Wikileaks has been a valuable whistleblower against fascism and totalitarianism in the past, but the organization has always had some questionable morals. Now, the website has come under fire for its most recent data dump, which includes the personal information about the sexual lives of (closeted) gay men in countries where being gay is punishable by death.
More specifically: the personal data of Saudi Arabians leaked reportedly includes information about indviduals' HIV statuses, virginity, rape victimization, and previous accusations of homosexuality. The leak even includes passport numbers of some of these individuals, some of whom were sexually abused by their employers. This is a particularly odious situation considering that Saudi Arabia has some of the most oppressive anti-gay laws in existence in the entire world. With this information publicly available, these individuals are now more likely to be threatened with social stigmatization and both vigilante and state-sanctioned violence.
“This is a disaster," said a disabled woman whose debt information was revealed. “What if my brothers, neighbours, people I know or even don’t know have seen it? What is the use of publishing my story?”
At least one doctor whose patients' information was revealed is claiming that the publicizing of this information is illegal.
Julian Assange, head of Wikileaks, has made statements about releasing information from Saudi Arabia in the past, saying: “The Saudi Cables lift the lid on an increasingly erratic and secretive dictatorship that has not only celebrated its 100th beheading this year, but which has also become a menace to its neighbours and itself.”
Assange has also previously stated that he has worked towards keeping certain personal data private: "We have a harm minimization policy," he said in July, 2010. "There are legitimate secrets. Your records with your doctor, that's a legitimate secret."
Assange has not replied to questions or concerns regarding this latest incident. At the moment it is currently unclear why the information was revelaed or how it was obtained.
[Photo: Getty Images]