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Wikileaks, a non-profit agency that exposes government and corporate secrets by publishing documents through its web site, said on Twitter that it’s managed to raise enough money to continue operating, but not enough to pay its staff. The site suspended operations recently, saying it didn’t have enough funding to pay its expenses. It also asked for donations, claiming it required at least $200,000 just to pay its costs, and as much as $600,000 if it were to begin paying its volunteer staff. At last check, the note was still on the Wikileaks site, but the Twitter message said the minimum amount had been raised.
Wikileaks, which is run by a non-profit entity called The Sunshine Press, has been described by The Guardian as “the brown paper envelope for the digital age.” In one recent case, the service published documents relating to the Trafigura scandal in Britain, documents that a corporation involved in the scandal tried to prevent newspapers from publishing. It also recently released 500,000 pager messages relating to the 9/11 attacks in New York.
The site says it has defended itself against over 100 legal attacks to date. In 2008, a California judge forced the site to remove itself from DNS records due to a complaint by a Cayman Islands-base corporation. Although the founders of the site kept their identities secret for some time after Wikileaks was founded in 2006, it is known that they include Australian hacker Julian Assange and Australian broadcaster Phillip Adams.
The Wikileaks Twitter stream says that the organization is working on a proposal to “transform Iceland into world centre for investigative media,” in part because awareness of government corruption and incompetence has been heightened by the recent meltdown of the country’s banking industry. In the video embedded below, from the 26th Chaos Communications Congress, an annual hacker conference in Berlin, two members of Wikileaks discuss their proposal to create an information “data haven” in Iceland, or what they call a “Switzerland of bits”:
Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user griegophoto.