Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Calling All Whistleblowers: Mexicoleaks hopes to find the ‘Mexican Snowden’

Borderland Beat posted by DD Republished from Fusion


| March 11, 2015
 
MexicoLeaks web page
Mexico, it seems, has been beset by a ceaseless string of political scandals that date back to…well, sometime around 500 BC, when the Aztec God Quetzalcohuātl got drunk and “allegedly” slept with his sister.

The ignominy of Mexico’s political class, it turns out, was just getting started. Today, some 2,500 years later, a new online tool is being rolled out to give Mexican whistleblowers a chance to denounce the corruption they see around them every day.

On Tuesday, Free Press Unlimited, an organization funded by the Dutch government, the European Union and private enterprise that describes its mission as helping “local journalists in war zones and conflict areas provide their audience with trustworthy news and information,” launched the website Mexicoleaks to encourage Mexicans to anonymously step forward with tips and information about alleged wrongdoing and graft.


“We don’t accept rumors, opinions or first hand accounts. We seek information of public interest that evidences corruption.”

Mexicoleaks is partnering with eight Mexican news outlets and civil society organizations that will be granted digital inboxes to receive information submitted to the site. Whistleblowers can choose which media outlet they want to receive their leaked info.

“The Mexican Constitution recognizes freedom of expression and the right to information. The State must guarantee the exercise of both.”

Mexico’s media giants were not invited to participate in the Mexicoleaks project and critics argue many of the participating news outlets have a leftist editorial bent.

“We are going to follow a journalistic agenda, not a political agenda,” said reporter Homero Campa, whose employer, Proceso magazine, is participating in the project.

“The criteria that will guide us will be if the information is of public interest,” he told Fusion. “After six months there will be an evaluation process and other media outlets could be invited.”

Journalist Luis Guillermo Hernandez said there is a need for greater scrutiny of government officials and businessmen. He thinks Mexicoleaks can help. “If we don’t do it now, Mexico will not be viable as a country in the future,” he said.

Luis Fernando Garcia, a spokesman for the digital rights group R3D, said the site’s aim is to “defend Mexicans from government and corporate threats.” At a press conference in Mexico City, Garcia said the website could find the “Mexican Snowden” and encouraged people from government security and intelligence agencies to “safely” submit classified information that evidences wrongdoing.

Unlike Wikileaks, not all of the submitted information will be published. Reporters will work to verify information provided in the leaks and contact any mentioned parties for comment.

“When submitting information that serves to evidence abuse and corruption, you are helping to build a more transparent and just country.”

Representatives say the website is safeguarded to protect users who provide documents.

“The system is very hard to hack, and you can’t bombard the information through the use of bots,” said journalist and activist Eduard Martin-Borregon.

The system asks users to download Tor, an Internet search engine that hides IP addresses. Submitted documents generate an electronic receipt with a number allowing whistleblowers to establish written communication with the recipient journalists.
Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 7.38.31 PM
Cyber security expert Rodrigo Samano said the system isn’t entirely foolproof, however.

“You have to take into account whistleblowers will most likely not have an advanced IT background,” he told Fusion. “Tor-encrypted browsing might make it hard for the receiver to find out the identity of the sender, but not impossible.”

Samano explained whistleblowers should perform several additional steps not yet pointed out by the site. He said anyone who submits information should do it from a public network, connect with a disposable computer and perform a wiping procedure after the deed.

“This is a noble cause but it’s not well implemented. Most of the time, if you add a little forensic information technology and the carelessness of people or lack of knowledge it makes pinpointing the source fairly easy,” Samano said.

Mexicoleaks representatives said a similar project in Spain has proven successful. In Mexico it remains to be seen if this digital platform is able to promote a new type of citizen journalism and whistleblowing culture.

The website has been up only a few hours and there’s already hiccups. Media outlet MVS Noticias published a written statement Tuesday night saying it does not form part of the Mexicoleaks platform in spite of being named as one of the participatory brands. “The use of our brand, without expressed authorization from its proprietaries, constitutes not only a grievance and offense, but a deception to society, since it implicates an unfortunate abuse of trust,” reads the statement.

Nonetheless, if the website is able to properly function and win the trust of Mexicans, the timing of its arrival couldn’t be worst for the nation’s embattled political class which has been taking one hit after another, pummeled by a steady drumbeat of corruption and alleged conflict of interest scandals.

28 comments:

  1. Oh man, snitches in the mist. I guess it can't get any worse for Mexico. I'll bet all the leaks will be refuted and debunked by all in the government. Knowing the Mexican government these "whistleblowers" might get tried for treason if they spill too many beans.

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    1. Why dont they create a website where all people who want to volunteer to start a revolution can sign up. I dont see how snitching is gonna do any good i mean theres so much shit that has been uncovered about mexico and NO ONE does a thing not even the world community. I think its time to for some blood to be spilled rather than wait for peaceful changes that wont happen. Just because martin luther king jr or ghandi were succesful in civil disobedience does not mean its gonna work in 2015. If these people we are asking for change are to damn ignorant to change since weve been peaceful its time to bring it on and give them a taste of their own medicine.

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  2. How many journalists or civilians die now? The line HARD TO HACK is kinda shady, nothing is confidential now a days.

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    1. You must watch lots of hollywood movies. It has to be a Pro for that to happen, and has to be very good at it.

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  3. If Snowden couldn't stay in "freedom-loving" USA
    (free press, blah blah blah)
    what can happen to Mexican Snowden ?!
    SCARY.

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    1. But that is why persons that will try to burn CORRUPTED CRIMINALS, and Shady Criminal Activities... govt and Non govt. Only people that know how should do that Anonimously, like it says on this article clearly. There are ways to do it safely!

      >> "When submitting information that serves to evidence abuse and corruption, you are helping to build a more transparent and just country.”

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  4. Despite the comments about snitches and retaliation this looks like it could be a very good thing for Mexico if they can work out the issues related to non-technical users. You know who Edward Snowden is because he went public. Most Wikileaks sources aren't outed. Anything that brings more and more of the corruption and cartel dealings publicly known internationally will be a good thing. If journalists and civilians are afraid to speak when provided with a way to do so then Mexico has zero hope. Tools are most definitely needed in this area.

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    1. Agreed! And there is a heavy message that the media oligopoly is not being invited to participate. Salinas de Gortari's propagandists weren't invited to the party:)

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    2. Pero, carretero, "everythin' very good in mehico!!!"
      Well, I hope the conversion lasts...

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  5. Does this come with a REWARD? If i get in to Mexicoleaks what are the rewards, please show a list on reward money per leak?

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  6. So!

    It is better to not try this, eh?

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  7. That's where spilling the beans came from!!!!

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  8. The reward will be a grateful country and your countrymen, and many deep six...
    --these times of so many protests are bringing up more and more fearless individuals that do not really exactly care about getting outed...
    --Snowden ran away. when he considered his theater was falling, just in time, and I don't blame him one little bit, the US will forgive him someday...
    --too many regulations will keep snitches away, we need a special place for credible conspiracy theories

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  9. Chapo invented this snitch-tastic technology!

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  10. Have fun, mexico is above all. Ran like no one can imagine and ppl will disappear.

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  11. EPN is just going to hate this.Good.,Another hole in his coffin????

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  12. So it barely began? and some "individuals" are already trying to mess it up?

    This is a good one mxico needed its own MexicoLeaks. If it helped that corrupt country of spain it could also do the same down south!

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  13. I believe the journalist who volunteer their time to divulge the information on the Mexicoleaks will be the ones "disappeared". It won't be the whistleblowers themselves it will be the ones who publicized the info for the entire world to read. The media in Mexico for as long I can remember have always been terrorized by corrupt politicians and narcos. How many journalist have been murdered in Mexico versus the rest of the democratic countries? Communist countries have to be excluded in this issue because the citizens don't have freedom of speech. I hate to say it but this will not turn out good for the journalist even though it's a very good idea.

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    1. You got a very good point there. In that case they should have a special section for those type of news, one where it can be published/broadcasted without putting any journalist at risk. They just have to find they way how.

      If the evil bastards are good at their thing (destroying others), why can't the good persons be good at their own good things.?

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  14. snowden is a thief coward who stole and betrayed and now cries to come home

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    1. are you kidding me? he is a hero and we need more people with that kind of information to come forward and expose government corruption. "snowden a true patriot".

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  15. DD: What is your take on MVS-TV's reaction against Aristegui for mentioning she would participate in Mexicoleaks? Vargas, MVS president, has attacked her in a very public letter-- although he does not mention her name--, and fired two of her top investigators, the same ones who investigated the conflict of interest between HIGA and EPN (EPN's and Videgaray's mansions courtesy of a contractor). It looks like the president is making sure that whistle blowers are not given a chance even in supposedly independent media like MVS.

    Then a curious development: Televisa's lawyer was seen going into MVS offices and staying there several hours. Televisa now has a seat in EPN's cabinet (PGR) and a seat on the supreme court (Medina Mora), and Doriga is EPN's official spokesman, for all practical purposes, since all official announcements from EPN come through him and Televisa now. Maybe Televisa is now telling MVS what to report.

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    1. @12:51. where did you get the info on the Televisa attorney having a meeting with MVS bosses. You sent me on a several hours journey looking for something on that.

      I have been working on a story off and on for a year or so that I tentatively titled "The Invicible Tyranny of The Mexican Media" . Televisa is the primary villain in the story. The problem is keeping it story length and not book length. Maybe I will get it posted here some day.

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    2. At www.proceso.com.mx/?p=398280:

      "Aristegui Radio Listeners Protest Outside the MVS Radio Offices"

      Par. 5: "Some protesters noticed the presence of Javier Tejada, a lawyer for Televisa, at MVS Radio, and they posted photographs on social networks of the "curious" visit by the litigator from Emilio Azcarraga Jean's television network."

      I suppose a search for Javier Tejada on social networks might produce those photographs. Beyond my capabilities, sorry to say. But if Televisa's lawyer is helping Joaquin Vargas, MVS Radio's CEO, MVS may fire Aristegui.

      All in all, this shows you that EPN is worried that Mexicoleaks may take off.

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  16. Good luck, ant going to work until the Mexicans in the US revolt and take Mexico back. If it is to be it is up to us

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  17. --Mario Marin promised to put esa vieja cabrona con las tortilleras para que le partan su madre, speaking of Lydia cacho...
    --Marin's compadre pena nieto may have designs for Carmen Aristegui, she needs to get out of mexico, quick...
    --Pena nieto just went to England to open new savings accounts there, away from the nosy mexicans

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