Tag Archives: leaks

MediaGuardian: BBC seeks to prevent stars leaking information on Twitter

Senior BBC executives are campaigning for actors, writers and other talent to be prevented from Tweeting about the details of their work, Media Guardian reports.

An anonymous senior executive cited in the report claims that “conversations have started” about adjusting contracts to protect the broadcaster from stars revealing confidential details of forthcoming programmes.

The move reportedly follows recent leaks including Sophie Ellis-Bexter disclosing that she would be appearing on Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s new comedy Life’s Too Short alongside Sting, and Stephen Mangan’s revelation that drama Dirk Gently had been recommissioned and Armando Iannucci’s similar announcement about The Thick of It.

A spokesperson for the BBC said today: “We have clear guidelines for personal and professional use of Twitter and social media, all available online. Most talent tweeting fall under the personal usage bracket, and are advised by their agents/producers and we encourage them to read our guidelines.”

Full report on Media Guardian at this link.

The current BBC Twitter guidelines can be found at this link.


Pentagon Papers released in full on 40th anniversary of leak

It was 40 years ago when parts of the ‘Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force’, or more widely known ‘Pentagon Papers’, were first leaked to and published by the press.

First by the New York Times, on this very day, 13 June, in 1971, before a court order was won by the government to prevent further publication. Other newspapers followed the Times’ lead, but were soon also restrained. Then at the end of the month the United States Supreme Court ruled publication could resume.

And today, 40 years on from the Times’ first publication of the leaked documents, the report is being released in full by the National Archives, along with the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon Presidential libraries, filling 48 boxes with around 7,000 declassified pages. According to the National Archives about 34 per cent of the report is being made available for the first time, with no redactions and with all the supplemental back-documentation included.

In an Associated Press report on the release, Daniel Ellsberg, the former private foreign policy analyst who leaked the papers, gives his thoughts on the significance of today’s release.

Most of it has come out in congressional forums and by other means, and Ellsberg plucked out the best when he painstakingly photocopied pages that he spirited from a safe night after night, and returned in the mornings. He told The Associated Press the value in Monday’s release was in having the entire study finally brought together and put online, giving today’s generations ready access to it.

New Brussels-based WikiLeaks spin-off to target EU

This article was first published by the European Journalism Centre and is reposted here with permission.

WikiLeaks spin-off Brussels Leaks launched out of the blue last Thursday to much excitement in the European capital and Twittersphere beyond.

The European Journalism Centre’s exclusive email interview with an anonymous representative is amongst the very first media contact with the fledgling European whistleblower organisation.

Image by quinn.anya on Flickr Some rights reserved.

Why did you feel the need to set up a Brussels/EU focused Wikileaks spin-off? What do you want to achieve?

We have all worked in Brussels for a while and have constantly seen, or heard about, documents floating around which ‘would be great if they could get out in the open’. People didn’t know how to do this most of the time. In our day jobs we did this, using our networks and contacts, but there were a lot of limits. Having personal connections with ‘people in the know’ means their jobs could be on the line if we revealed the information.

Brussels has more than 15,000 lobbyists attempting to have an impact on international decisions. It’s naïve to think things do not happen behind closed doors (such as European President Barroso attending a Plastics lobby dinner – weird?).

This isn’t really for media as much as to help society, and perhaps namely civil society, get their hands on the right information to make their jobs easier.

What do you plan to focus on?

Obviously it’s EU focused which is as broad as you can get. At the moment we try the best with what we get, but obviously anything social or environmental takes priority. We’ll see.

Can you give us a clue as to what leaks, if any, you have in the pipeline?

Transport and energy.

What kind of people have/will leak information on the EU to you? What are their motives?

We meet people all the time working for EU institutions, lobby and industry groups and even NGOs who want to get information out there. They’re often good people who see something they know is wrong, and want to get it known whilst keeping hold of their jobs.

Do you have any direct connections/contact with WikiLeaks? Have they or similar whistleblowing/hacker organisations been in contact with you, or given you advice or assistance?

No, not yet but we are very open to advice and assistance.

What has been the response so far to Brussels Leaks from the institutions/organisations you plan to ‘leak’ information about?

Very quiet publically but we have heard they have at least half an eye on us.

How do your security and technical capabilities match up to the organisations who may try to stop you?

At the moment, it’s hard to tell. We’re not really anticipating in the short-term anything which would put us under the kind of pressure WikiLeaks witnessed, as many of the leaks we have so far are quite low key. This is Brussels after all. Of course we want to build, improve and develop over time – we have a plan and we won’t overstep our capacities.

Is there anything you would not publish?

We are a small group of people who will try to work to a moral code. We’re not interested in gossip or slander. We are doing this because we want to get important information out in the open, but if it looks to endanger somebody, i.e. lives or jobs, then we will not. We also have high level media contacts outside of this who we can refer leaks onto. We’re not here to get publicity, just to get the information out there.

Are any of you journalists?

Yes, all are either journalists or working in communications capacities in Brussels.

What is your code of ethics?

Obviously as we are staying anonymous we need to build credibility and a reputation. We will always be truthful, accurate, and fair and want to hold everything up to public accountability.

What can people do to get involved with Brussels Leaks?

We particularly need technical help, which is always appreciated. Otherwise, we’d just want people to be patient with us. We’re probably not going to bring down EU global diplomacy or anything like that, so we just need time.

#cablegate: WikiLeaks appeals for support amid sustained cyber attacks

It’s more than a week after WikiLeaks began publishing secret US diplomatic cables but the organisation continues to occupy the headlines. Yesterday Reporters Without Borders claimed that the site had made an appeal for hosting help amid mounting cyber attacks, calling for support in creating mirror sites.

“WikiLeaks is currently under heavy attack,” the site said in a message posted yesterday. “In order to make it impossible to ever fully remove WikiLeaks from the Internet, we need your help. If you have a Unix-based server which is hosting a website on the internet and you want to give WikiLeaks some of your hosting resources, you can help!”

The appeal follows a decision by Amazon to stop hosting WikiLeaks’ site last week and EveryDNS.net to stop providing the organisation with its .org web address.

News also broke this week that the US is considering using US Espionage Act and other laws to prosecute WikiLeaks.

In a Reuters report, US Attorney General Eric Holder is said to have claimed that “there are other statutes, other tools at our disposal”.

The Espionage Act dates back to 1917 and was focused on making it illegal to obtain national defense information for the purpose of harming the United States. Holder described the law as “pretty old” and lawmakers are considering updating it in the wake of the leak.

Today WikiLeaks vowed, via its Twitter account, to continue to release more cables tonight despite the arrest of the whistleblower founder Julian Assange in London earlier today. According to a blog post on the Australian, Assange is also due to be writing exclusively for the paper tomorrow.

BBC News: Liam Fox vows to tackle ‘leak culture’

Defence secretary Dr Liam Fox said he hoped he could change the “culture of leaks” his department “seems to have inherited”, the BBC reported this morning.

In an interview on the Radio 4 Today programme, Dr Fox was reportedly asked whether comments made by David Cameron to the Commons Liaison Committee yesterday on several unauthorised disclosures to the press represented a rebuke for him and his department.

Cameron had said the department “does seem to have had a bit of a problem with leaks, which is worrying when it is the department responsible for security.”

In response Dr Fox said he was “rebuking them much more”.

It is very easy to get, in a very big department, to get one or two people who will pass things out. I think it is unprofessional and very unfair to their colleagues who are then unable to discuss things in a free way.

I hope it is a culture we can hope to change over time.

E&P: New Jersey newspaper prints governor’s leaked emails in full

Editor&Publisher takes a look at the aftermath of New Jersey newspaper the Sunday Star-Ledger‘s two-year battle to get hold of emails between the state’s former governor and an ex-girlfriend – emails which were denied to a political opponent by New Jersey’s supreme court last year.

E&P hears from Josh Margolin, the reporter who broke the story this weekend, about the material uncovered and the immediate impact following publication.

Teased atop the Saturday edition and occupying almost all of Sunday’s page one and six entire inside pages, the package consisted of an in-depth write-up accompanied by all 123 e-mails received by the newspaper, with only very minor edits for obscenity and relevance. The investment in paper and ink preserves not only every intimate detail and typo, but also, as the story notes, “clear discussion of state business.”

From the Star-Ledger’s statehouse bureau, Josh Margolin supplied background and a long look at the issues that brought the e-mails into play. The communications stretched over two months in early 2007, when Corzine was in contract negotiations with several state workers’ unions. Lawyer and former girlfriend Carla Katz was the president of one of them, the Communications Workers of America’s largest local.

In a video interview with NJ.com’s Ledger Live, Margolin – in a move which in part reflects that of WikiLeaks last week – said the paper decided to publish the emails in their entirety because they wanted readers to make their own judgement, not the reporter.

The reason why we’re running so much of the content in our newspaper is because we want people to understand what it is. This is one of those cases we’re trying to remove as much of the reporter filter as much as possible.

See E&P’s full post here…