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Index on Censorship response to Wikileaks cables release

By Index on Censorship / 2 September 2011


Index on Censorship regrets the publication of over 250,000 unredacted US embassy cables by whistleblower site Wikileaks.

While Index supports the principle behind whistleblower initiatives such as Wikileaks, we have consistently expressed concern over the need for careful redaction in order to protect activists and dissidents living under authoritarian regimes. Early this year Index expressed its concern to Wikileaks over reports that unredacted documents had been made available to the Belarusian dictatorship.

Index on Censorship Chief executive John Kampfner commented: “Sites such as Wikileaks will continue to emerge, and will have an important role to play. But they should be operated with a great duty of care, both to whistleblowers and to individuals who may find themselves in danger after irresponsible leaks of diplomatic, intelligence or other material.

“Among the responsibilities of journalism are protection of sources and the avoidance of reckless endangerment of innocent people. These same responsibilities should be adopted by whistleblower sites.”

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7 Responses to Index on Censorship response to Wikileaks cables release

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  6. Darren

    3 September at 01:55

    It would be nice to clarify the fact that WikiLeaks decided to release the full unredacted archive after a rogue copy of the archive online was circulated and the password (published in David Leigh’s book) was discovered. The cat was out of the bag, so to speak, before WikiLeaks decided to let out the full archive. It is regrettable, especially given how much effort and time WikiLeaks had invested over the past year to to proper redactions; all of that effort has gone to waste now.

  7. Anonymous

    2 September at 23:39

    While I also regret the publishing of unredacted cables, which may endanger the lifes of informants, activists and others. It must be noted that WikiLeaks did not intentionally release the unredacted cables. It’s a complicated story, but it boils down to The Guardian’s David Leigh reveiling what he thought to be a temporary password to a password-protected archive of all the unredacted cables in his book “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy”, and Daniel Domscheit-Berg from the OpenLeaks project spreading the word about the archive, which was already being spread via p2p (torrents), though no-one knew that it contained the archive of unredacted cables, and password. Thus it was only a matter of time before people linked up the p2p’ed password-protected hidden archive and the password in Leigh’s book.

    The story is more intricate than what I just said, so please do some research. Here are some sources that give a good overview of how the unredacted cables got leaked:


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