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African Wikileaks-like website readies itself for whistleblowing launch

Julian Assange’s Wikileaks is the best known place to go for revealing private documents and information on governments and diplomatic cables et al. But now an African version, afriLeaks, is readying itself for launch and will have pretty much the same goals in mind.

The site is currently in a development phase, and is expecting to go live by the end of the month. It was announced at the Power Reporting Conference held at Wits University this week, and has been created by the African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR) and a network of newspapers and media houses across the continent. afriLeaks has been also received support from Free Press United, Hivos and the Hermes Center for Transparency.

According to ANCIR, afriLeaks is being developed on an open source platform developed by globaLeaks. It differs greatly from existing whistleblower sites, however, in that it functions primarily as a secure dropbox for documents to be deposited as securely as current web tech allows, encrypting and sending via the TOR network.

In this sense, it’s similar to the SecureDrop system developed by the late internet activist Aaron Schwartz.

In order to protect whistleblowers’ identity, the team at afriLeaks never see the documents themselves: instead, they are further protected and forwarded on to partners. It’s a double blind way of covering up papertrails, although ANCIR does help news organisations with leaked documents in other ways, including verifying sources and digital techs.

In South Africa, the afriLeaks partners include the Mail&Guardian and investigative outfit Oxpeckers. The Zimbabwean, Botswana Guardian, Ouestaf.com and Zambian Watchdog are among 12 total outlets currently receiving training.

[Updated 6/11 – Our original article linked and referred to a similarly named but apparently defunct initiative called Afrileaks, rather than the one which launched this week. Apologies to those involved for the misunderstanding, and anyone who has information to leak please ensure you use this service.]

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