“We want to set up a system that is different from WikiLeaks,” explained 25-year-old student Herbert Snorrason, adding that the project was “built on similar ideas” to those behind the organisation that has released hundreds of thousands of classified US documents in recent months.
“We broke from WikiLeaks because a few ex-WikiLeaks members had been very unhappy with the way (Julian) Assange was conducting things,” Snorrason told AFP, referring to WikiLeaks’ enigmatic Australian founder.
“They realised that ideas they wanted to come across would never be received,” he added.
Assange, who is wanted internationally for questioning about rape allegations in Sweden, has previously been criticised for “acting like an emperor” in running his organisation.
Nonetheless, Snorrason insisted the project was “not a personal attack on Julian Assange or WikiLeaks.”
“It is a different type of project and we do not see it as competition, nor should it be considered to be a WikiLeaks competitor,” he said.
The difference, according to Snorrason, was that while WikiLeaks gathers leaked documents and dumps them on its site, the new project will be “a safe haven where people can share information anonymously.”
“We will not be publishing information ourselves, but rather be the hub of where people can upload information without having to be associated with what they upload,” he explained.
The structure will also be different from WikiLeaks to avoid one person gaining overall control, he said.
“We aim for the organisational structure of the project to be as open as possible. We do not intend of having one person in control, but rather that majority of people involved will be present in all decision making,” Snorrason said.
“We want this to be transparent,” he added.
Snorrason said the project would be launched “very soon”. He could not say how many people were involved, but said many of those did not want to be publicly “associated with the project.”
German Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who under the alias Daniel Schmitt worked as a WikiLeaks spokesman until he left in September, is reportedly part of the group. “There have been talks of having him involved,” Snorrason said.
Icelandic MP and freedom of speech advocate Birgitta Jonsdottir said she was familiar with the project but denied reports she was directly involved.
WikiLeaks could not be immediately reached for comment.
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