Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Forbes-Is WikiLeaks About To Cyber-Snitch on Bank of America?

Julian Assange, founder of the cyber-snitching site, WikiLeaks: Forbes.com
(Story reported by Andy Greenberg for Forbes Magazine)

When I spoke with WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange earlier this month, he told me that in early 2011, the whistleblower site would release a “megaleak” regarding a major U.S. bank. That release, Assange said, would include tens of thousands of its documents that reveal some sort of unethical behavior. No details on the name or what sort of bad behavior would be exposed.

Now an eagle-eyed reader has sent me a link to this Computer World interview with Assange from October of 2009, which, if true, may contain a clue to that bank’s identity:
“At the moment, for example, we are sitting on five gigabytes from Bank of America, one of the executive’s hard drives,” he said. “Now how do we present that? It’s a difficult problem. We could just dump it all into one giant Zip file, but we know for a fact that has limited impact. To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it.”
I’ve contacted WikiLeaks for confirmation but haven’t immediately received a response–its staff is likely tied up by the fallout of its release of a quarter million diplomatic cables, and by the second of two cyberattacks to strike its website in the last few days. Bank Of America didn’t respond to a request for comment either.

If Assange does plan to release the five gigabytes of data he referenced in the Computer World interview, it’s very plausible that he’s been sitting on it for more than a year. As he’s quoted saying at the time, a full five gigabyte of documents was likely beyond the scope of WikiLeaks’ resources at the time to filter, organize, and publish. Today, compared with the 392,000 Iraq war documents the site dumped in October and the millions of diplomatic documents that WikiLeaks has promised to eventually release, it would be fairly standard.

(click here to read the full story on the Forbes.com website.)

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