December 11, 2010

Openleaks – A new era begins

The past few months have been full of stories about the website Wikileaks. Personally I think Assange is a hoax. After watching a couple of interviews with him, it is evident he has no good intentions, but focus on building the myth about himself. Neither do I necessarily like the idea of government and corporate information leaking onto the web. I believe that there is need for secrecy in many cases. However, what I think and believe in is not important.

My dislike of Assange as an individual is nothing I do alone. Even people within Wikileaks have now turned against Assange. This have led to a the launch of a new service on Monday, called Openleaks. What Openleaks promises to do is to not only share the information, but also share the technology behind the service. This means that whilstleblowers will be able to launch similar websites all over the world.

This is not a new idea, but the implication is quite vast on the ability of governments to regulate and power down these websites. We’ve seen it in the affiliate business, we’ve seen it in the seeding business, we’ve seen it in the general information distribution business and we are seeing it in the e-commerce business. As technology becomes easily accessible for people to copy and reproduce, government legislation and institutions ability to react are too slow.

When institutions don’t have a chance:

  • There is an information co-ordination problem
  • Many people have access to small bits of the full picture
  • Technology is standardized and made accessible for everyone to use

What I suspect Openleaks will do, is to change the way that corporations will have to do business. Just like Facebook changed the face of the social web, a service like Openleaks, will change the way we share sensitive information online. In the long run this will lead to a situation where all information is known by the web instantly and is thus public as soon as it happens. There is simply put, no possibility to hide away the dirt.

Wikileaks didn’t create this as it was a heavily institutional website. But when you let the users take over, it will become better in quality, more trustworthy and more transparent. It will be like the switch from Britannica to Wikipedia. Accuracy will increase and the aggregated truth will be more “truthful” than what even Wikileaks have been able to portray.

Why do I write about this?

Well… If you are a company with some skeletons in your closet. Start dusting them of and putting the nicest crisis management clothes on them. They are about to walk out on the streets.

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2 Comments
  • gdnf, December 27, 2010 Reply

    Even if we like or dislike Assange, the distributor source should not be a limiting factor for information. The function of the whistle-blower in might be essential to our society, but the quality has to be reliable.

    Showing the dirty backstabbing could be very good and necessarily in the long run, but the idea of exposing the dirt could also be counter-measured by false planted leaks with a wide variety of intentions from backstabbing the actor it concerns or just to show that leaks are insecure. This could be a interesting development....

  • Birger Hartung, January 10, 2011 Reply

    If you are interested in Openleaks, watch this (english) presentation from Daniel Domscheit-Berg at 27C3 (hosted by Chaos Computer Club Berlin) on December 30, 2010: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsIhiUHoNLA

    Feel free to follow my Youtube Channel if you're interested in related videos: http://www.youtube.com/birgerkingDOTnet


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