A new website could totally revolutionize whistleblowing by actually providing a financial incentive for people to leak secrets.
Darkleaks takes the idea of Wikileaks to a whole new level, by not only providing a safe place to leak information, but also providing a financial incentive for potential whistleblowers who have access to sensitive information. The payments will be in the form of Bitcoin so they will be entirely anonymous and untraceable.
Until now, potential whistleblowers have leaked information and took significant risks for no personal gain at all. While this is a truly honorable thing to do, it is very rare for a person to actually be willing to take these risks.
By offering to buy information, and provide an incentive for people to become Whistleblowers, Darkleaks could create a major increase in the amount of leaks that surface and the amount of people who are actually willing to come forward with information.
New Scientist reported that” The service is available to download online as a free software package and its source code has been published openly online via code-sharing website Github. Users can upload a file with a description that can be viewed by potential buyers browsing the marketplace. This is all done within the software itself.”
A recent blog post from the developers explains the process more in depth:
Darkleaks is a decentralised blackmarket where you can sell information. It has a mechanism for trustless authentication of documents that are being sold through a novel cryptographic mechanism. The authentication is fair, provably fair. Before paying for the file, a random selection of segments are released chosen by the block chain demonstrating the file’s contents match the leaker’s claim.
The software uses Bitcoin’s block chain to encrypt files which are released when payment is claimed by the leaker. Files are split into segments and encrypted. These segments are unlocked only when the leaker reveals the key by claiming his Bitcoins.
There is no identity, no central operator and no interaction between leaker and buyers. We encourage everyone to download Darkleaks now and start building.
One unfortunate unintended consequence of Darkleaks is the fact that it would create a legal loophole that would remove any legal protections that are given to whistleblowers who use the service. However, as we have seen in the cases of Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and many other whistleblowers, there is no longer any legal protections for people who leak information.
Like any platform or tool, Darkleaks is also a double-edged sword, which can be used for both good and nefarious purposes. While this can act as a platform for whistleblowers, it can also act as a platform for blackmailers and snitches. Overall though, this should be a positive development for whistleblowing.
John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.