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WikiLeaks Employee Opens Rival Site ‘OpenLeaks’

January 28, 2011

A former spokesman for controversial site WikiLeaks launched a rival site on Friday, saying that he plans to give whistleblowers more control over the secrets they spill.

Daniel Domscheit-Berg said that OpenLeaks will allow sources to choose specifically who they want to submit documents to anonymously, such as to a particular news outlet.

“We’d like to work with media outlets that have an interest in informing the public,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting of top business and political leaders in the Swiss resort of Davos.

He said that the difference between his group and WikiLeaks would be that his group leaves reviewing the material up to the publication or advocacy group chosen by the source to receive the information.

WikiLeaks has struggled to wade through the vast amounts of material it received and has been criticized for sharing the data with only a handful of media outlets around the globe.

Domscheit-Berg said that giving more professional journalists and analysts the opportunity to receive and sift through documents would speed up the process while making OpenLeaks less of a target.

“We are not going to get under the same kind of scrutiny from governments and big corporations as WikiLeaks is currently,” he said.

WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange have come under increasing pressure since beginning to publish about 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic documents in November.

Domscheit-Berg said the two websites and others soon to be launched could complement each other, helping to “decentralize” the whistleblowing process.

He said that OpenLeaks will start testing in a few weeks and could be fully operational later this year.  He added that the site has received no outside funding so far, but should that ever be the case then it would be done transparently.

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