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WikiLeaks Threatens To Publish Twitter Users' Personal Info (usatoday.com) 211

WikiLeaks said on Twitter earlier today that it wants to publish the private information of hundreds of thousands of verified Twitter users. The group said an online database would include such sensitive details as family relationships and finances. USA Today reports: "We are thinking of making an online database with all 'verified' twitter accounts [and] their family/job/financial/housing relationships," the WikiLeaks Task Force account tweeted Friday. The account then tweeted: "We are looking for clear discrete (father/shareholding/party membership) variables that can be put into our AI software. Other suggestions?" Wikileaks told journalist Kevin Collier on Twitter that the organization wants to "develop a metric to understand influence networks based on proximity graphs." Twitter bans the use of Twitter data for "surveillance purposes." In a statement, Twitter said: "Posting another person's private and confidential information is a violation of the Twitter rules." Twitter declined to say how many of its users have verified accounts but the Verified Twitter account which follows verified accounts currently follows 237,000. Verified accounts confirm the identity of the person tweeting by displaying a blue check mark. Twitter says it verifies an account when "it is determined to be an account of public interest." Twitter launched the feature in 2009 after celebrities complained about people impersonating them on the social media service.
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WikiLeaks Threatens To Publish Twitter Users' Personal Info

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  • Wikileaks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday January 06, 2017 @08:07PM (#53620809) Journal

    Oh do please tell us, all you Wikileaks supporters, just how wonderful an organization it is, as it begins the process of trying to fuck over hundreds of thousands of people whose only crime was verifying their account.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 06, 2017 @08:12PM (#53620853)
      I'm a tremendous Wikileaks supporter, but this is clearly going too far. How will the new president be able to govern if Wikileaks is interfering with Twitter?
      • Wine thru nose event! The most cogent observation yet.

      • Offer to take back those 35 Russian spies if Putin gets an agent to put Polonium in Assange's wine
        • Offer to take back those 35 Russian spies if Putin gets an agent to put Polonium in Assange's wine

          What do you think he would charge to put some in Trump's?

      • by murdocj ( 543661 )

        You mean the prez brought to us by Putin via Wikileaks?

      • by shanen ( 462549 )

        Excellent point. #PresidentTweety is going to run things by Twitter.

        Did you realize that his attack on Toyota caused the market cap of the Japanese auto makers to fall by more than $4 BILLION. Don't you wish you could make BILLIONS and BILLIONS of dollars disappear with a tweet?

        Abuse of power? Conflict of interest?

        Well, if I had only known that the Donald was about to make that tweet and I had shorted those companies, I could have made a lot of money. Maybe the long gap in one of his "presidential" two-part

        • Well, if I had only known that the Donald was about to make that tweet and I had shorted those companies, I could have made a lot of money.

          I have no doubt that this will soon be a "feature" of the new administration, basically a game of "Guess Who To Short" (or buy).

          Maybe he'll sell advance notice of his upcoming Twitter rants to serious investors.

          And what happens if his feed is hacked and some joker tweets, "Russia bad! Launching nuclear missiles now! All Russians will die!"

          • by shanen ( 462549 )

            Oh dear. I hadn't thought of something as obvious as cracking his password. We can only hope that he has been strongly persuaded to use REALLY hard passwords.

            I was actually thinking along the lines of someone pwning his Twitter device and watching him in the process of composing tweets. The smart someone would consider the obvious economic ramifications and prepare a response pending the "Tweet" button. In the example I cited, someone would prepare to short the Japanese auto makers as soon as the focus of t

            • Oh dear. I hadn't thought of something as obvious as cracking his password. We can only hope that he has been strongly persuaded to use REALLY hard passwords.

              Oh fer sure. Since he knows so much about "the cyber" I'm sure it's nothing guessable like "IdLoveToBangMyDaughter" or "password" or "1234".

              • by shanen ( 462549 )

                Oh dear. I hadn't thought of something as obvious as cracking his password. We can only hope that he has been strongly persuaded to use REALLY hard passwords.

                Oh fer sure. Since he knows so much about "the cyber" I'm sure it's nothing guessable like "IdLoveToBangMyDaughter" or "password" or "1234".

                They strongly persuaded him to include a number and punctuation. It's "IdLoveToBangMy2Daughters!".

                Obviously a bad joke, but I seriously hope that his saved passwords are complicated because he doesn't have to enter them very often. Still, if I were a hostile country I would give a high priority to getting two minutes alone with Trump's Twitter device.

                • but I seriously hope that his saved passwords are complicated

                  I certainly would hope so too, but knowing what I know about him I wouldn't count on it. Seriously, I'd bet his password is something like "iloveivanka" or his birth date or maybe "MAGA".

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          I wonder who will be the first to sue him over a tweet? My guess would be a Silicon Valley company.

          One of his friends will probably go down for insider trading too, due to some tweet they knew about or even prompted. Might even be a random person goading him into saying something unfortunate, or making a fake account to feed him fake news.

          • by shanen ( 462549 )

            I'd give you a positive mod if I ever saw one to give. I forgot to mention the puppet effect. So easily manipulated.

    • Re:Wikileaks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Friday January 06, 2017 @08:19PM (#53620885)
      WikiLeaks originally looked like it could become one of the important institutions for government transparency and institutional crime, however they seemed to have ended up largely as an group looking to self-aggrandize their reputation. At this point they seem to be irrelevant, the important leaks like Snowden, Panama Papers, Swiss banking, etc. have not used them.
      • They're still important enough that Russian chose to use them.

      • > self-aggrandize their reputation:

        what a wonderful phrase. I hope to use it. Anyway on to the reply

        I have never liked Wikileaks in any way. Spilling the beans without some sort of check
        and balance does more harm than good. That's why qualified, and skilled reporting, is
        required. A good story will always sell, Great story's, make great reading IE: what you had mentioned.

        I feel that people who are validated on Twitter will be subjected to Doxing and possible harm. You don't
        have to be too famous to become

    • by Anonymous Coward

      People on Slashdot were big wikileaks supporters when they were fucking over Republicans. Now they are fucking over Democrats and not so much love anymore.

      Suck it up. If you support either major party you deserve it.

      • Re:Wikileaks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday January 06, 2017 @08:26PM (#53620931) Journal

        I was a supporter when they were releasing information in a non-partisan and unbiased way. Now that they're basically a tool of the Russian government, and possibly of even worse actors, I think the time has come to write them off.

        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by Xenographic ( 557057 )

          > I was a supporter when they were releasing information in a non-partisan and unbiased way.

          You mean back when they were dumping on Bush, right? Yeah, that was quality stuff. I like how you do not, because you cannot, prove that any of their info is bad. You just don't like the results when your side's dirty tricks end up exposed.

          I don't have a side in this, Republican or Democrat. I hope they keep Trump (and all the successors) in line, too. I supported Obama back in the day, but arming the "modera

          • by Luthair ( 847766 )
            I think you'll find most people who supported the early wikileaks also support Snowden who released similar information to Manning. I think you can also make an argument for Clinton's secretary of state emails but personal emails and DNC are something pretty different.
          • by DogDude ( 805747 )
            The FBI and the CIA seem to disagree with you:
            http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01... [nytimes.com]
            • Look, I've read the actual report. It's garbage. Utter garbage. The FBI relied on the CrowdStrike reports without actually getting to look at the servers themselves. CS was paid by the DNC. You guys keep recycling the same crappy "evidence" and trying to find ways to rack up a higher number of organizations to whitewash it.

              This report doesn't have new evidence of any kind, they have unsupported conclusions. The few technical details they offer are so bad as to be laughable. Russian "trolls"? How doe

              • The public report doesn't include a lot of the detail and evidence. If you had the classified version it would probably nullify most of your criticisms.

              • by gtall ( 79522 )

                Wow, the FBI shared ALL their sources with you? You must be very special.

                • How do you know I didn't hack in and get all the secret evidence myself?

                  It turns out that their password was p@assword, they left their phone in a DC cab for anyone to find, and they will happily send me their credentials whenever I send them a crude phishing email.

                  Something tells me you're not going to believe any of this because you don't want to.

        • by poity ( 465672 )

          When you were a supporter, Wikileaks was leaking mostly information that was embarrassing or damaging to the United States. Was that bias against the US? If not (since you imply they used to not be biased), then how can they be biased for releasing information that was embarrassing or damaging to a US political party?

          Was Wikileaks anti-American when you were a supporter? If they were, why did you support them and falsely claim they were unbiased. If they weren't, how can you claim that they have only now be

      • I've hated them for as long as they've been undermining rule of law in favor of political machinations.

        ...For those of you just tuning in, that was pretty much their very beginning.

      • Re:Wikileaks (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Augusto ( 12068 ) on Friday January 06, 2017 @08:54PM (#53621085) Homepage

        I've been on slashdot a looooong time. Never supported wikileaks, and Assange seemed like an asshole from day 1.

    • Does this read very serious to you? Do you seriously think that you can build a useful database for your AIs by having random strangers email you unverifiable info?

      By way of example, what kind of unverifiable nonsense would we end up with in your case? That you picked the same online handle as someone named Mike Martin in Immokalee, FL who has been posting top quality stuff like "where is my moon?" and "I saw a broken human body in my neighborhoods" on Twitter? Or is the embarrassing part where they admi

      • Well, in the factual world, data is data. Causation and Correlation are not fact, but propaganda can make it like look fact. Great example is the Kevin Bacon game, given enough, people might think you know KB directly or have access to his ear.

        Now more directly, I gather data all the time for my Real Estate business, I'm a realtor.
        I note overgrown lawns and messy landscaping ( means they forgot to call the service, on holiday, or don't have money )
        I note garage sales ( Means they might be cleaning house for

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by _KiTA_ ( 241027 )

      Oh do please tell us, all you Wikileaks supporters, just how wonderful an organization it is, as it begins the process of trying to fuck over hundreds of thousands of people whose only crime was verifying their account.

      Sure. Let me just start this with something important.

      The article is false. Wikileaks does not wish to dox anyone. They wish to create a database of influence. Politician X votes a certain way, you can check and see he was paid off by Corporation Y. Journalist A working for Publication B is owned by Corporation C, which has connections to X, Y, Z, W.

      For example, here's a list of reporters who were outed as colluding with the Hillary Clinton campaign via the email leaks.

      http://imgur.com/a/oO3FS [imgur.com]

      Here's a

      • Re:Wikileaks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Friday January 06, 2017 @11:18PM (#53621743) Journal

        Wikileaks does not wish to dox anyone. They wish to create a database of influence.

        So all those rape victims and mental health patients they doxxed last August were all influential politicos?
        =Smidge=

      • Re:Wikileaks (Score:5, Informative)

        by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Saturday January 07, 2017 @12:39AM (#53622019) Homepage Journal

        The article is false. Wikileaks does not wish to dox anyone. They wish to create a database of influence. Politician X votes a certain way, you can check and see he was paid off by Corporation Y. Journalist A working for Publication B is owned by Corporation C, which has connections to X, Y, Z, W.

        No. The original tweet says nothing about politicians or anything related to sphere's of influence. The tweet, apparently now deleted [twitter.com], read:

        We are thinking of making an online database with all "verified" twitter accounts & their family/job/financial/housing relationships.

        This is what the article you're reading is about. After there was outrage, Wikileaks (or specifically https://twitter.com/WLTaskForc... [twitter.com]) started back peddling, and then claimed everyone who interpreted the above as being a threat to dox as being liars.

        Your spin doesn't match what WLTaskForce actually said, and neither does their spin. They said NOTHING about politicians. The vast majority of "verified" Twitter users aren't political at all, they're mostly actors, comedians, authors, and business people.

        This was unambiguously a proposal to create a doxxing database. In an era in which Wikileaks is allied with a President-elect who ran a fascist campaign, that's terrifying.

        • while you see it as a Doxxing Database, I see it as a kidnapping database.

          A database of verified people and their family is a simple family kidnapping filter.

          Bill made a lot on a deal, Bill is just a verified twitter user whom owns a store, brags about it business, and did a huge deal
          that he's popping a bottle of wine.
          Villain opens up the database and starts a review of reasonably near targets and finds Bill, Villian take his daughter and
          Bill will have to pay $$$ to get his kid back ( which is most likely d

    • by shanen ( 462549 ) on Friday January 06, 2017 @09:46PM (#53621363) Homepage Journal

      How did that comment rate an "insightful" moderation? The "funny" reply was much more insightful, but rather funny, too, so I guess that's a fair cop of sorts...

      The ideal of WikiLeaks is that there is too much abuse of secrecy by powerful people and more of those secrets should be revealed. There is a real problem there, because in many cases the powerful people are doing terrible, even criminal, things because they think they can keep them secret.

      The implementation is fundamentally broken, but I'm not sure how much credit or blame you can assign to Assange. "The system" of corruption, the oligarchy or kleptocracy, if you prefer, is already so well established and powerful that you have to be insane to go against it in the first place. Only someone with personality problems along Assange's lines could have created a WikiLeaks-type organization of any visible significance. Did you even know there are several similar organizations with sane leadership?

      Another pathology was the financial model, or rather the lack of any. In chasing the money they wound up producing disaster porn, sort of like a low-budget CNN. Actually, insofar as WikiLeaks had smaller expenses, you could argue the RoI was higher. However it led them to focus on controlled timing for maximum market value of their "news" (AKA disaster porn) and also made them too subject to manipulation.

      Just reading the official report now https://www.dni.gov/files/docu... [dni.gov] but it was already obvious to me that WikiLeaks was used as part of a propaganda and disinformation campaign. WikiLeaks never had the resources to actually check the validity (or even the potentially harmful consequences) of the data they were publishing. Yet it was the drive to maximize the impact and market value that made WikiLeaks such a useful tool last October.

      I'm suffering a bit of a recall gap here. What's the expression for a naive fool manipulated by someone of great cunning (such as Putin)? Oh yeah. It's "useful idiot". Not sure where he started, but Assange ended as a useful idiot.

      • Risking the displeasure of a certain KGB capo mafioso I would have modded you up, were you not at 5 already. --Pack warm sweaters Norilsk can be nippy.
        • by shanen ( 462549 )

          Thanks, and if I ever got a mod point, I might give such a comment a "funny" (in the absence of a more precise mod).

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        There's a fine line between stranding for something and trying to make people identify that thing with you. But that line is important: it's the difference between having integrity and building a self-serving cult of personality. Integrity means accountability; cult of personality means getting a free pass because of who you are.

        Assange would like everyone to believe that disagreeing with him means disagreeing with the very concept of transparency in the exercise of power by the powerful. It's not.

        • by shanen ( 462549 )

          Hear, hear. I'd give you the second "insightful" if I ever saw a mod point to give.

          (If I understand the [broken] moderation system, the first mod point has an advantage in setting the direction, but the mod doesn't really become visible until you get a second mod. Ergo, I only saw your legitimately insightful comment as a reply to my comment (since I normally search for "funny" and "insightful").)

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by hairyfeet ( 841228 )

      Perhaps they are trying to show that those that Twitter deems "verified" follow a particular political narrative? After all we've seen Twitter yank verification as well as outright banning those on the right while ignoring blatant violation of their TOS like racist bile and death threats (BLM organizers) as well as celebs telling their followers to attack someone while spewing racist epitaphs (Leslie Jones) and sockpuppeting attacks on users to drum up publicity (Paul Fieg).

      So while I'm not sure if handin

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      Information wants to be free, let the Wikileaks pee to their hearts content. Maybe now Putin's bitch running Wikileaks is showing his true colors.

    • by poity ( 465672 )

      If you're verified, your real name is out there with your consent. If your real name is out there, then a whole host of publicly available information about you is accessible. Nothing proposed by Wikileaks here deals with private or secret information. Relationship graphs of real people are what Twitter and Facebook ALREADY POSSESS internally, and they sell that information to businesses for a price. Wikileaks proposes to build its own just like what Twitter and Facebook ALREADY POSSESS, accessible to all n

      • the post by WikiLeaks specifically stated Family

        A database of verified people and their family is a simple family kidnapping filter.
        Bill made a lot on a deal, Bill is just a verified twitter user whom owns a store, brags about it business, and did a huge deal
        that he's popping a bottle of wine.
        Villain opens up the database and starts a review of reasonably near targets and finds Bill, Villian take his daughter and
        Bill will have to pay $$$ to get his kid back ( which is most likely dead )

        Those that buy data a

    • Fuck Wikileaks.
  • Ironic much? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Xenographic ( 557057 ) on Friday January 06, 2017 @08:10PM (#53620833) Journal

    It's funny how they're only up in arms when other people do it. Also the headline doesn't really match the Tweet... If they're verified accounts, people kind of already know who is behind them....

    They're totally willing to sell it to businesses (but not the US Government for some odd reason... guess they have to make a new shell company for that).

    And nobody seems to care about all those NSA databases Wikileaks exposed.

    Or maybe they will be once the NSA answers to Trump? I can only wonder.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The don't want to find the identity of the verified person.

      They want to know where they work.

      They want to know where they live.

      They want to know who their loved ones are.

      They want to know where their loved ones work and live.

      What better way to keep someone in check than to send them a photo of where their spouse works or where their child goes to school?

      Not to mention they are really bad at it - they replied to a guy making fun of them and linked his LinkedIn profile to taunt him saying he spent 10 years in

      • So... you're worried they might build a crappier version of the kinds of social media databases that Twitter, Facebook & the government already have?

  • ... anybody who still thinks that this organization is a force for good should take another hard look at their recent track record.

    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/0... [rawstory.com]

    • by quax ( 19371 )

      ... anybody who still thinks that this organization is a force for good should take another hard look at their recent track record.

      Or just arbitrarily downvote me, because they really don't like to face reality.

  • ... because the "rules" only allow for banning a Twitter account.

    The Terms of Service have no legal standing outside the twittersphere.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    But on the other, if you give Twitter your personal information such as name and family relationships, what did you think was going to happen? It's too tempting of a target. People need to start saying "no" to social media companies that want to harvest every shred of personal information about them.

    Use them pseudonymously if you must, but do not let them have that much data about you. It's a recipe for disaster.

  • Why on earth would somebody give Twitter "private information", given that it is (and was from the start) a medium for publication of irrelevant chatter for the attention-span challenged?
    • Well, for starters, its against the Twitter T.O.S. not to.

    • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

      Because they want that magic checkmark. That's why its only talking about "verified" users. There's no other way to verify an account actually belongs to a specific real person without exchanging some kind of real-world identification information. It looks like he's saying Wikileaks got hold of that database.

      Its not all twitter users, just the verified ones. So relax, its not ALL twitter users they are doxxing; only 237 thousand of them.

  • by T.E.D. ( 34228 ) on Friday January 06, 2017 @08:25PM (#53620919)

    Originally, I believe the idea of Wikileaks was to have a place for people to safely and anonymously without fear of retaliation, leak information people in power didn't want publicized.

    Now in the last day, Wikileaks has come out against government leaks [arstechnica.com], and anonymity, and in support of retaliation against people (eg: Doxing). In our own little real-life version of Animal Farm, it looks like we're now near the end of the story.

    Or like @ElliotHiggins said on Twitter:

    Feels like WikiLeaks stared into the abyss, then fell into it, befriended the monsters, and is now looking upwards with them.

    • Well, at least we can dispense with the notion that Assange is some sort of champion of truth. He's basically an online mobster and gun for hire.

    • Originally, I believe the idea of Wikileaks was to have a place for people to safely and anonymously without fear of retaliation, leak information people in power didn't want publicized.

      That might have been the idea, but it was never really the result.

      WikiLeaks made a name for itself with the Collateral Murder video which, through heavy editorializing, pandered to the anti-war populist opinion of the American public. With that fame and adoration as a first impression, they promoted themselves as a champion of the underdog, ready to fight any power anywhere.

      Unfortunately, since then they've shown a very heavy bias in the subject of their leaks, and also a bias in the amount of care exercise

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > Now in the last day, Wikileaks has come out against government leaks...

      Here's what Assange has to say about the leak in question:

      "The Obama admin/CIA is illegally funneling TOP SECRET//COMINT information to NBC for political reasons before PEOTUS even gets to read it."

      It's one thing to have a muckraking/whistleblowing-style leak. It's another thing to have a Sitting-POTUS-orders-reveal-of-CIA-covert-officer's-identity-in-retaliation-for-her-husband's-refusal-to-agree-with-the-Administration's-fraudulen

  • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Friday January 06, 2017 @08:32PM (#53620961)
    Not that this is a good thing, but I see a silver lining. The sooner the general public realizes how stupid it is to give these companies their private information the better. Maybe then the internet can move past this phase and become more useful and less creepy.
    • There is a subset of current life where you can't do much without giving personal info out. So, you're saying even the people who grudgingly give out this data because they need to participate in a world with a few rules they don't like but overall its a service they need should be screwed as well.

      This is why snapchat grew so well. It's a horrible UI, and the initial usage was to perv out, but lots of people use it for the fact that certain things they do should have a shelf life. You're saying everyone

      • Really? I can buy that with something like Facebook, because people are relatively serious on Facebook. I don't have an account but my wife does and usually it's the only way you're getting invited to something. But Twitter? Snapchat? I have a very hard time anyone is using those for anything useful. Maybe in a humanity is going down the toilet kind of way, but not in a way that holds society together.
        • But Twitter? Snapchat? I have a very hard time anyone is using those for anything useful.

          Several companies that I do business with do customer support through Twitter Direct Messages. For some of them, it is the fastest way to get the situation handled.

          • But that isn't public facing twitter, that just sounds like instant messaging. What is it about Twitter direct messaging that couldn't be replaced by the other hundreds of direct messaging services out there? Direct messaging is like blogging; very easy to do and everyone has it. Why couldn't these companies take an email instead of using Twitter? Is there something specific about Twitter or is it just some insistence to use what is perceived to be the coolest thing, without even bothering to make anyth
      • by mea2214 ( 935585 )
        Other than a bank what subset of current life do you need to give personal information. I have several Twitter accounts. None of my "private" info given was true.
  • Perhaps it will teach all those millions of dumbwits, that using their real name on 'the internets' might not be such a good idea.

  • This is "active measures" consistent and only supports the theory that wikileaks has been compromised. The stated purpose "(to) develop a metric to understand influence networks based on proximity graphs", and presumably shine light on those "hidden relationships/secret collusion" seems on the face noble. But the execution will/is flawed (I believe intentionally). A pillar of Russian propaganda is to sow confusion so that the target no longer has certainly of what is or isn't true and thus is more recept

  • by mhkohne ( 3854 )

    These guys have gone ALL the way to the dark side haven't they?

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Saturday January 07, 2017 @03:31AM (#53622433)

    ...that Trump and his kids will somehow escape scrutiny.

  • declare war on Ecuador and raid that embassy he is holed up in, drag Assange off to some dungeon and let lock him up and let him rot

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