Japanese GlobaLeaks Site Protects Whistleblowers and Freedom of Information

A new law in Japan sets prison terms of up to 10 years for public servants or others leaking state secrets, while journalists and others who encourage such leaks could be imprisoned for five years. An Internet activist and academic is challenging the new law by setting up a website aimed at making it easier for government officials to leak sensitive information to the media without getting caught, Reuters reports.

The state-secrets law drafted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government went into effect last week after year-long protests against it. Reporters Without Borders has called the law “an unprecedented threat to freedom of information.”

The new whistleblowing website is only accessible in the Tor network. The Tor .onion address is 4ge3uua3uaxuhhaq.onion (the link only works if you are using Tor).

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The website, unveiled Friday and only in Japanese at the moment, is powered by the open source platform GlobaLeaks developed by the Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights.

A Better WikiLeaks

GlobaLeaksDeveloped by a team of Italian Tor and privacy experts, GlobaLeaks empowers anyone, even non-technical people, to easily set up and maintain a whistleblowing platform. It can help many different types of users: media organizations, activist groups, corporations and public agencies. The GlobaLeaks project is aimed at supporting the practice of whistleblowing by giving people the software tools necessary to start their own initiative.

The GlobaLeaks project site emphasizes the differences with WikiLeaks and states that, while WikiLeaks is a closed and centralized platform, GlobaLeaks is an open and distributed platform. The developers claim that their platform offers a better security than WikiLeaks. Another difference is that, while WikiLeaks is focused on events of national and international resonance, GlobaLeaks is open to local issues with an impact on everyday life.

Project creator Masayuki Hatta, an economics lecturer at Surugadai University, said:

I want to create a secure channel that people can use to transfer information without putting themselves in jeopardy. I’m not entirely against the protection of sensitive information, but I also believe the new law has many problems.

Images from GlobaLeaks and Shutterstock.

Giulio Prisco is a freelance writer specialized in science, technology, business and future studies.