January 2011 Archives

Given the popularity of Peer to Peer (P2P) networks for file sharing and the close links between WikiLeakS.org original web hosts in Sweden and their former links with The Pirate Bay "The world's most resilient bittorrent site", WikiLeakS.org leaked documents have always been available on P2P networks.

The recent Bloomberg news agency story

WikiLeaks May Have Exploited Music, Photo Networks to Get Data

gives prominence to some dubious claims by a US based Peer to Peer Network spying company called Tiversa.

Bloomberg and Tiversa provide no evidence of any direct link between the alleged
appearance of the US Military files on incompetently configured personal computer systems running P2P software (in contravention of the applicable computer security policies) and the publication of re-named files on Wikileaks, months or even years later.

The Bloomberg article itself lists the months or sometimes years between the alleged appearance of a few US military documents on P2P networks open to the entire internet, and the publication of what is alleged to be copies of the same versions of those documents on the old, no longer functioning, WikiLeakS.org wiki system.

They cannot have it both ways.

Either it is legal for everyone, including firms like Tiversa to monitor such networks (for money) in bulk, in real time, all over the world, "1.8 billion times a day" by running "rogue" monitoring nodes joined to these P2P networks, or it is not.

To attempt to claim that just because they monitored "4 IP address in Sweden", that this is somehow evidence that WikiLeakS.org themselves were trawling for documents on P2P networks, is an incredible double standard, given the amount of such trawling which originates from the USA and even from Tiversa itself.

Tiversa's cause célèbre. was their discovery of the US Presidential helicopter documents, something which strongly implies that they themselves also downloaded copies of such documents, both from the useless US Defense Contractor and from the alleged computer in Iran.

Such activity is itself certainly illegal in many countries and would probably amount to espionage according to the evil Iranian authorities.

Remember there is no proof that the discovery of an alleged download by a particular computer IP address actually means that any human has even noticed or read any such documents, in all likelihood they have not, simply due to the volumes involved - see the various internet snooping projects derived from Echelon by intelligence agencies like the NSA and GCHQ etc and their rivals.

Initially the WikiLeakS.org website just assumed that people would "seed" copies of their published documents into P2P networks. They later started to formally provided Magnet URI links to such documents on their download pages, but of course these are now no longer functional.

Perhaps OpenLeaks.org or any other successors to WikiLeakS.org, if they ever get off the ground, will also seed P2P networks and provide Magnet links as well.

There is a link on the current WikiLeakS.CH website and on its hundreds of risky mirror websites, to a compressed archive of BitTorrent index files, which can be used to download around 20,000 documents which have been published on WikiLeakS.org i.e. not the big "Bradley Manning" disclosures, which got their own dedicated web sites.

However, if you are planning to "research" these for your forthcoming blog or mainstream media article, tv documentary, book, film etc. remember your IP address will be tracked by Tiversa and other private sector and government spies.

Given the legally toxic nature of some of these WikiLeakS.org documents, depending on the legal jurisdiction you fall under, you may be breaking various laws by downloading or possessing copies of these documents e.g. government official secrecy, espionage, lèse majesté, copyright, contempt of court etc. . You should probably keep any files you download in an encrypted volume using, for example TrueCrypt

WikiLeakS.org has never bothered to provide any such warnings or advice to its readers.

We constantly seem to be criticising the arrogant or inept use of Twitter by the wikileaks.org political activists.

They have actually tried to "Do The Right Thing" by pointing this Tweet to a fuller actual multi paragraph Press Release.


WikiLeaks condems US embargo move | Press Release http://wikileaks.ch/WIKILEAKS-PRESS-RELEASE.html

5:23 AM Jan 14th

This press release web page does seem to have been copied to some (perhaps all) of the hundreds of Mirror websites which mirror WikiLeakS.CH.

However, they are still giving the impression of shambolic amateurism or of an ongoing internal power struggle within the ranks of the people with website editing privileges.

Incredibly, there is still no link to this or any other Press Release on the new WikiLeakS.CH website menu structure.

There is no link to this on the WikiLeakS.CH mirror sites either.

We have criticised the wikileaks.org propensity to use the social media networking service Twitter, to broadcast short (140 characters maximum) "tweets" without any accompanying full page press releases or web page detailed explanations. - https://twitter.com/wikileaks

To their credit, Twitter , which parts of the US government have praised and supported, when it has been used by say Iranian, Burmese, Zimbabwean or Chinese political dissidents has notified some, but not yet all, of its subscribers, who have been named on a Court Order which demands their private Communications Data details i.e. subscription names and addresses and phone numbers, as well as any credit card details and any IP address details.

This applies to the half a dozen or so twitter account named in the Subpoena.

However this Subpoena is not narrowly targeted against specific criminal communications, it is a generalised "fishing expedition" / data trawling exercise.

[UPDATE 9th January 2011: it turns out that this is not actually a Subpoena, but a 18 USC 2703(d) order, a controversial legal power introduced by the anti-terrorism "PATRIOT Act, which is, inevitably,,just as was pointed out at the time it was rubber stamped into law, now being abused for non-terrorism purposes.

See this blog article by Chris Soghoian Thoughts on the DOJ wikileaks/twitter court order

The order, issued under 18 USC 2703(d) is not a subpoena (even though the AP, New York Times, Salon and many other outlets have reported that it is). Subpoenas are essentially letters written by law enforcement officers, on official agency letterhead, and have not been reviewed or signed by a judge. The 2703(d) order in question was issued by a magistrate judge.

It also attempts to demand "All records and other information" including "user name and source and destination IP Protocol address(es);" of all of the other Twitter accounts which these named accounts have communicated with from November 2009 to mid December 2010, including all non wikileaks related matters.

The https://twitter.com/wikileaks account currently broadcasts to at least 634,892 followers.

There may have been a few thousand fewer such followers on the 14th December 2010, when the Subpoena was signed, but snooping on hundreds of thousands of innocent people, worldwide, is unethical and entirely disproportionate. and will provoke even more bad publicity for the United States government.

Which other social networking and email providers have been served with similar Subpoenas, for similar wikileaks related "fishing expeditions" ?

Which US Government investigative agency actually got the US Department of Justice to apply for the initially secret "sealed" Subpoena ?

If only there was a working Anonymous Whistleblower website where such information could be published - unfortunately that does not include either WikiLeakS.org nor OpenLeakS.org at the moment, or for the foreseeable future.

About this blog

This blog here at WikiLeak.org (no "S") discusses the ethical and technical issues raised by the WikiLeakS.org 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 WikiLeakS.org 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 WikiLeakS.org 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 WikiLeakS.org project is defunct, so far as new whistleblower are concerned, what are the alternatives ?

The LeakDirectory.org 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 WikiLeakS.org 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: http://ht4w.co.uk

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 WikiLeakS.org Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

WikiLeakS Twitter feeds

The WikiLeakS.org 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:

WikiLeakS.org Twitter feed via SSL encrypted session: https://twitter.com/wikileaks

WikiLeakS.org unencrypted Twitter feed http://twitter.com/wikileaks

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.com - 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 irrepressible.info 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.org - the controversial "uncensorable, anonymous whistleblowing" website based currently in Sweden.

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Recent Comments

  • James Hyams: I'm writing a thesis on Public Trust in WikiLeaks, the read more
  • rich kaplan: Hello Wikeleaks vrew. In Turkey , the islamist goverment just read more
  • wikileak: Cryptome have a few more extracts from this book http://cryptome.org/0003/ddb-book/ddb-book.htm read more
  • wikileak: OpenLeaks.org have now launched their website with some details of read more
  • wikileak: Bahnhof Internet seem to be hosting two Wikileaks servers in read more
  • wikileak: Clay Shirky has posted a rough transcript of Daniel Domscheit-Berg's read more
  • wikileak: @ N - you can still see the "1.2 million read more
  • N: @wikileak - Exactly, these cables are _from_ the United States, read more
  • wikileak: Openleaks.org is now displaying this meassage: Coming soon! While we read more

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