Skip to main content

WikiLeaks gag order prevents employees from leaking data

WikiLeaks requires its employees to sign a nondisclosure agreement that prevents them from leaking information provided to the whistleblowing site, reports legal expert David Allen Green in The New Statesman blog. Anyone who discloses any material that is deemed “solely the property of WikiLeaks” faces a penalty of £12,000,000, or about $20 million.

The amount designated in the gag order is based upon “a typical market valuation” for the leaked information in WikiLeaks’ possession. As Green explains, the wording of the confidentiality agreement (PDF) shows that WikiLeaks views “itself as a commercial organization in the business of owning and selling leaked information,” not simply an altruistic rogue entity committed to revealing the undisclosed truths of the world.

Related Videos

The gag order also prohibits the release of “all newsworthy information relating to the workings of WikiLeaks,” details about how the directors of the organization conduct business, and even the leak of the gag order itself. In addition, the NDA stipulates that it can sue anyone within the company that contributes to both “loss of opportunity to sell the information to other news broadcasters and publishers” and “loss of value of the information.”

So far, WikiLeaks has not sold any of the information it has possessed, including the massive cache of US embassy cables, the release of which thrust the website firmly into the world’s consciousness. It did, however, attempt to auction off thousands of emails that belonged to a high ranking aid of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. But the deal eventually fell through.

“One suspects that the various brave and well-intentioned people who have provided the leaked information would be quite unaware of — and perhaps horrified by — the express commercial intentions of WikiLeaks, as evidenced by this document,’ writes Green.

Something tells us that whistleblowers won’t be the only ones disturbed the by the information.

Editors' Recommendations

British Airways hit with a massive fine for 2018 data breach
british airways cabin crew given ipads

A data breach in 2018 that saw hackers steal personal data belonging to hundreds of thousands of British Airways customers has cost the company nearly 184 million British pounds (about $230 million), making it the biggest fine ever imposed for an incident of this kind.

The U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said it handed down the fine for breaches of data protection law that it said resulted from “poor security arrangements” at the company.

Read more
Powerful data privacy legislation drafted by Democratic senator from Oregon
Five search engines that won't track every move you make.

Data privacy has been a hot topic this year, with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation in Europe. The GDPR obliged tech companies to be more transparent about what user data they were collecting, and to give users options to view or delete their data. But legislation in the U.S. has not kept pace, with a lack of political will to crack down on data abuses by big tech companies.

Now, one Democratic senator from Oregon, Ron Wyden, wants to change that. He has drafted a data privacy bill for the U.S. that proposes sweeping changes to data laws to make data use more transparent and accessible to customers. Called the Consumer Data Protection Act, the bill aims to protect Americans' privacy by giving customers more control over the sharing or selling of their data, and by giving the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the power to set privacy and security standards and to impose fines on companies that fail to protect data.

Read more
Coinbase bans Wikileaks from its currency exchange platform
insecure cryptojacking is set to become the new malware epidemic cryptocurrency unsplash2

Engadget reports that Coinbase has banned Wikileaks Shop's account for violating the exchange's terms of service. This means that the site will no longer convert cryptocurrency payments into real money such as dollars or euros. Coinbase did not go into the specifics of why it banned Wikileaks, but did note that it has to honor "regulatory compliance mechanisms" under the  U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Wikileaks can still accept payments via Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but it will have to find a new way to convert those tokens into hard currencies. In response to the move, Wikileaks has called for a boycott of the service.

Read more