A veteran at leaking, since 1996
There's at least one site that has stood the test of time (relative to the Internet) when it comes to leaking online.
Cryptome.org has been live since 1996. It is billed as a secret-spilling site that "welcomes documents" that are "prohibited" from release by "governments worldwide," including classified material. It doesn't vet information and makes no effort to explain documents that are uploaded. It has been criticized for making e-mail addresses and other identifying information available with only a few keystrokes.
Recently, Cryptome republished a set of racy e-mails originally uploaded to Flickr that suggested an affair between the Obama administration's nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador to Iraq and a Wall Street Journal reporter.
In 2010, the site reportedly leaked internal documents about Microsoft guidelines for how the company can provide user data to law enforcement. Wired magazine reported that Microsoft managed to get the site shut down.
Cryptome upset the Department of Homeland Security by publishing a document about security at the Democratic National Convention, CNET reported in 2004.
New York architect John Young runs the site. Now in his 70s, Young is considered the grandfather of leaking online, a swami in the art of cryptography, data sharing and deciphering code. He told CNN that the site has never vetted information it posts.
"We don't promise what we are doing is true. We want the public to decide," Young said. "We don't trust authenticators of any kind. It's another form of control to authenticate."
He worked with Assange in the early days of WikiLeaks.
"People in government and others may be upset, but we can't stop the leaks," said Young. "They can blame journalists or us but we aren't the problem. The problem is people inside organizations who are leakers and want this information out, and they're going to keep doing it."
Young said he isn't afraid to continue posting leaks in light of the prosecution of U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning. Manning has been behind bars for more than two years and faces life in prison if found guilty in a court-martial proceeding on charges of stealing classified material. Information Manning is suspected of taking was published on WikiLeaks.
"There is a lot of smoke and lightning about Manning; there's not much that's going to be done to him," Young said.
The Manning case, and controversy surrounding Assange and global media coverage of the antics of Anonymous, the hacker collective, have driven more eyeballs to Cryptome, Young said.
"We're glad that Julian got famous because it brought us attention, but we're happy to take a back seat to much of that attention," said Young.
Cryptome is going to continue to publish documents. "What is the alternative?" Young asked. "That information not get out there?"
"You can call us radical, you can call it whatever you like," he said. "But we've been here much longer than WikiLeaks and we'll be here long after."
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