Daniel Domscheit-Berg

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Daniel Domscheit-Berg
Daniel Domscheit-Berg at 26C3.jpg
Daniel Domscheit-Berg at 26C3, talking about WikiLeaks, 27 December 2009
Born1978 (age 42–43)
Other namesDaniel Schmitt
Known forFormer spokesperson for WikiLeaks, founder of OpenLeaks

Daniel Domscheit-Berg[needs IPA] ( Berg; born 1978), previously known under the pseudonym Daniel Schmitt, is a German technology activist.[1] He is best known as the author of Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website (2011).[2]

After leaving WikiLeaks, he announced plans in January 2011 to open a new website for anonymous online leaks called OpenLeaks. At a Chaos Computer Club (CCC) event in August 2011, he announced its preliminary launch and invited hackers to test the security of the OpenLeaks system, as a result of which the CCC criticized him for exploiting the good name of the club to promote his OpenLeaks project and expelled him from their club, despite his lack of membership.[3] This decision was revoked in February 2012.[4] In September 2011, several news organizations cited Domscheit-Berg's split from Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as one of a series of events and errors that led to the release that month of all 251,287 United States diplomatic cables in the Cablegate affair.[5] In 2011, he was named by Foreign Policy magazine in its FP Top 100 Global Thinkers.[6]


Domscheit-Berg began working with WikiLeaks after meeting Assange at the Chaos Computer Club's annual conference (24C3) in 2007.[7] On 25 September 2010, after reportedly being suspended by Assange for questioning him too much, Domscheit-Berg told Der Spiegel that he was resigning, saying "WikiLeaks has a structural problem. I no longer want to take responsibility for it, and that's why I am leaving the project."[1][8]

Domscheit-Berg was highlighted in the Sveriges Television programme WikiRebels – The Documentary, released in the second week of December 2010.[9][dead link]

A book about his experience with and separation[10] from WikiLeaks was released in Germany in February 2011, entitled Inside WikiLeaks: Meine Zeit bei der gefährlichsten Website der Welt ("My Time at the World's Most Dangerous Website").[11] An English translation followed some days later by Australian publisher Scribe Publications.[3][12][13] In Domscheit-Berg's book he criticizes Julian Assange's leadership style and handling of the Afghan War Diaries.

Domscheit-Berg stated he would destroy WikiLeaks data when leaving WikiLeaks.[14] He wanted to be sure that duplicates would be confirmed deleted by a notary with an affidavit.[15] In leaving, WikiLeaks state that Domscheit-Berg representing OpenLeaks, held the organisation to ransom over the unpublished documents and internal organisation communications[16] with mediations by a member of the hacker collective Chaos Computer Club between OpenLeaks and WikiLeaks. Domscheit-Berg apparently told weekly Der Freitag that "I took no documents from WikiLeaks with me", leading to suspension of mediations.[3] Domscheit-Berg was eventually kicked out of Chaos Computer Club due to his conduct during the mediation and for requesting the Chaos Computer Club to test OpenLeaks' security.[3] This decision was revoked in February 2012 by the general assembly of the Chaos Computer Club.

WikiLeaks and other sources later confirmed the destruction of over 3500 unpublished whistleblower communications with some communications containing hundreds of documents,[3][15][17] including the US government's No Fly List,[18] 5 GB of Bank of America leaks,[19] insider information from 20 neo-Nazi organizations[18][20] and proof of torture and government abuse of a Latin American country.[21]


In December 2010, Domscheit-Berg announced the intention to start a site named "OpenLeaks"[22] with the intention of being more transparent than WikiLeaks. "In these last months, the WikiLeaks organization has not been open any more. It lost its open-source promise."[23]

Instead of publishing the documents, Domscheit-Berg said that his proposed OpenLeaks process would send the leaked documents to various news entities or publishers.[24]

OpenLeaks was supposed to start public operations in January 2011. However, on 23 December 2012 Domscheit-Berg announced on the website that the organisation would not go ahead as previously intended and would now only focus on spreading information and expertise regarding how to set up and run leak websites rather than directly facilitating leaks themselves.

Personal life[edit]

Domscheit-Berg is married to activist and politician Anke Domscheit-Berg.[25]

Makerspace in a disused rail station building[edit]

As of 2020, Domscheit-Berg is engaged with the makerspace Verstehbahnhof (translated: Station of Understanding). The makerspace has re-appropriated rooms of the Fürstenberg (Havel) station, which is still in use.[26]

Book: Inside WikiLeaks[edit]

  • Daniel Domscheit-Berg (2011). Inside WikiLeaks: Meine Zeit bei der gefährlichsten Website der Welt (in German). Berlin: Econ Verlag. ISBN 978-3-430-20121-6.
  • Daniel Domscheit-Berg (2011). Inside WikiLeaks: my time with Julian Assange at the world's most dangerous website. Carlton North, City of Melbourne: Scribe Publications. ISBN 978-1-921844-05-8. Archived from the original on 19 February 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  • Daniel Domscheit-Berg (2011). Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website. New York City: Random House. ISBN 978-0-307-95191-5. Retrieved 10 February 2011.


  1. ^ a b For his use of "Daniel Schmitt," see "'The Only Option Left for Me Is an Orderly Departure'", Der Spiegel, 27 September 2010.
  2. ^ Tweedie, Neil; Swaine, Jon (11 December 2010). "WikiLeaks Julian Assange: the most dangerous man in the world?". The Daily Telegraph.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Hacker distanzieren sich von OpenLeaks", Der Spiegel, 13 August 2011.
  4. ^ "CCC | Ergebnis der außerordentlichen Mitgliederversammlung". Ccc.de. 5 February 2012. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  5. ^ Stöcker, Christian. "A Dispatch Disaster in Six Acts", Der Spiegel, 1 September 2011.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 November 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Hosenball, Mark (15 December 2010). "Julian Assange vs. the world". National Post.
  8. ^ Unpublished Iraq War Logs Trigger Internal WikiLeaks Revolt|Threat Level. Wired.com. Retrieved 2011-02-14.
  9. ^ WikiRebels – The Documentary. Sveriges Television. 12 December 2010. Archived from the original on 13 December 2010. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  10. ^ "WikiLeaks said to be in disarray". United Press International. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  11. ^ Collins, Hugh (10 December 2010). "Former Wikileaks Employee Daniel Domscheit-Berg to Publish Tell-All Book". AOL News. Archived from the original on 13 December 2010. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  12. ^ "Scribe News: Scribe acquires rights to Inside WikiLeaks: my time at the world's most dangerous website". Scribe Publications. 10 December 2010. Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  13. ^ Boyes, Roger (28 September 2010). "WikiLeaks defector Daniel Domscheit-Berg reveals Julian Assange's siege mentality". The Australian. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  14. ^ "OpenLeaks-Founder wants to destroy WikiLeaks files". Retrieved 2011-02-14.
  15. ^ a b Gosztola, Kevin (21 August 2011). "OpenLeaks Founder Destroys Cache of Unreleased WikiLeaks Documents". Dissenter.firedoglake.com. Archived from the original on 2 December 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  16. ^ "WikiLeaks Statement on Daniel Domscheit-Berg and OpenLeaks". Rixstep.com. 20 August 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  17. ^ "We can confirm that the DDB ..." Twitter. 21 August 2011.
  18. ^ a b Marsh, Heather (21 August 2011). "Former WikiLeaks spokesman destroyed unreleased files". Wlcentral.org. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  19. ^ "We can confirm that the DDB". Twitter. 21 August 2011.
  20. ^ "We can confirm that the DDB ..." Twitter. 21 August 2011.
  21. ^ Renata, Avila (15 August 2011). "Open Letter". Nothingispermanent.blogspot.com.au. Archived from the original on 1 February 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  22. ^ "About OpenLeaks". OpenLeaks. Archived from the original on 30 January 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2011.
  23. ^ Piven, Ben (17 December 2010). "Copycat WikiLeaks sites make waves". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  24. ^ Greenberg, Andy, "WikiLeaks' Stepchildren", Forbes, 17 January 2011, p. 20.
  25. ^ "Die neuen Abgeordneten im Bundestag" (in German). 15 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  26. ^ "Verstehbahnhof: Digitales Lernen an Gleis 1". 2 September 2020.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]