Stefan Mey from Berlin talks to Julian Assange, the spokesperson of the whistleblower platform Wikileaks.org. The interview took place during the 26th Chaos Communication Congress where Assange and his German colleague Daniel Schmitt gave a lecture on the current state and the future of Wikileaks.
At the moment Wikileaks.org has an unusual appearance. The website is locked down in order to generate money. The locking-down of the website was first planned until Jan 6, then Jan 11 and now it has been announced that it will last “until at least Jan 18”. How did you decide in favor of this tough step?
In part, this is a desire for us to to enforce self-discipline. It is for us a way to ensure that everyone who is involved stops normal work and actually spends time raising revenue. That’s hard for us, because we promise our sources that we will do something about their situation.
So, you strike?
Yes, it’s similar to what unions do when they go on strike. They remind people that their labour has value by withdrawing supply entirely. We give free and important information to the world every day. But when the supply is infinite in the sense that everyone is able to download what we publish, the perceived value starts to reduce down to zero. So by withdrawing supply and making our supply to zero, people start to once again perceive the value of what we are doing.
Do you urgently need money?
We have lots of very significant upcoming releases, significant in terms of bandwidth, but even more significant in terms of amount of labour they will require to process and in terms of legal attacks we will get. So we need to be in a stronger position before we can publish the material. Continue reading