January 28, 2011 / 4:49 PM / 9 years ago

Wikileaks spin-off group launches new site

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - A group led by the former deputy to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange launched a new site to aid whistleblowers on the sidelines of the Davos meeting of the global business elite Friday.

Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who was Assange’s former number two before quitting the Wikileaks project, said the new Openleaks.org site would aim to provide a conduit that made it easier and safer for ordinary people to leak information anonymously to media and into the public domain.

The group said they hoped to work with a number of media partners, but said they were unable to give precise details on how the system would work and which websites or other organizations would be involved.

“We have to create transparency where it is refused,” said Domscheit-Berg, who is based in Germany and was previously involved with German hacker group the Chaos Computer Club.

“It is our obligation as a society to give these people whatever protection we can give.”

The site’s software is not yet available but will begin testing in coming months.

U.S. and other authorities have cracked down on WikiLeaks and Assange since the site started publishing thousands of confidential U.S. diplomatic cables that have embarrassed the United States and other parties around the world.

Assange, a 39-year-old Australian who founded WikiLeaks in 2006, is in police custody in Britain after a European arrest warrant was issued by Sweden, which wants to question him about allegations of sexual crimes. He denies the allegations.

“We are just the mechanism to accept documents from sources. And these sources decide who they want to give them too,” Domscheit-Berg said, adding that many media outlets had already shown interest.

OpenLeaks still needs funding — 1000,000 euros to cover technical infrastructure plus salaries, the German IT specialist said: “At the moment we have zero.”

It aims to raise funds via donations, as well as through a foundation in Germany, and aims to publish details publicly of its sponsors.

Reporting by Catherine Bosley; editing by Patrick Graham

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