Even as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sits trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, the WikiLeaks website continues to publish the secrets of various governments worldwide.
But that’s not all it’s publishing. On Tuesday, the Associate Press published a damning report of the collateral damage caused by WikiLeaks’s policy of dumping data en masse. The infamous pro-transparency organization, led by Julian Assange, has exposed government secrets, most notably the diplomatic cables sent to the group by Chelsea Manning—but it has also made public information that could harm private citizens, the AP found.
In one published dump of information known as the Saudi Cables, WikiLeaks published at least 124 medical files and the name of a Saudi man who was arrested for homosexuality, as well as the names of two teenage rape victims. The cache of information also includes 500 employment, passport, and transcript records, according to AP.
“This is a disaster,” one woman told the AP after finding out her financial information was now public. “What if my brothers, neighbors, people I know, or even don’t know have seen it? What is the use of publishing my story?”
On its website, WikiLeaks states, “From time to time we may remove or significantly delay the publication of some identifying details from original documents to protect life and limb of innocent people.” But critics say that Assange and his cohort are far too incautious about what they put online. For instance, they recently leaked Democratic National Committee files that contained credit card and social security emails, and one security expert found malware in files WikiLeaks posted. The AP story noted that even some of WikiLeaks’s nominal allies, including journalist Glenn Greenwald, have been critical of it.
On Twitter, WikiLeaks called the report “ridiculous,” saying that the Saudi government already had the data available.