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OpenLeaks: WikiLeaks competitor opens for business

OpenLeaks is expected to be fully operational sometime this year. So how does OpenLeaks stack up against WikiLeaks?

By Matthew Shaer / January 28, 2011

OpenLeaks is officially live. But the WikiLeaks competitor is far from fully operational.

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OpenLeaks is officially live. But the WikiLeaks competitor – which was founded by a handful of formers WikiLeaks volunteers – is far from fully operational. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, OpenLeaks rep Daniel Domscheit-Berg said he hoped to push OpenLeaks in a testing phase within the next few weeks. As of now, OpenLeaks.org consists primarily of a series of FAQs, which explain the organization's mission.

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So how does OpenLeaks work? Well, according to copy posted to the site, OpenLeaks, like WikiLeaks, would be run by volunteers living in a range of locations. "OpenLeaks is, to put it in a nutshell, a well-intentioned bunch of people with an idea," the site's founders write. "We met through varying circumstances, as is often the case, and like most web-based groups, we live here, there, everywhere, and nowhere."

But unlike WikiLeaks, OpenLeaks will "not receive or release documents ourselves." Instead, OpenLeaks will function a little like a gigantic drop-box, into which concerned citizens can upload documents, photographs, or videos. This openness – or "democracy," as OpenLeaks has put it in the past – is apparently meant to protect the identities of the leakers, but also to promote a sense of community.

ALSO SEE: WikiLeaks and Amazon: A free speech issue?

"This constitutes the OpenLeaks Community: something much more effective than any single whistleblowing entity," the site reads. "We are not atop some hierarchy, distantly guiding the flow of data, but more in between it, providing the soil for the creation of a new form of social network by adapting our systems to the needs of our users and bringing them together."

Late last year, of course, Amazon, PayPal, Visa and MasterCard severed ties with WikiLeaks, first leaving the organization server-less, and then restricting the ways in which supporters can donate to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. WikiLeaks now exists only on a handful of mirror sites. But the organization isn't dead yet: As of January, Assange was still promising that WikiLeaks had plenty left to spill.

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