Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks Get Into a Twitter Spat Over How to Responsibly Release Information


Two of the biggest names in government data leaks clashed over how to responsibly release information on Twitter Thursday.

It all started when Edward Snowden tweeted that Wikileaks’ “hostility to even modest curation” was a mistake. Wikileaks wasn’t happy about the criticism — and hit Snowden back by accusing him of pandering to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

@Snowden Opportunism won’t earn you a pardon from Clinton & curation is not censorship of ruling party cash flows https://t.co/4FeygfPynk
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) July 28, 2016

The spat spotlights a major split between how Wikileaks and Snowden have handled the data they helped make public. Snowden worked with the Washington Post and other news organizations to expose National Security Agency surveillance programs. The journalists vetted the documents, many of which have not been made public, and chose to withhold some information that government officials said would compromise national security.

Wikileaks’ approach to data disclosure is more radical: It often posts massive, searchable caches online with few — if any — apparent efforts to remove sensitive personal information.

The group’s recent release of emails from the Democratic National Committee exposed things like the credit card numbers, social security numbers and passport numbers of some donors — putting them at risk of identity theft. Some observers, including North Carolina professor Zeynep Tufekci, also criticized the organization for promoting links to a leaked database containing Turkish citizens’ personal information after a recent coup attempt in the country.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Andrea Peterson