Wikileaks has shaken governments from the Middle East to Europe to America, revealing detailed information about certain practices and opinions that some prefer would never see the light of day. The morality or even the legality of Wikileaks is a matter of debate, but its impact is not: the Internet has provided the perfect platform for disseminating documents to an eagerly awaiting public.
Just like Groupon, a deal-of-the-day website that is localized to major geographic markets worldwide launched in November 2008, and it’s hundreds of clones, WikiLeaks is spawning plenty of similar leak-based sites as well. The most recent WikiLeaks clone is of particular note as it deals with leaking out sensitive information about the world of higher education.
UniLeaks is a new Australian-based site that hopes to create a WikiLeaks-like space for people to send restricted material pertaining to their institutions of higher education. The site, which is based in Australia, accepts anonymous submissions of censored material that may have “political, ethical, diplomatic or historical significance” to any university, with a larger aim of keeping education honest.
UniLeaks bills itself as a news organization, so does not accept information that has been publicly available elsewhere earlier, neither does it claim to accept rumors and opinions. Once it receives an appropriate material, its journalists write news items based on it, and providing links to its sourced documents to support their news’s authenticity. The site features an anonymous electronic drop box for users to upload original material and forums that have been categorized into universities of various countries and regions.
Unileaks will accept restricted or censored material of political, ethical, diplomatic or historical significance which is in some way connected to higher education, an agency or government body working in partnership with an institution, e.g., a University.
Last month UniLeaks debuted with a pair of open letters to university leaders in Australia and Britain. The Australian activists who run UniLeaks are pushing for openness in the face of what they see as the corporatization of higher education. They complain of unprofitable courses abolished, employees made less secure, and students reduced “to mere customers or clients of the university.”