Wall Street Journal launches insecure Wikileaks clone, promises to sell you out

rupertjulian.jpgThe Wall Street Journal launched a Wikileaks clone, Safehouse, today. The site itself is reportedly crude and insecure, and its terms of service say they will report you to the law or otherwise sell you out if it pleases them:
"We reserve the right to disclose any information about you to law enforcement authorities or to a requesting third party, without notice, in order to comply with any applicable laws and/or requests under legal process, to operate our systems properly, to protect the property or rights of Dow Jones or any affiliated companies, and to safeguard the interests of others."
Shit sandwiches are on the menu today at Rupert Murdoch's news empire, but if you're dumb enough to leak something to it, you've really earned yours. Don't Leak to the Wall Street Journal's New Wikileaks Knockoff [Gawker] Researchers Say WSJ's WikiLeaks Copycat Is Full Of Holes [Forbes] Update: The WSJ issued a statement saying that it has queued fixes for the site's technical shortcomings and that its "number one priority is protecting our sources."


  1. Rob,
    I’m not saying their site doesn’t suck, but at least be unbiased enough to present ALL the information. Their terms of service actually say:

    “Except when we have a separately negotiated confidentiality agreement pursuant to the “Request Confidentiality” Section above, we reserve the right to disclose…”

    There’s no reason to cherry pick from their terms, even presented in their entirety they obviously aren’t Wikileaks:

    “Please note that until we mutually decide to enter into a confidential relationship, any information you send to us (including contact information) can be used for any purpose…”

    1. Arguably, the fact that you have to “separately negotiate a confidentiality agreement” if you are visiting a site designed for leaking is itself a sign of suck:

      Leaker: Hey, WSJ! Can this be confidential?

      WSJ: Well, I don’t know, how cool/dangerous is it? We do reserve the right to rat you out until we agree on confidentiality; but we need to know whether to bother.

      Leaker: Um, WTF? This is your leaking site. Under what circumstances would I come to a leaking site without confidentiality in mind?

  2. Nice of them to be so transparent about being utterly fucking useless. After looking at those terms and conditions, I wouldn’t send anything more controversial than a press release…

  3. Why should I not be biased against something that sucks? The thing you are pointing out doesn’t even make it suck less!

    “I’d like to leak something to you, but first we need to negotiate a confidentiality agreement that will be legally meaningless unless I tell you all about myself!”

    1. Bob, you should not be biased in your reporting of something that sucks because it makes it harder for others to tell what is really going on, to trust you, and to know that the thing in question does, in fact, suck.

      In effect, you’re lying to make a point. This clouds the fact that your point is perfectly valid.

      1. Bob, you should not be biased in your reporting of something that sucks because it makes it harder for others to tell what is really going on, to trust you, and to know that the thing in question does, in fact, suck.

        Steve, you should not hold blog authors to journalistic standards when there is no prerequisite to present both sides equally – especially when one side is a fucking joke. The disclaimer on all blogs should be RTFA. So what if Rob includes his personal opinion? His opinion is probably more valid and relevant than any idiotic article that automatically presumes 50% of a story should be pro and 50% against.

        If. Something. Sucks. It. Sucks. Contrary to your point, giving undue time to irrelevant arguments would in fact make it harder to tell what is really going on.

        “Argument A seems right, but then Rob has committed equal time to the reporting of argument B, so maybe I should consider it as credible – even though it seems wrong.”
        ^This is the outcome of what you recommend

      2. WTF? That makes no sense to me at all.

        There is no “lying”, there is an honest and undisguised expression of opinion.

        If anyone wants to disappear up their own backside policing and calibrating some mythical “impartiality”, can they do that elsewhere please – I’m happy to read something which is clearly a well- but forcefully-argued partisan PoV and draw my own conclusions.

  4. I think everyone is going about this wrong…they have their first big story. Did you know the Wall Street Journal just launched it’s own leak site that doesn’t offer the same protections that Wikileaks affords its’ contributors?
    Someone should probably go to the “WSJ Safehouse” and submit the transcript of the Gawker story that uncovers this irresponsible lack of proection so they can break the story to the world.
    Also, circular references are my favorite type of error.

  5. … And then there’s the whole uselessness of attempting to enforce a negotiated confidentiality agreement in a civil court from a CIA shadow prison.

  6. FAIL. They don’t understand what a Safehouse means.

    “and to safeguard the interests of others.”
    I agree 100% @satn’s reading of that line, they will screw you for a dollar. any third party’s interested come before those of the leakers/users.

    I’d like to leak on their site! :-)

    WSJ = What a Shitty Joke

  7. Does this mean they will “safeguard the interests” sub-prime lenders rather than report unsustainable lending practices.

  8. Wow, the whole thing is incredibly weird. I wouldn’t touch the Wall Street Journal Leaky site with a 10-foot internet pole.

    I mean, c’mon. Who exactly are they trying to attract with that site?

    I’ll just blow my own whistle. Thanks.

  9. If “information wants to be free,” doesn’t that include information on who’s leaking data?

  10. People leak to papers all the time. This just makes it more convenient and was a way for the Wall Stree Journal to publicize themselves as an outlet for information. Maybe someone with something to leak will hear about Safehouse and decide to leak to them instead of The New York Times or Washington Post.

  11. Lying? Really? What’s he lying about? I think he called it just fine. WSJ presents one face, branded to give a certain impression about the nature of its workings, then presents a very different face in its legal agreement.

    What’s the fucking point of having a leaking site you have to negotiate a contract with? As Rob so succinctly points out, if you deal with them on these terms, be prepared to get whats coming to you.

    Rupert Murdoch wants his “me-too” news making machine in a bid to stay relevant, but he’s only willing to copy the style, not the substance of wikileaks. He’s a man with no balls. I’ll take Assange and his arrogance any day. At least he stands for something.

    Here’s the real question:

    Why aren’t there terms of service, “We have gone through every technical possible solution to insure we don’t know who the fuck you are, so even someone asked us we’d have no way of knowing who you are anyway.”

    Oh right, that’s because it sucks.

  12. You guys are missing the point. This is deeply introspective social satire of the highest order. Of course it sucks. It sucks because it didn’t set out to succeed at either accountability or anonymity, it set out to be a wild spectacle of car chases and special effects. It’s obviously satire.


    The WSJ is doing you a favor! At least they tell you!

    Don’t ANY of you remember this?

    USA Patriot Act

    The 2001 USA Patriot Act expands federal law enforcement’s surveillance, seizure and investigative powers. If library records are requested under the USA Patriot Act, the law states that, in certain circumstances, library staff cannot inform the person about whom the information is requested, cannot speak to co-workers, the media or other government officials about the inquiry. Such requests may only be reported to the appropriate higher authority within the library.

    In brief, under the USA PATRIOT Act, federal agents may request records of your library activities (including materials you borrow and your computer workstation usage). That federal law prohibits Library staff from informing you or anyone else if federal agents have obtained records about you.


  14. “… or if Rupert Murdoch doesn’t like you, or what you’re doing, or what you’re saying, or what he thinks you might do or think or say someday.” Kind of ‘the Bush Doctrine’ for journalism.

  15. How to leak information to the WSJ confidentially:

    A) Put on gloves.
    B) Send the information to your printer and put the result in a box.
    C) Proceed to a central post office in the largest available city.
    D) Mail box to WSJ.

      1. Yeah, even without knowing that, I actually considered the steps “disconnect computer from network,” “buy printer with cash,” and “destroy printer.”

    1. Just make sure you don’t use a printer that can be tied to you. Ideally use a stolen printer that has already been reported lost. After usuing the printer be sure to thouroughly destroy it.

      1. Or you could, I don’t know, buy a used one at a thrift store. How is stealing a printer the easiest option?

  16. Ugh, Gawker’s new linking system is SO ANNOYING!!!

    UK people clicking that link end up on the Gawker homepage. You then have to go up to the address bar, replace ‘uk.gawker.com’ with ‘gawker.com’ and hit to see the article.

    Fuck Web 2.0.

    1. I’ve given up on Gawker because of that – if they want to break the internet, I’ll just not use that bit, ‘cos there are plenty of good bits that aren’t broken.

      De-Gawked in the UK!

  17. I think someone needs to start serving up a shit storm of shit leaks to this shit sandwich of a shit site.

  18. I can’t speak to the security of the site, but there are two good things I see here. First, the terms of service are actually easy to understand and short. Second, they are up front in saying that they can’t be trusted*, which is admirable and rare: “we are unable to ensure the complete confidentiality or anonymity of anything you send to us. As a result, please use discretion in contacting us and providing us with information. You use this service at your own risk.”

    They also suggest using Tor to be responsible for your own anonymity.

    *Which journalists, mainstream or not, can you trust against their own self interest? Or against the courts? Or against government, shall we say, “encouragement?”

  19. just sent to SafeHouse:

    “Someone in my organization just informed me that the WSJ had started a “crude and insecure” site to supposedly securely share information. I found this too laughable NOT to share !”

  20. Safehouse huh? I guess that makes the WSJ the Ministry of Truth.

    You can’t put the lid back on the idea of Wikileaks, but you apparently can create clones to try to catch whistleblowers.

  21. Welcome, WSJ astroturfers!

    Really, this is hilarious; WSJ is making a point of announcing its own irrelevance. I predict that this thing will become a cesspool of petty corporate backbiting and squabble-settling and carefully-planted “leaks” (i.e. Koch Bros.-funded rumors) about the Obama Administration that will die a quiet death shortly after the 2012 elections.

  22. Considering this is on the WSJ, I’m guessing Safehouse is meant more for corporate whistleblowers rather than the politico kind that contribute to Wikileaks. The seemingly odd “sell out” clause is likely there to punish anyone trying to use Safehouse as a forum for slanderous/false claims.

  23. Who in their right mind would provide any identifying details of themselves when leaking something, even to Wikileaks? You never know who might intercept the leak and what they might do with that info.

    1. Yeah that’s a good point. It’s pretty safe to say that the typical PC user isn’t too network savvy and would easily be vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. Heck the NSA already collects data on most US internet users if you use AT&T, Verizon or any of the large ISP. Not that the NSA is doing anything nefarious with it, but the US is more of a police state than most people realize.

  24. I have the distinct feeling the site is soon going to be hosting some “leaks” of dubious origins from the right wing’s enemies list: teachers unions, the NEA, Planned Parenthood, NPR, etc. Stay tuned: More lies ahead.

    1. A disinformation outlet – interesting. Corperate psyops.
      *puts on foil hat, and wire mess cloak* Bring it Murdock you lizard f^CK!!1

      Hopefully 4chan will get childish about the site. On thing those kids do really well is epic spam.

  25. It’s a TRAP!

    – Admiral Ackbar

    Seriously, all the honest people already quit the WSJ. The investigative work on corporate scandals is long gone. Now the pages are filled with Murdoch’s propaganda and ads for overpriced toys.

    Remember, Murdoch sued for the right to lie on the news in Canada and lost so he hasn’t expanded there. He won in the US. That’s right, the courts in the US agreed that an anational corporation knowingly lying on the news was protected speech but a citizen telling a truth that hurts the business value of an anational corporation is a crime.

    This is bizarro world.

  26. So now they claim they will protect sources? We all know that is a lie and they would sell out in a heartbeat. Corporate means do not trust, at all. And they are the epitome of Corporate. Fuck em.

  27. If you are ever contacted by Wall Street Journal just ignore them; don’t bother providing interview or any other info to a WSJ correspondent, cause WSJ will take all your info and data and will provide you with no credits in their article whatsoever.

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