WikiLeaks is a not-for-profit media organisation launched in 2007 that attempts to break down the barriers of governmental and corporate confidentiality.The organisation has set up an electronic drop box where anonymous informants can drop secret documents so that WikiLeaks can publish the contents to the world. Security and enhanced technology are a big priority for WikiLeaks so they can safely guarantee to potential sources of their anonymity. WikiLeaks does not, however, solicit sources of information. It’s underlying values suggest a longing for a world-wide free press and the organisation is an advocate for revealing state secrets. WikiLeaks very values suggest an open invitation to any potential “leaker”, “whistle blower” or informant inside any governmental or corporate agency to help WikiLeaks succeed in its mission and to thereby supply WikiLeaks with important, compromising and confidential information. It can be argued that this then renders WikiLeaks a powerful institution in itself, the custodian of a vast amount of sensitive information.
The Guardian reports that Julian Assange, the Australian hacker and face of WikiLeaks said “[w]hile the internet has in some ways an ability to let us know to an unprecedented level what government is doing, and to let us co-operate with each other to hold repressive governments and repressive corporations to account, it is also the greatest spying machine the world has ever seen.” It seems that not only WikiLeaks but the entire internet aims at destroying privacy.
Though there has been a vocal public debate on the internal structure of the WikiLeaks organisation on shows such as Insight and the documentary WikiRebels, the organisations key aims are idealistic and respectable.
The case of Bradley Manning is disconcerting. His examples show that whistle blowers, if indeed he was a whiste blower, are at great risk of presecution by increasingly tempestuous and ardent governments.