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The Internet IT Hardware Technology

Wikileaks Needs Help, and Not Just Money 134

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the step-up-amazon-and-volunteer-the-cloud dept.
st1d writes to tell us that Wikileaks has put out a call for help. However, instead of just asking for money, they have also suggested technical and legal avenues for support. In the site's short life, Wikileaks has been at the center of many breaking scandals and investigations. "Wikileaks is currently overloaded by readers. This is a regular difficulty that can only be resolved by deploying additional resources. If you support our mission, you can help us by integrating new hardware into our project infrastructure or developing software for the project. Become patron of a WikiLeaks server or other parts of our technology, adding more pillars to the stability and balance of the WikiLeaks platform. Servers come trouble-free and legally fortified, software is uniquely challenging. If you can provide rackspace, power and an uplink, or a dedicated server or storage space, for at least 12 months, or software development work for WikiLeaks, please write to wl-supporters@sunshinepress.org."
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Wikileaks Needs Help, and Not Just Money

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  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Friday December 25, 2009 @05:17PM (#30552880) Journal

    For once, the article submitter isn't lying!

    • I could be because everyone and his grandma, who reads /. is trying to check wikiLeaks out so they can post a witty comment.
    • Yeah, but using Mediawiki for read-only content is not the smartest thing to do, it prohibits caching.
      If Mediawiki would allow proxies to cache their content (maybe there is a plugin, but Wikipedia doesn't allow it either), a lot of trouble would go away. And does Wikileaks need uncached requests? No.

      I am not talking about (web) server-side improvements [mediawiki.org], I am talking about the problematic 'Cache-Control: private, s-maxage=0, max-age=0, must-revalidate' HTTP header. HTTP caching is so misunderstood. http://w [mnot.net]

  • Freenet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sanity (1431) on Friday December 25, 2009 @05:24PM (#30552908) Homepage Journal
    It seems that Wikileaks should operate over Freenet [freenetproject.org]. Leaks could be submitted anonymously that way, and also distributed anonymously. The advantage would be that it would be entirely decentralized, so there would be no organization vulnerable to legal action.

    Freenet has been slow and hard to use in the past, but its improved quite a bit. It is the obvious platform for something like Wikileaks. Of course, there is nothing to prevent people from mirroring content on the web (since installing Freenet, like any piece of software, is a hassle). But at least there will be an unimpeachable backup of all data on Freenet.

    • Re:Freenet (Score:4, Insightful)

      by causality (777677) on Friday December 25, 2009 @05:30PM (#30552934)

      It seems that Wikileaks should operate over Freenet [freenetproject.org]. Leaks could be submitted anonymously that way, and also distributed anonymously. The advantage would be that it would be entirely decentralized, so there would be no organization vulnerable to legal action.

      Freenet has been slow and hard to use in the past, but its improved quite a bit. It is the obvious platform for something like Wikileaks. Of course, there is nothing to prevent people from mirroring content on the web (since installing Freenet, like any piece of software, is a hassle). But at least there will be an unimpeachable backup of all data on Freenet.

      I wish a comprehensive group of security experts with varying backgrounds and specialties would get together and try to compromise both Freenet and Tor to see just how secure and anonymous they really are. By this I mean in an open, public, collaborative sort of way. This could only be a good thing, as any vulnerabilities or weaknesses could potentially be addressed. Then we could be a bit more confident about the confidentiality of those who contribute documents to sites like Wikileaks. I am sure that many such folks are doing so at great risk to themselves, especially when they live under repressive regimes, yet they believe in our right to know and are willing to take that risk. It really would be nice to know they are a bit safer doing it.

      • Re:Freenet (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Splab (574204) on Friday December 25, 2009 @05:58PM (#30553032)

        TOR is already proven to be pretty unreliable since the exit node can sniff all the traffic, have enough exit nodes and you can track your target.

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          That was probably the point to begin with. All of the hidden services (.onion links) I've been to seem like honeypots for LEA or contain nothing of interest (so why are they up?).

          Tor is a giant filter through which suspect traffic may pass and the powers that be laughing over the whole inhumane rodent-glue trap.

          PS: If you use Tor, block the 149.* domains by exluding them in your torrc file, along with the "bloxor" nodes (search through your cached-descriptors file for them, they are a plague!)

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by michaelhood (667393)

          TOR is already proven to be pretty unreliable since the exit node can sniff all the traffic, have enough exit nodes and you can track your target.

          Even without compromising or joining up exit nodes, deanonymizing (see: 1 [ckers.org] 2 [dewinter.com]) is a problem for the uninformed users of onion routing and proxies.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by eyv (636790)
          If you're submitting to Wikileaks, you're using SSL right? You should be. Exit node sniffing is not a large problem. Furthermore, Wikileaks can just run a number of dedicated local exit nodes.
      • Re:Freenet (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ThePhilips (752041) on Friday December 25, 2009 @07:36PM (#30553386) Homepage Journal

        ... Freenet ...

        From the site [freenetproject.org]:

        For best performance, Freenet will run continually. It should not interfere with your computer usage, as it requires around 200MB of RAM and 10% of one CPU core, plus some disk access.

        And no wonder considering that it is written in Java...

        Not all PCs have Java installed. First. Second. With that kind of resource utilization, I do not see Freenet catching with average consumers.

        Probably they should invest into a lightweight C/C++ client. That even I would let run on my systems.

      • by eyv (636790)
        Leaked documents do not need a low-latency anonymous channel (Tor) to be leaked. Potential leakers should use something like Mixminion (http://mixminion.net/) for high-latency, highly anonymous submissions. Downloads, however, are a bit more tricky, since they DO need to be low-latency.
    • Re:Freenet (Score:5, Informative)

      by David Gerard (12369) <slashdotNO@SPAMdavidgerard.co.uk> on Friday December 25, 2009 @05:47PM (#30552996) Homepage

      The problem with Freenet is that no-one uses it. Wikileaks kicks real-world arse because it's on the World Wide Web, where everyone else is.

      • Put it on Freenet, and few people will read it because it's hard. The Powers That Be then win, and probably don't try to stop it.
        Might be a good idea for dual-deployment, however, if it would take any load off the http.

        • by Jugalator (259273)

          Put it on Freenet, and few people will read it because it's hard. The Powers That Be then win, and probably don't try to stop it.

          How do they win if journalists are among the few that read it?

          Sure, I may think too highly of journalists in general, but I think that's a problem with journalists, and not a Wikileaks on Freenet.

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by LWATCDR (28044)

        What has Wikileaks done so big? I ask because I have not seen anything earth shattering on it and a lot that is nothing but tabloid press level junk. Just some examples would be nice.

    • by gparent (1242548)
      No one uses Freenet. It's too slow for regular usage, and the last thing I want to do is to wait 30 mins to find out a leak didn't interest me anyway.

      Setting up a torrent tracker would be a much better idea.
      • by Jugalator (259273)

        Setting up a torrent tracker would be a much better idea.

        Heck, skip the centralized tracker there and use Magnet links instead. :)

        Sites would only need to serve the latest news stories (to let people know if there's anything new and/or interesting), and then a zip with a Magnet link pointing to it. :)

    • Re:Freenet (Score:4, Interesting)

      by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Friday December 25, 2009 @06:22PM (#30553116)

      Why not that of which we do not speak?
      It's distributed world wide, mirrored about everywhere, everyone has access to it, it's fast as hell (maxes out my connection), you can post massive binaries to it, text files. Most places have up to 400 day retention now. It would be trivial to setup a script to repost stuff every 100 days. Put everything in a 7za and it shouldn't take up too much space.

      If the RIAA/MPAA hasn't figured out how to touch it, I doubt many will.

      • by lorenlal (164133)

        If "that" is what I think it is, it's not exactly a place where common folk go. Now, there are http caches... But it can also be a great jumbled mess. How do we verify authenticity of posts? Cause lets face it, that frontier is a place where everyone can contribute... Everyone...

        • If "that" is what I think it is, it's not exactly a place where common folk go. Now, there are http caches... But it can also be a great jumbled mess. How do we verify authenticity of posts? Cause lets face it, that frontier is a place where everyone can contribute... Everyone...

          There are moderated ****groups.

      • Can you mention a good one to use (or email me the name of one? I don't hide my email address.)

        I have looked into this but find it difficult to know where to start.

        I know each server has different groups or rooms that have different content. Do servers mostly have the same content (just different group names?) If I was interested in scifi information, would one be better than another?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AlgorithMan (937244)
      Wikileaks in TOR [gaddbiwdftapglkq.onion] and Freenet [127.0.0.1]
  • Bad times (Score:4, Insightful)

    by damburger (981828) on Friday December 25, 2009 @06:25PM (#30553132)
    Wikileaks are asking for help at a time when people are financially struggling. If the aspects of the internet that enhance personal freedom depend on people committing their time and resources, this is a dangerous time.
    • Re:Bad times (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ZorinLynx (31751) on Friday December 25, 2009 @06:54PM (#30553234) Homepage

      Not necessarily; even though people are struggling there are always people who are doing very well. Just a few of those pitching in can help considerably.

      It never hurts to ask, the worst that can happen is "no".

      • Re:Bad times (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dragonslicer (991472) on Friday December 25, 2009 @07:32PM (#30553372)

        Not necessarily; even though people are struggling there are always people who are doing very well. Just a few of those pitching in can help considerably.

        I have the feeling that most of the people that are doing "very well" these days are not particularly interested in supporting a project that reveals secrets.

        • But some of us who are doing well *are* particularly interested in supporting Wikileaks. I've already emailed offering dedicated servers and rackspace at several major POPs in the US, Asia, and Europe.
        • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

          What's with the negativity? Even if most = 99.9%, there's still enough potential support to make asking for help a worthy effort, especially since it didn't cost anything. So just read gp post again, and ggp, and see if there's anything new in your comment.

          In fact, since the entire purpose of the site is to protect most people from those few who try to keep secrets, times like these are when help is needed the most.

    • Re:Bad times (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lorenlal (164133) on Friday December 25, 2009 @07:20PM (#30553314)

      They're also one of the few places where I feel we can see the facts behind some of the reasons so many people are struggling right now.

      Seriously - We get fed all sorts of BS from the news agencies... WikiLeaks posts the stuff that can often verify or debunk much of that BS.

  • by zummit (448138) on Friday December 25, 2009 @06:34PM (#30553162)

    Wouldn't "The Cloud" solve all of WikiLeaks problems?

  • by ickleberry (864871) <web@pineapple.vg> on Friday December 25, 2009 @06:41PM (#30553188) Homepage
    I'll host one image for them, no larger than 128x128px off my own web server on a DSL line. I know it's not much but it's all I can offer in today's recessionary times
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday December 25, 2009 @06:47PM (#30553212) Homepage Journal

    I downloaded ba-038-air-traffic-control-tape.wmv from wikileaks and distributed it to a few co-workers and friends. I don't have the resources to run a full mirror but I would be happy to mirror that file. If wikileaks had the ability to point to mirrors for specific files and verify the MD5s of the files on an ongoing basis then some load could be taken off their servers.

    I suppose a sneaky mirror host could serve different files to different IP addresses though but I can't immediately see a reason for that.

  • In before the "I submitted something secret to wikileak---NO CARRIER---" jokes
  • I'm suddenly reminded of a scene an early Simpsons season. It goes something like this.

    Homer searches through the couch, while looking for a dropped peanut. He finds a bunch of stuff including a $20 bill.
    Homer Simpson: Awww ... 20 dollars!? I wanted a peanut.
    Homer's brain: 20 dollars can buy many peanuts!
    Homer Simpson: Explain how!
    Homer's brain: Money can be exchanged for goods and services.
    Homer Simpson: Woo hoo!

    So... why not exchange those donations for goods and services?

  • by pongo000 (97357) on Friday December 25, 2009 @08:50PM (#30553660)

    ...that I can't afford to be the legal test case for running a Tor exit node or a Wikileaks server, much as I believe in both of these projects. And I would imagine there are many who, while they possess the desire and the technical know-how to engage in such activities, simply cannot be expected to do so without some form of legal immunity (or at least a guarantee of unlimited legal representation). Until that time comes, I simply don't see many people stepping forward with offers of hosting assistance.

    Perhaps an effort should be made to secure guaranteed legal representation from the EFF, FSF, and other groups for those who volunteer to run exit nodes, servers, etc.

    • Obviously they just need to get a few of the people on board whom they leak damning information about! Those guys always end up immune to legal action.
    • simply cannot be expected to do so without some form of legal immunity

      Anyone volunteering to pitch this to AT&T?

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm at the point in my life that I can't afford to stand for what I believe.

      There, fixed it for you. Enjoy your "safe" life.

  • If Wikileaks' biggest problem is that it's overwhelmed with readers, wouldn't our simplest and most direct way to help solve the problem be to simply not read Wikileaks?

  • I'm a big fan of Wikileaks. I run a local caching proxy (sorta like a mirror) that I and others access it through, and I certainly would encourage everyone to send a few bucks their way whenever possible (and I do try to follow that advice myself).

    However, what comes to my mind when I read about the legal troubles of sites like that is a paraphrasing of a famous Alexander Haig quote: "Let them march all they want, as long as they pay their taxes." Winning back your right to march (or to Wikileak) is comm

    • by malkavian (9512)

      The day Wikileaks decided to publish private members addresses of political parties, they stopped (in my eyes) being part of the 'Freedom of Speech' movement, and part of the system that prevents speech they don't approve of.
      When they became unethical, I stopped being interested in supporting them..

      For the rest of your post, it'll give me some fun reading to follow up on! Looks interesting..

  • Distributed Hosting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Saturday December 26, 2009 @05:49AM (#30555102) Homepage Journal

    I've often wondered if it is possible to involve the community in hosting websites like Wikileaks and Wikipedia. A large part of the cost these organizations have is the hardware and bandwidth required to serve the content. However, this content is mostly static. It seems to me it ought to be easy to set up an extensive mirroring system for such content. It also seems to me that it ought to be able to set up a system where people can contribute a bit of disk space and other computer resources and form part of a sort of distributed hosting system. I think Freenet does something like this, and even optimizes things by moving frequently requested content closer to where it is being requested.

    Can we set up such a system for the worldwide web? Is there any existing software package that makes this possible? Can we write one? Or can we perhaps modify open source web browsers so that distributed hosting can really work?

    I think I speak for many others when I say that I have plenty of disk space, bandwidth, and CPU cycles available, but my capacity to support worthy causes financially is rather limited. So if I could contribute my computer resources, I think I could help out a lot more then I can by making donations. So if we have the technology to make that possible, let's start using it! And if we don't have the technology, let's build it!

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