Reuters has posted that Forbes Magazine reports that the now infamous whistle-blower website, WikiLeaks, plans to release tens of thousands of internal documents from a major US bank early next year. Describing the release as a “megaleak” involving a bank that is still doing business, Julian Assange suggests that it will “give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms”, comparing the release to the Enron email revelations.
“There will be some flagrant violations, unethical practices that will be revealed, but it will also be all the supporting decision-making structures and the internal executive ethos … and that’s tremendously valuable. You could call it the ecosystem of corruption, but it’s also all the regular decision making that turns a blind eye to and supports unethical practices: the oversight that’s not done, the priorities of executives, how they think they’re fulfilling their own self-interest,” he said.
Assange also hinted that his group has material on many businesses and governments, including some on pharmaceutical companies, which he did not identify.
Personally, I am of two minds regarding these releases. I am both skeptical of the quality and reliability of what may or may not be authenic documentation, and concerned about the lack of the affected organizations’ ability to detect and correct the leakage. The sources of these leaks must be found, but the transparency of all organizations must be increased if there is indeed illegal, illicit or questionably moral activity going on inside.
I find myself suspicious of the intentions of WikiLeaks, and wonder just how it is that it can release damagaing information on such high profile businesses and people without seeming to suffer any serious repercussions. Why hasn’t the owner and all of his critical staff been “disappeared”? When I can read in the press how Boris, the Russian mobster can hire North American muscle to intimidate or persuade Security Researchers to go away, and drug cartels can get US and Mexican thugs to take care of their “problems”, how is it that these guys seem so untouchable?
Also, if WikiLeaks could get this information out of a bank, pharmaceutical company or government installation, who’s to say that a competitor or someone with an axe to grind couldn’t do the same? Own a company? Work for one that might want to protect its information assets, regardless of the reasons? Time to Google “Data Leakage Prevention” and start doing your homework.
WikiLeaks info from Bruce Schneier: http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2010/06/wikileaks.html