From homeland security reporter G.W. Schulz
Not exactly, says the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Two news organizations have launched copycat Wikileaks sites where anonymous persons who want to blow the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse can do so by uploading documents that describe scandalous conduct without the source of that information being revealed. The sites are maintained by Al-Jazeera (“Transparency Unit”) and the Wall Street Journal (“SafeHouse”).
Internet freedom advocates at EFF are saying, however, that a close read of SafeHouse’s user terms of service raise questions about whether anonymous whistleblowers can really be sure about their anonymity:
SafeHouse’s terms of service reserve the right ‘to disclose any information about you to law enforcement authorities’ without notice, then goes even further, reserving the right to disclose information to any ‘requesting third party,’ not onyl to comply with the law but also to ‘protect the property or rights of Dow Jones or any affiliated companies’ or to ‘safeguard the interests of others.’
As for Al Jazeera’s Transparency Unit, they’ll turn over the personally identifiable information of an Internet user seeking to blow the whistle on misconduct if a law enforcement agency asks for it, “or we believe it is necessary.”
That could seemingly discourage people from coming forward, to say the least. The news comes after online watchdogs exposed security problems with the Wall Street Journal’s SafeHouse that the news organization has since worked to fix.