The radical transparency of Wikileaks is coming under increased criticism, as the organization has failed to remove information about innocent people from data dumps. An investigation by Associated Press claims that, in the past year, the website has leaked medical files belonging to hundreds of ordinary people, named two teenage rape victims, and published the name of a supposedly homosexual Saudi citizen—a nation where homosexuality can lead to prison sentences, or worse. Wikileaks disputes the final claim, but the news is still dramatic. When Wikileaks rose to fame in 2010, it worked with traditional media organizations like the Guardian, Der Spiegel and the New York Times. With them, it carefully vetted, formatted, and redacted personal details. But Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was even then worried about how process affected pace. “We can’t sit on material like this for three years with one person to go through the whole lot, line-by-line, to redact,” he said during a 2010 talk. “We have to take the best road that we can.” We may now be seeing the repercussions of the choice of route.
MIT Review, The Download 08.24