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WikiLeaks revealed sensitive private info for 'hundreds' of innocents

The Associated Press published a report showing that Julian Assange and crew published sensitive details for "hundreds" of innocent people, including financial records, identity details and medical files. Among the examples, it identified teen rape victims. Many of last year's leaked Saudi Arabia cables exposed details that could potentially ruin lives in the conservative country, such as the name of a man arrested for being gay and people who've secretly gone into debt.

In the past year alone, the radical transparency group has published medical files belonging to scores of ordinary citizens while many hundreds more have had sensitive family, financial or identity records posted to the web. In two particularly egregious cases, WikiLeaks named teenage rape victims. In a third case, the site published the name of a Saudi citizen arrested for being gay, an extraordinary move given that homosexuality is punishable by death in the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom.

"They published everything: my phone, address, name, details," said a Saudi man who told AP he was bewildered that WikiLeaks had revealed the details of a paternity dispute with a former partner. "If the family of my wife saw this ... Publishing personal stuff like that could destroy people."

WikiLeaks' mass publication of personal data is at odds with the site's claim to have championed privacy even as it laid bare the workings of international statecraft, and has drawn criticism from the site's allies.

WikiLeaks didn't leak the Saudi cables itself (it just made them easier to search), and AKP party data that contained sensitive Turkish voting info was uploaded by someone else (who has since deleted it). Many of the details aren't new, for that matter. Even so, the report still isn't flattering -- it contradicts Assange's promises of a "harm minimization policy" that protects medical records and other private details that aren't necessary for exposing government corruption and overreach. However much good WikiLeaks might be doing, it's not being very discriminate in what it allows on its site.

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