2011-08-15 Chaos Computer Club expels Daniel Domscheit-Berg [UPDATE]

Openleaks founder Daniel Domscheit-Berg has been expelled from the Chaos Computer Club on grounds of damaging the reputation of the club. Following a meeting of the board members, he was handed a written notice at the Chaos Communication Camp in Finowfurt. According § 5 of the club statutes, this decision is not final, as he can now request to be heard by the board of the club; its members can also ask for the topic to be discussed in a plenary meeting.

The reason given for this decision was that Domscheit-Berg had used the reputation of the CCC to promote his new online submission platform. During his talk, he asked the attendees to test Openleaks, but refused to release the full source code. The club states explicitly on its homepage that it does not perform such tests. Board member Andy Müller Maguhn subsequently described his conduct as "impertinent" (Spiegel interview, Nr. 33, page 81). Openleaks spokesperson Jan Michael Ihl later denied Domscheit-Berg had asked the CCC to test its submission platform. Insofar, only one review of Openleaks by CCCamp11 delegate Hanno Böck has been made public. It lists several SSL vulnerabilities.

The decision caused substantial controversy amongst the members of the club. One board member has reportedly resigned.

It was not the first time Domscheit-Berg had clashed with the club. Since his well publicised suspension from Wikileaks, Müller Maguhn had been trying to mediate between him and his former employer regarding the return of data he admits to have taken with him. Eleven months later, these negotiations are still ongoing. Finally, Müller Maguhn became suspicious when Domscheit-Berg explicitly stated in a newspaper interview that he didn't take any documents with him when he left Wikileaks, whereas he told Müller Maguhn he had to survey the documents one by one before returning them to Wikileaks. According to Linus Neumann, there were also suspicions Domscheit-Berg collaborated with the secret service.


In February 2012, Daniel Domscheit Berg was re-admitted to the CCC. See this press release: http://www.ccc.de/de/updates/2012/amv2012

This is a sad wake-up for the internet world.

We are often starry eyed with our newfound (10 year old) voice and awed by its power to reach out and mobilise people and resources. Yet, we are still shackled by human nature with all its warts. Mr. Domscheit-Berg is certainly not unique in his petulence and envy, Adrian Lamo comes immediatly to mind, but there will be many others. People of some talent but insufficiently motivated to overcome their need for personal recognition. One positive note in this unfolding story is that it validates Julian Assange and his actions.

For those who tend to find themselves in the idealist and slightly naive camp too often, I found this essay by Joel Wade originally posted at the Daily Bell, to be a good perspective.


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