On Wednesday, the UK publication New Statesman published a non-disclosure agreement purportedly from WikiLeaks. Writer David Allen Green describes it as a “draconian and extraordinary legal gag,” that requires employees to pay the huge sum of $19.8 million if they disclose personal or professional information about WikiLeaks and its staff.
Now, the receiver of that agreement has come forward to discuss it. James Ball, a data journalist for the Guardian, wrote of how a mis-sent tweet released the agreement into the public sphere, but that he’s now come to realize it should be there.
Ball had meant to send the aggreement to someone on Twitter through a private direct message, but instead he sent it out to the public. It could have cost him a pretty penny because even revealing the existence of the agreement was a breach of the agreement — however Ball never signed it.
“I refused to sign Julian Assange's confidentiality agreement because it would have been not just ironic, but dangerous,” he writes. Assange defends the belief that whistleblowing is the only way to keep an organization accountable, but then asks his volunteers to never leak any information. “It has no board, or no oversight. If any organization in the world relies on whistleblowers to keep it honest, it is WikiLeaks.”
Ball’s recounting of his experience is a fascinating peek inside a normally tight-lipped company.