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TOO MUCH INFO - WikiLeaks Becomes a Danger to Personal Privacy

TOO MUCH INFO - WikiLeaks Becomes A Danger To Personal Privacy

"Why is Wikileaks publishing private individuals' personal information?" PBS NewsHour 8/23/2016


SUMMARY:  WikiLeaks has revealed classified information to the public for over a decade.  A new Associated Press report found that the website has also published personal details about private citizens, including the names of two teenage rape victims and a Saudi citizen arrested for being gay.  Some of the leaks have the potential to endanger lives.  William Brangham speaks with AP's Raphael Satter for more.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  For a decade, the anti-secrecy Web site WikiLeaks has published online millions of original documents and other material — leaks that have exposed the inner workings of the National Security Agency, the U.S. military and State Department, the Saudi government and, most recently, the Democratic National Committee.

But a new report by the Associated Press says that many private individuals are caught up in the disclosures.

William Brangham has more.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM (NewsHour):  The AP went through a sampling of the tens of thousands of documents WikiLeaks released in the last year, and found many personal details about private citizens, Social Security numbers, medical files, sensitive family and financial information.

In what the AP calls particularly egregious, WikiLeaks published the names of two Teenage Rape Victims, as well as the name of a Saudi citizen who'd been arrested for being gay.  That revelation could endanger the man's life because, in Saudi Arabia, being gay is punishable by death.

Joining me now from Paris is Raphael Satter, one of the AP reporters who wrote this story.

Raphael, thanks for being here.

I wonder if you could tell us, what made you, first off, want to do this deep dive into WikiLeaks in the first place?

RAPHAEL SATTER, Associated Press:  I covered the Saudi files released back in 2015, and there was an enormous amount of newsworthy information in there.

But as we were going through the files with my colleague Maggie, who co-wrote today's story, we noticed that there was a lot of irrelevant information in there, too, including a few medical files.  Now, at the time, we sort of shrugged it off.  We thought, well, maybe there are a couple of stray files in there.

But we flagged it for further research.  And, finally, this year, we have gone back and done some digging.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  We mentioned that there was the mention of the Saudi man who had been arrested for homosexuality.  What sorts of other things did you find in this — in these documents?

RAPHAEL SATTER:  We found all kinds of things.

If it's personal or sensitive or family-related, we found it.  So, we found details of custody battles.  We found parents writing to authorities about missing children.  We found details of elopements, of divorces, of partners who had sexually transmitted diseases, partners who had AIDS, people who were in debt, in distress, in all kinds of financial difficulty, and, of course, some of the cases that you mentioned earlier, that is to say, people who were raped, including children who were raped.

This post first appeared on Mage Soapbox, please read the originial post: here

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TOO MUCH INFO - WikiLeaks Becomes a Danger to Personal Privacy


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