2011-08-19 Daniel Domscheit-Berg and the WikiLeaks servers [UPDATE]

Today, Daniel Domscheit-Berg confirmed to Heise that he was planning to destroy the WikiLeaks documents he took with him when he left the organization. As we have reported, he had recently publicly denied that he took these documents.

According to Domscheit-Berg, WikiLeaks did not react fast enough when he removed the data in September 2010; he says first contact was made by the end of October. Andy Müller Maguhn recently stated that he had been trying to mediate and retrieve the data for eleven months - which would be September.

The time from August to October 2010 was very turbulent for WikiLeaks, as its editor in chief Julian Assange was fighting accusations of sexual misconduct in Sweden. He also had his luggage stolen when he traveled from Stockholm to Berlin. It did not facilitate proceedings that the WikiLeaks email system was taken down around this time.

The plans to destroy the WikiLeaks submissions are likely to cause outrage amongst the community. Domscheit-Berg invited the leakers to resubmit to a platform of their choice - a very unrealistic prospect, as they would likely have destroyed the documents after submission as they could be used as evidence against them.

As Andy Müller Maguhn pointed out, it will be difficult to take legal steps against these plans, because this would mean that WikiLeaks would have to describe the data involved.

Yet, there is another detail in the recent Heise article that is of particular interest. Domscheit-Berg admits to having removed the data in September - after he was suspended - from four servers that were sponsored by him. From all we know, WikiLeaks collected a substantial amount of donations via the Wau Holland Foundation from early 2010 onwards. According to the annual report of the foundation, WikiLeaks spent 59,5925.46 Euros on technical infrastructure over the year 2010.

Certainly, there would have been no need to purchase equipment at his own expense from early 2010 onwards, and one is left puzzled why Domscheit-Berg, who is not shy to underline his investments into WikiLeaks, has not brought this up before.

Domscheit-Berg is currently in the process of launching his own submission system, Openleaks.


Spiegel reporter Holger Stark tweets the following: "The old cache of unreleased #WikiLeaks docs seems 2 be gone 4ever. #DDB said 2 me that he has destroyed it. See new #SPIEGEL #openleaks #ccc"