Alex Daniel tell me about Wikileaks?
Daniel One of the Wikileaks is an Internet platform, erm it's a platform that was created to publish documents, that are in the interest of the public. So primarily we focus on documents that are not supposed to be published, but that erm because they are in the interests of the public need, need to be erm published.
Alex What types of documents, so can you give me an example?
Daniel Well erm we're focusing on any sort of official documents, so erm any documents that were issued by some formal interview like within a company a government, erm a certain department erm anything that you have not been writing up yourself but that has been issued within them, within an organisation.
Alex Now that's traditionally the domain of, of Whistle blowers who would then take this, these documents to the traditional media, why have you chosen to keep it within the web?
Daniel Well we're not keeping it within the web, but we're offering exactly for whistle blowers we're offering a platform where they can first of all anonymously contribute they're documents. So erm this is a result of erm the position that the media has all over the world, certain developments. So erm in many countries, today, erm a journalist cannot guarantee the safety for his sources any more, erm you can be forced by a court ruling to give information about your sources as a journalist for example. Erm in some countries erm there is, there are no ways for people to get in touch with reliable journalists, to even find out who they could trust. So its very important to offer one entity, like us erm that, that has a reputation and that is erm offering this anonymous way for people to submit this information.
Alex Daniel I'd like to pull apart this notion of anonymity.
Alex Yeah so you say that people can publish the documents anonymously. How, do you know, I mean surely there's some benefit in knowing who's publishing them to, to assess the veracity of the documents?
Daniel Yes, well, well if you want to verify a document, erm then it surely helps if you know who has sent it to you for example. But that's just one piece of information in the ideal case we don't want to have. So we've sort of set up a system that erm or a scheme and within this scheme was can successfully verify documents without knowing the source. There is a lot of possibilities on how to do that. So you, you don't necessarily need to be in touch with the source to be able to verify a document.
Alex What types of things do you do to, to assess the veracity of the claims?
Daniel Erm well I mean we are primarily dealing with digital documents. So in, 98% of the cases we are getting them digitally, so submitted via our web front end, erm this means that in the first erm as a first action we can have like a forensic examination of a document. So technical people can have a look at a technical document or a digital document, they can check if a document has been modified, when it has been modified for the last time if they, like if there are like traces of a photo shop or other imagery tools where the image manipulation tools erm or whatever a kind of process this document has been going through digitally, so that is one aspect. Then we have a big network of people that we work together with, that can help verifying the content of a document. So, these can be people working within a company, within a government, that are related to this erm we can verify the context of a document so we might know that the document is known to exist, it has been issued in a certain context and we can cross check if the content of the documents match up with the context. Erm, we can erm contact erm the issuer of the document, so that is another, just, just dial up the ones that have supposedly issued this document and just ask them about it. This gives you some insight as well. So there are multiple approaches that you can take and erm the sum of all these approaches is what in the end is the verification of the document. So and depending on what document you want to verify, this case is always unique, so it's always a unique combination of people you work together with erm unique approaches you take and a unique outcome for each document as well.
Alex What's interesting?
Alex So while the, the source of the document is anonymous, that puts a lot of the spotlight on Wikileaks, erm what types of repercussions, governmental, private, how, how is Wikileaks protected from ultimately becoming the scapegoat for, for the controversial claims that, that are put forward?
Daniel Well erm, this is a very, that's a complex question. Erm first of all it's a Wikileaks is a journalist entity, so we are recognised all over the world as a journalist entity and erm we've established some, some technical means to ensure that we can use the countries with the strongest journalist protection for example. So every .. document that we get, so if someone surf's to our website and submits us a document, this document becomes part of a source journalist communication. And its technically, its routed via various countries and like Sweden, Belgium and a few others. So this is something that happens without anyone noticing when just using the website. But by routing it via these countries, you get to benefit from the journalists, or media protection laws that these countries have. Or a source protection laws. And erm that's one approach how, how you can, erm how you can establish erm that what you are doing has a legal protection. Even if, if the journalist is sitting in, in Germany and the source is sitting in the United States, so its still part of a communication that is going through Sweden and Belgium. So, erm so now we have 4 jurisdictions that are already involved, erm just in this communication then there is a fifth person that has erm that has registered the Domain name for example and the domain is registered in the six countries, so erm so its all a matter of where actually would you be shooting at, and where would you trying to prosecute someone erm its, its just raising the level, or raising the bar for someone who is trying to, to prosecute this or to scapegoat.
Daniel Yes, yeah well its basically Internet censorship is becoming an issue for every western country, it's the biggest issue that we face in our time. So, erm just coming out of Germany for a meeting you here erm this is one of the, the basic topics we have right now in Germany, is that erm the ministry of the erm the family ministry actually has started a, a very shallow and erm propagandistic campaign erm to promote Internet censorship erm to fight child pornography. So what we can see in many countries, so this happens in other European countries like a lot in Scandinavia as well, Italy is another example, France is thinking about this, Austria is erm something similar exists here in the U.K. as well. So what we see is that erm, erm politicians take various stigmatised topics that no one really dares to, to doubt, so they are taking a stigmatised topic like child pornography and they say we want to fight this and so who is against our struggle against child pornography. So no one wants to be the one saying I don't want a censorship system against child pornography. But in the end, at the end of the day it's not about a certain content that you're filtering. The filter, the censorship system itself is neutral, it doesn't care what somebody tells it to filter. And then its just a matter of what kind of lobby has enough political power to push into this censorship system, so very fast, from a world where we have this beautiful Internet that connects us all globally, where very human that connects to the Internet is the same as another human being that is connected, has the same voice, the same importance the same possibility to spread the word to everyone else, where all these things that we take for granted, that we have experienced within the Internet, where all these things from one day to the other can cease to exist basically. Just because the regulation has been introduced in the wrong way, because we have not protected us but we have rather given someone the right to control us, or to police us.
Alex So is government then the greatest that, sorry I'll try that again.
Alex So is government the greatest threat would you say or are there other entities that will be greater?
Daniel Everyone who is trying to, to pursue his interest on the Internet is a threat to the Internet. Just because, within the Internet you don't have these kind of interests. You are the same as I am and my provider gives me access in the same way that you have or are getting access on the remote end of the world. It's Protocol, it's the Internet protocol that people have agreed upon. It's the same thing as I know when I am dialling +44 on the phone, I'm getting a connection to the U.K., so I don't have to worry that my provider now is doing something different with +44 or introduces I don't know advertising when I'm trying to dial for a number. So in the same way we have to make sure that the Internet stays neutral. That it will just be a transport mechanism, in the same way that we have postal mail, or the telephone.