OpenLeaks Founder Explains Assange’s Indifference to Privacy Interests
I had a wonderful time at the ASIL annual meeting last week, and greatly enjoyed the panel discussion with Mary-Rose Papandrea and Simon Chesterman. One of the principal points that I was trying to convey in my presentation was the government’s legitimate interest in protecting the individual privacy interests. As I said in that presentation,
“The government recognizes that disclosure of certain information constitutes a fundamental infringement of civil liberties and takes drastic measures to prohibit it. The government prohibits disclosure of the names of rape victims, the surreptitious filming of a college roommate, or the publication of social security numbers. It imposes prior restraints on the free speech of attorneys—so-called gag orders—if that speech will compromise a fair trial. We create criminal penalties for prosecutors and civil remedies for private citizens if basic civil liberties are infringed by speech.”
In other words, regardless of what one thinks about Wikileaks’ harm to U.S. interests, civil libertarians have good reason to oppose Julian Assange’s callous indifference to privacy interests.
This week, Foreign Policy published an interview with Daniel Domscheidt-Berg, founder of OpenLeaks, that strongly reinforces my impression. In the interview, he explains the reasons for his break with Julian Assange. When asked about specific examples of reasons that Domschedt-Berg decided to break from Assange, he states at minute 3:25:
“The most striking [example of our differences] was with respect to the Afghanistan publication which happened shortly before I decided to leave them. There was a dispute about the whole way that Julian dealt with names that needed to be redacted from these documents before they were published in order to not put any sources … of the United States forces in Afghanistan in danger. I mean we’re talking about … regular peasants in Afghanistan that have nothing to do with the war that do not follow any specific political agenda. They just happen to be living in the wrong place where there is a war going on. These people should not be implicated by an effort where you are just trying to make transparent what is happening in the war. Julian basically, as much as I can tell, didn’t really care for protecting these people and I think that is a really bad attitude for anyone who’s in the publishing business.”
The interview is available here: