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Quote of the Day: Dumb Pipe for Leaks

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, January 21 2011

The problem with Wikileaks is that it tries to do too many things. Wikileaks tries to handle everything from the receipt of the document to the publication. And this means that Wikileaks has, in a sense, this centralized spot that takes on an awful lot of work, an awful lot of responsibility, and an awful lot of power. Our aim is to disperse all of those.

-- Here we have Herbert Snorrason, the Islandic student who is said to be working with Daniel Domscheit-Berg on a project called OpenLeaks, meant to address what the former Wikileaks participants see as things that could have gone better as Wikileaks got up and running and then took a place on the world stage. Our Micah Sifry wrote up some of the origins of the OpenLeaks project here. The site has yet to launch.

Snorrason talks in his interview with CBS News correspondent Shira Lazar released yesterday about a system very different from Wikileaks, which Snorrason describes as having become dominated by the strong personality of Julian Assange. The OpenLeaks platform is conceived as what amounts to a neutral pipe, connecting people who would be sources for documents with outlets who might do something with them, be that news organizations, advocacy groups, or some other sort of third-party entity.

By separating leaked information from its distribution mechanism, the hope with Wikileaks seems to be that you can avoid some of the corrupting potential of having the same people who own the tubes also controlling the content that runs along them. (A similar argument bubbled up over the recently-approved merge of tube-owner Comcast and content-producer NBC Universal, but one digresses.)