featuring a supposedly artificially intelligent car, which starred David Hasselhoff.

Knight News Challenge funding application: WikiLeaks full-scale localization and community expansion project

Project Title:
WikiLeaks full-scale localization and community expansion project

Requested amount from Knight News Challenge:

Expected amount of time to complete project:

Total cost of project including all sources of funding:

Describe your project:
Wikileaks enables whistleblowers and censored journalists to safely reveal primary-source material to the world. We have sourced thousands of stories for newspapers all over the world and helped expose both corporate and government corruption on a global scale (see attached). As a result of our efforts, we have won numerous awards, including The Economist Magazine New Media Award in 2008 and Amnesty International's Media Award in 2009. We seek funding from the Knight News Challenge to build the mechanisms and customizations needed to transform our successful, self-funded pilot into a powerful voice for local reform. First, we will provide links to local newspapers that publish stories based on our documents. Connecting related stories in different media, users will be able to trace a breaking story from first revelation to final commentary.

How will this be better or more informative than, say a Google News search or or other news aggregators?

Getting Local and Mainstream media to actually acknowledge and publish the URL links to the web based sources of their stories, would in itself be a massive change in their culture and business ethics.

Next, we will create a full-fledged localized submission system. Newspapers will be able to add a code snippet to their site to allow users to upload documents to Wikileaks.

What exactly is the commercial advantage to a Local Newspaper in doing this ?

Surely this will inevitably narrow down the lost of potential whistleblowers, and will lead to subpoenas and seizures of Local Newspaper organisation website's web server logfiles ?

If the "collateral damage" cases involving, say, Indymedia UK, are anything to go by, then the Local Newspaper risks having their entire web servers being seized, thereby disrupting or denying service to their advertising revenues, or their technical staff being arrested and having their homes searched by ignorant law enforcement bureaucrats, who are ineptly hunting down the people behind entirely unrelated malicious threats. Under more repressive regimes than than United Kingdom, the risks of state inflicted violence are much greater.

Similarly the Local Newspaper's Internet Service Providers and web hosting companies will be subjected to the same sort of legalistic threats and by dishonest or inept Streisand Effect ignorant shyster media lawyers, claiming defamation or copyright infringement and secret court injunctions etc., which wikileaks ignore, but which they may not be able to for financial or legal reasons.

By uploading to Wikileaks through their local newspaper, both the whistleblower and the journalist will optionally be able to further communicate anonymously to ensure that the story receives full coverage and maximum depth.

Note that this two way anonymous communication facility between the whistleblower and the journalist does not exist in the current system.

This is especially important for smaller publications and publications in press hostile environments that do not have the legal, financial or editorial resources of larger publications and do not have a way to anonymize their Internet traffic. We have a list of strong partners who are eager to be beta testers of this system. We will also translate our templates into six major world languages, localize our legal information, and increase server infrastructure around the world to ensure access in remote locales.

How will your project improve the way news and information are delivered to geographic communities?

Wikileaks has an established record for safe transmission and publication of high-impact source material. By furthering the development of local interfaces and enhancing local media interaction, our project will substantially improve investigative journalism in many communities around the world. Similarly, localization will make it easier for readers to track the development of investigative stories and gain meaningful, actionable information out of raw data. In addition, by enhancing the connection between community news outlets and their readers, it will build bonds that will improve local media access beyond stories sourced through Wikileaks.

How is your idea innovative? (new or different from what already exists)
Wikileaks provides unprecedented safety, security, and privacy for sensitive source materials and censored journalism. This is of particular value to local newspapers and independent journalists, who lack the resources to defend their sources from legal and sometimes physical attack. Before Wikileaks, it was very difficult to forward leaked documents to investigative journalists, and nearly impossible to place them in full view of the whole world.

It is utterly false to claim that before Wikileaks, " it was very difficult to forward leaked documents to investigative journalists"

Similarly the claim that before Wikileaks it was "nearly impossible to place them in full view of the whole world." is also rubbish.

Language localization will extend this innovation by bringing it to a larger, non-English-speaking audience around the world. A sophisticated enhancement for the interaction between sources and journalists, readers and newspapers, will provide innovative ways for communities to report on news.

What experience do you or your organization have to successfully develop this project?
WikiLeaks is an exceptionally successful pilot that allows sources to leak confidential information while protecting their identity. We are asking Knight for first foundation funding in order to grow from a self-funded pilot to a full media operation. Because we are a non-profit organisation, we hope that the successes of our model will be used and adapted by other media organisations. Wikileaks was founded by a team of internationally recognized technologists, legal experts, and accredited journalists. Our current staff includes well-known computer scientists and journalists, and our advisory board includes internationally noted political and technical figures. We work closely with the EFF, the ACLU, the SoPJ, and other leading 1st amendment organizations. Our pilot uses independent mechanisms to ensure that our sources are well protected. do not take the quite same care with the anonymity of comment authors or of people who download the alleged whistleblower documents.

We maintain our servers at undisclosed locations, pass communication through protective jurisdictions, keep no traffic logs, and use military-grade encryption to protect sources and other confidential information.

The trustees of the Knight Foundation should insist on seeing some actual evidence to back up this, at least to the level of detail of an overall high level Security and Anonymity Architecture document, something which Wikileaks have failed to publish so far.

"our servers at undisclosed locations" - this is a misleading claim.There is a significant Single Point of Failure at the IP address hosted at PRQ Internet in Stockholm, Sweden, to which all the different wikileaks domain names resolve.

We have strong bonds with like-minded organizations such as Reporters Without Borders as well as many renowned newspapers, which can help us implement our program in local areas, provide credibility as we enter new geographic communities, and share information about local corruption, suppression of stories, and journalist harassment. In our nearly three years of operation, every source has been protected, and every attempt at censorship of our material has been defeated.

Related Proposal:

The Knight News Challenge has funded some worthwhile projects in the past, including some involving well respected people like Sir Tim Berners-Lee or Ethan Zuckerman, so there is fair chance that they might partly fund this proposed expansion of project.

About this blog

This blog here at (no "S") discusses the ethical and technical issues raised by the project, which is trying to be a resource for whistleblower leaks, by providing "untraceable mass document leaking and analysis".

These are bold and controversial aims and claims, with both pros and cons, especially for something which crosses international boundaries and legal jurisdictions.

This blog is not part of the project, and there really are no copies of leaked documents or files being mirrored here.

Email Contact

Please feel free to email us your views about this website or news about the issues it tries to comment on:

email: blog@WikiLeak[dot]org

Before you send an email to this address, remember that this blog is independent of the project.

If you have confidential information that you want to share with us, please make use of our PGP public encryption key or an email account based overseas e.g. Hushmail

Now that the project is defunct, so far as new whistleblower are concerned, what are the alternatives ?

The wiki page lists links and anonymity analyses of some of the many post-wikileaks projects.

There are also links to better funded "official" whistlblowing crime or national security reporting tip off websites or mainstream media websites. These should, in theory, be even better at protecting the anonymity and security of their informants, than wikileaks, but that is not always so.

New whistleblower website operators or new potential whistleblowers should carefully evaluate the best techniques (or common mistakes) from around the world and make their personal risk assessments accordingly.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

The Submissions web page provides some methods for sending them leaked documents, with varying degrees of anonymity and security. Anybody planning to do this for real, should also read some of the other guides and advice to political activists and dissidents:

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link:

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual, by Irish NGO Frontline Defenders.

Everyone’s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide (.pdf - 31 pages), by the Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics by Human Rights Watch.

A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc - 62 pages), by experienced UK direct action political activists

Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress & Tor - useful step by step guide with software configuration screenshots by Ethan Zuckerman at Global Voices Advocacy. (updated March 10th 2009 with the latest Tor / Vidalia bundle details)

WikiLeakS Links

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

WikiLeakS Twitter feeds

The website does not stay online all of the time, especially when there is a surge of traffic caused by mainstream media coverage of a particularly newsworthy leak.

Recently, they have been using their new Twitter feeds, to selectively publicise leaked documents to the media, and also to report on the status of routing or traffic congestion problems affecting the main website in Stockholm, Sweden.

N.B.the words "security" or "anonymity" and "Twitter" are mutually exclusive: Twitter feed via SSL encrypted session: unencrypted Twitter feed

Internet Censorship

OpenNet Initiative - researches and measures the extent of actual state level censorship of the internet. Features a blocked web URL checker and censorship map.

Temporary Autonomous Zone

Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZ) by Hakim Bey (Peter Lambourn Wilson)

Cyberpunk author William Gibson

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us, UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

FreeFarid_150.jpg - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond

Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

Amnesty International's campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

wikileaks_logo_low.jpg - the controversial "uncensorable, anonymous whistleblowing" website based currently in Sweden.

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