It seems like it never stops. Everywhere we turn there’s a new bit of information that the government really wishes the public didn’t have. There’s speculation everywhere — conspiracy theories at every turn, and they seem to be true. Because of all this, we have a greater sense that “big brother is watching”, but now, thanks to a non-profit company, we can watch back.
This non-profit company is WikiLeaks. If you don’t know of them now, you’ve been living under a rock.
WikiLeaks has been around for the past eleven years, releasing secretive files that the government thought they had under wraps. According to them, in the first ten years of their existence, they managed to claim 10 million governmental documents (not all of them from the US). They struck many times during the presidential election this time around, and on Tuesday, they struck again. This time, they revealed thousands of documents that gave the outsiders insight on the CIA’s mindset and actions, and supposedly there’s going to be more to come. The CIA has said that there is no legitimacy behind these files, and some sources (albeit questionable sources) have claimed that America doesn’t need to be in the panic they currently find themselves in.
How does WikiLeaks get this information in the first place?
The problem is …no one is 100% sure as there are many sources and many different ways to gain this information throughout hacking. There’d have to be for them to have claimed 10 million documents that have, in fact, changed the course of history. “It has been pointed out that the U.S. military had recently introduced an information-sharing initiative called Net-Centric Diplomacy which allowed insiders to gain access to classified information,” Said an International Business Time’s article back in 2010. But that’s really all the information or speculation we seem to have. Even an MIT review of the site in the same year didn’t give any answers on the subject.
When doing research on the subject, I thought it might be possible that because it is a Wiki of sorts, that like Wikipedia (no association) that people may donate information themselves from inside sources. I couldn’t find hard evidence of this theory, however. The only donate portion on the website is for monetary donations, meaning that people cannot just submit any bit of information they wish to WikiLeaks. This is probably done to keep out spam and fake information.
Instead there seems to be somewhat of a team who is constantly hacking, and finding ways into government files. Which, of course, is dangerous for the governments themselves, but maybe not for the people outside of it. Until Wikileaks came around, there were many more secrets that governments had that the public were completely ignorant about. Now, through their website, they are out there for the world to see.
Sometimes the information isn’t given out to the public just via their website. Back in 2010, the aforementioned MIT review says that many of the diplomatic cables that were released that year were given to big news media outlets such as The Guardian and the New York Times.
And as I’m sure you’re not surprised, its founder, Julian Assange, has been threatened with arrest for gaining access to some of these documents and spreading them without governmental permission.
Until some kind of arrest happens (if it happens) WikiLeaks will continue to have a huge impact on society as we know it, no matter how they get their information.