But the strongest sign of new life from WikiLeaks is its efforts to enable and even incentivize leakers to give it fresh material. In early May, it relaunched its submission system, a Tor-based dark web site designed to guarantee anonymity to any submitter. That leak portal had once represented the core of the WikiLeaks idea: A no-questions-asked drop box for the world’s secrets that any whistleblower could access with the least possible risk. But it went offline in late 2010, the result of a mutiny of several WikiLeakers who had bristled under Assange’s leadership. For nearly five years, the system remained offline, leaving leakers to search out Assange or his associates through other, potentially riskier means of communication.
Now that leak portal is back. And WikiLeaks isn’t just accepting leaks, but for the first time, trying to get leakers paid for them. In a new “competition,” which it calls the Prize for Understanding Good Government or PUGG, WikiLeaks is crowdsourcing donations from visitors and offering the resulting cash them to anyone who leaks a certain document. The project has already issued a call for a $100,000 bounty for the 26 chapters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, and raised nearly $75,000 from about 1,500 donors.