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I suspect Daniel Domscheit-Berg

Last week I happened to meet DDB, the “Judas of Wikileaks” who co-founded Openleaks. I asked him a question to better understand the vetting process whereby certain people gain privileged access to Openleaks files. It seems that leak sites should be nonhierarchical by design. Anything other than a data dump (and Wikileaks edits its documents too, but at least it usually provides the raw files) will reflect the interests and politics of the admins, becoming susceptible to co-option and attack. What good would be a leaks site operated within a legal framework? Their value is precisely in exceeding the legal boundaries that currently protect leakable information.

This is the transcript.

LB: You seem to believe that expertise is important to creating a proper context.

DDB: Yes.

Where are you looking for this expertise, in the major media?

Not major.

So how are you choosing your partners? It seems to me that the media are sometimes the places where the experts are least free.

Our focus is more on independent organisations like NGOs and other “subject meta-expert networks.” And you need the media – you need them to propagate the message. So if you get a diverse mix, the full spectrum, then that is the most powerful thing you can create. So we will be able to scale to about a hundred partners and it will be about a fifty-fifty split between media and NGOs. And we would like to have a diverse mix, from conservative to alternative, and to have them all together in one boat.

But you probably won’t have an obsessive blogger who has three months free to look at a hundred thousand pages.

Yes there’s a lot of work that can be done in a crowd-sourced manner, where you can have obsessive people that have some time on their hands and have them integrated in the process. That’s why we’re looking to develop some collaborative tools.

There’s also the angle of what we call ‘read-write’ and ‘read-only.’ The blogger probably would not be able to operate a leaks site with us because of some legal constraints, and because of requirements we have. But he could have read access so he could write up an analysis.

But not repost the documents again?

Right. That’s what we aim for: as many people as possible that have time and can establish context should get access to the information. But on the other hand it needs to be responsibly dealt with.

And you’ll be selecting them?

We’re not a hundred percept clear on how the selection will be. We’d like to have a suggestion system at least for the public; so the public can tell us, look at this guy he’s doing great work so you should be working with him, or look at this organisation, we’re trusting this organisation so you should be working with them.