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Will the key to any pre-2020 WikiLeaks insurance file be publicly available by 2030?
WikiLeaks is an organisation founded by Julian Assange that publishes news leaks and classified media provided by anonymous sources. From time to time, WikiLeaks publishes encrypted "insurance files".
There has been much speculation about the purpose of these files. Some of these files are intended as permanent records of upcoming releases, to ensure information is preserved. According to Julian Assange:
We openly distribute … encrypted backups of materials that we view are highly sensitive that we are to publish in the coming year… So that there is very little possibility that that material, even if we are completely wiped out, will be taken from the historical record… Ideally, we will never reveal the key… Because there is things, like, … redactions sometimes need to be done on this material.”
However, there are also theories claiming that some of these insurance files constitute a "dead man's switch" that is only to be released in case something bad were to happen to Assange or to WikiLeaks.
Resolution: If the key to any WikiLeaks insurance file released before 2020 is publicly available on January 1, 2030, this question resolves positively. In particular, it does not matter whether WikiLeaks intentionally decides to release the key or some hacker leaks it; as long as the key is publicly available, it counts.
In the past the media falsely reported that the key to insurance.aes256 was leaked. Therefore, to ensure accurate resolution, we will rely on the discretion of Metaculus moderators. As a guideline, there should be an independent, tech-savvy demonstration that the key actually unlocks the given insurance file.
For the purpose of this question, all encrypted WikiLeaks insurance files publicly released before 2020 count. I believe the following list is comprehensive, but I cannot guarantee that there are no omissions or errors.
- Date: 2010-07-28, Size: 1.4 GB, Name: insurance.aes256
- Date: 2012-02-22, Size: 65 GB, Name: wikileaks-insurance-20120222.tar.bz2.aes
- Date: 2013-08-15, Size: 3.6 GB, Name: wlinsurance-20130815-A.aes256
- Date: 2013-08-15, Size: 49 GB, Name: wlinsurance-20130815-B.aes256
- Date: 2013-08-15, Size: 349 GB, Name: wlinsurance-20130815-C.aes256
- Date: 2016-06-03, Size: 88 GB, Name: 2016-06-03_insurance.aes256
- Date: 2016-11-07, Size: 512 MB, Name: 2016-11-07_WL-Insurance_EC.aes256
- Date: 2016-11-07, Size: 1.3 GB, Name: 2016-11-07_WL-Insurance_UK.aes256
- Date: 2016-11-07, Size: 3.0 GB, Name: 2016-11-07_WL-Insurance_US.aes256
- Date: 2016-12-09, Size: 83 GB, Name: 2016-12-09_WL-Insurance.aes256
- Date: 2017-01-25, Size: 281 MB, Name: 2017-01-25_WL-Insurance.aes256
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