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Wall Street Journal Issues Statement on its WikiLeaks Clone SafeHouse’s Lack of Safety

FishbowlNY wrote earlier about SafeHouse, the Wall Street Journal‘s WikiLeaks clone, that has been getting some flak for not actually being like WikiLeaks at all with regard to its most important feature: anonymity. As Gawker noted, SafeHouse has this caveat in its Terms of Use: “we reserve the right to disclose any information about you… without notice…” for a whole host of reasons.

Kind of misses the whole point! This story pretty much spoiled the party of WSJ‘s entire SafeHouse announcement. In fact, the lack of protection for SafeHouse sources in many ways became a bigger story than SafeHouse. So in response, the WSJ has already issued a clarifying statement, which says this about anonymity:

There is nothing more sacred than our sources; we are committed to protecting them to the fullest extent possible under the law. Because there is no way to predict the breadth of information that might be submitted through SafeHouse, the terms of use reserve certain rights in order to provide flexibility to react to extraordinary circumstances. But as always, our number one priority is protecting our sources.

Not entirely comforting. While saying that nothing is more sacred that sources is undoubtedly a fine gesture on WSJ‘s behalf, it’s not quite the same thing as actual contractual language.

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