Image courtesy of Kabobfest.com
By now most people know more about WikiLeaks than they ever cared to … have heard various opinions about how founder Julian Assange is either the saviour of journalism, a cyber-terrorist, or a scumbag … and the WikiLeaks site is either a great hero of international transparency or an illegal hacker group threatening lives for fun. But one thing is sure – whenever someone or something gets as much coverage as Assange and Wikileaks, there are sure to be others to follow! And here they come!
Last night I got an email from something called ‘TradeLeaks’ that didn’t get dumped to spam. At first I didn’t pay attention, since I review stuff here I get emails from trade groups all the time, but this was different. And when I saw an article at the Guardian this morning I read the email in full. Here is the release I got via email:
Australian Internet entrepreneur Ruslan Kogan today unveiled TradeLeaks.com, a whistleblowing website that will make retail and trade open and transparent.
TradeLeaks provides a simple way for consumers and whistleblowers within organisations to anonymously leak information, revealing any dodgy business practices of retail and trade around the world.
The transparency of the Internet has made consumers smarter than they have ever been. TradeLeaks further empowers consumers to make more informed choices.
Ruslan Kogan, Co-Founder of TradeLeaks said the website would do to trade and commerce what WikiLeaks has done to politics.
“We get to pass judgement on our governments once every three or four years, but we judge retailers and traders on a daily basis.
“We know that most retailers are open and honest, but we also know there is a lot of dodgy scheming and deception in the world of trade.
“The problem is there is no way for the average consumer to stay informed about this secrecy. TradeLeaks is here to change that. Customers can now learn the truth about any retailer out there and make more educated decisions with their hard earned money.
“TradeLeaks recognises that trade and commerce are essential to our lives. We believe in the principle that individuals and businesses should attain value from others through mutually beneficial and fully consensual trade, rather than force, fraud or deception.
“We believe that trade has the power to eradicate poverty from the world, but only if trade is open and free. A part of this openness involves allowing individual consumers to form their own independent judgements of products and businesses, based on facts and evidence.
“TradeLeaks is completely transparent and open. Of course, this means that someone could post something about their experiences with Kogan as well. We know that TradeLeaks will be judged by how transparently it is administered, so we are committed to the highest level of independence and objectivity. No posts will be removed, unless they are defamatory without fact.
“If you start to see businesses complaining about TradeLeaks, you will know that their businesses probably have some skeletons in their closets.
“TradeLeaks is here to fix the bullshit in trade and commerce around the world,” Kogan said.
My favorite quote is “If you start to see businesses complaining about TradeLeaks, you will know that their businesses probably have some skeletons in their closets.” Why? Because it is more or less a variation of the ‘when did you stop beating your wife’ line …
But TradeLeaks isn’t alone! According to the Guardian article there is also OpenLeaks and BrusselsLeaks … heck, there is even HockeyLeaks!
It already looks like TradeLeaks is running into issues as the founder is the owner of Kogan Electronics, and according to the Guardian “Kogan has been ordered to modify its advertising by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission after accusations of potentially misleading conduct”. So that one might fall by the wayside.
It is pretty easy to say that most governments would benefit from some accountability and transparency, whether voluntary or forced. But what in public parlance is ‘the people’s business’, in industry is known as ‘intellectual property’, so all of this ‘openness’ can actually be highly problematic in terms of protecting legitimate trade secrets. One thing has been made clear: ALL YOUR DATA ARE BELONG TO US!
So what do you think the next leak site should be?