Though initial hype about a “WikiLeaks Revolution” in Tunisia has largely proven unfounded, the format of open source collection and publication of documentation has obviously inspired Egyptian activists. On Friday March 4th, when the Ministry of the Interior announced that all state security operations were suspended until the Ministry underwent “restructuring,” all staff vacated office buildings. Using this as an opportunity, protesters laid siege to the ministries offices throughout the city to protect against further destruction of potentially incriminating documentation. The debris of shredded paper flooded the offices and images quickly began appearing on photo platforms like Yfrog. Though there have been many rumors circulating about the destruction of documents and several unexplained fires at central government buildings like the Ministry of the Interior and the central Mougamma in Tahrir Square, this was the first visual documentation to surface.
Following this confirmation of document destruction came an unexpected surprise: there were many documents that were still legible, and more importantly, incriminating. Groups of protesters roamed the offices collecting documentation detailing agreements between the government and Gamma Group to hack Skype and email accounts; details about branches of the Ministry particularly targeting human rights groups; torture devices; and many other equally disturbing activities recorded in paper trails.
The data collection was not structured in a way conducive to centralization and as protesters left the scene many took documentation with them. The armed forces called on protesters to return documents to them so that they can be used as a part of a larger investigation into corruption and rights violations, but an online solution to ensure the openness and availability of the information was quickly developed and modeled after WikiLeak’s platform. The Facebook page called “Amn Dawla Leaks” (Arabic for State Security Intelligence) was formed, has been “liked” over 9000 times, and has begun inviting protesters that seized documents to post scanned copies of them online. At the time of this writing 33 documents have been posted. To disseminate the images more widely, the hashtag #AmnDawla was created and currently has been used over 3000 times on Twitter.
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Interesting post, Alix. Thanks for sharing. Seems like there are a lot of systems starting up to examine the files: both centralized and extremely decentralized. Hopefully one will work!
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