When WikiLeaks facilitated the publication of thousands of classified U.S. government documents last year, government officials called for the whistleblower website to be shut down. Some even wanted to prosecute founder Julian Assange for treason. It came as no surprise, then, that companies like Amazon Web Services, Mastercard, PayPal, Visa and others stopped services to the site.
But it didn't slow WikiLeaks for long. As of December, the site had 14 name servers from 11 different providers in eight different countries, including Switzerland, Germany, Canada and Malaysia. It took Assange's arrest on sexual assault charges to effectively render the site "closed to public business," The New York Times reports-primarily because he is no longer as available to address the site's technical issues.
So, for the moment, anyway, WikiLeaks isn't such a threat. But the whole scandal has spawned countless WikiLeaks wannabes, as well as one site whose organizers say it will be WikiLeaks, but better. And they might. OpenLeaks founders are former WikiLeaks staffers, after all.
From The New York Times:
OpenLeaks will begin work in earnest this summer, said Herbert Snorrason, an Icelandic programmer who is involved. It aims, he said, to avoid the "influence of a single figurehead" by refusing to handle documents itself. Instead, it will act as a neutral conduit to connect leakers with media and human rights organizations.
What's more, the new site will not "contain any politics and personal preferences or personal dislikes about whatever you're going to publish or what you must not publish," says another OpenLeaks founder, Berlin's Daniel Domschiet-Berg. Nor will the site rely on secrecy to increase transparency in government. It rather defeats the purpose, in their opinion.
In theory it sounds much better than what WikiLeaks does/did in practice. But does that mean it will be less of a threat to national security? I don't know.