WikiLeaks collaborator, James Dolan, who co-created the technology that allowed WikiLeaks to obtain and publish the leaked DNC and Podesta emails, has been found dead. He was 36.
WikiLeaks verified Twitter account provided more context, explaining that James Dolan is the second co-creator of the secure whistleblowing platform to be found dead in suspicious circumstances in recent times.
Second developer of WikiLeaks inspired submission system "SecureDrop", security expert James Dolan, aged 36, has tragically died. He is said to have committed suicide. The first, Aaron Swartz, is said to have taken his own life at age 26, after being persecuted by US prosecutors.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 9, 2018
In 2012, James Dolan, a “quiet, modest, hard-working man” according to those who knew him, worked with Reddit partner Aaron Swartz and journalist Kevin Poulsen to build the prototype of SecureDrop, the open source whistleblower submission system that is used by WikiLeaks.
Poulsen described James’s key role in the project’s creation in the New Yorker in 2013:
In New York, a computer-security expert named James Dolan persuaded a trio of his industry colleagues to meet with Aaron to review the architecture and, later, the code. We wanted to be reasonably confident that the system wouldn’t be compromised, and that sources would be able to submit documents anonymously—so that even the media outlets receiving the materials wouldn’t be able to tell the government where they came from. James wrote an obsessively detailed step-by-step security guide for organizations implementing the code. “He goes a little overboard,” Aaron said in an e-mail, “but maybe that’s not a bad thing.”
Dolan’s colleague Aaron Swartz died in 2013, also allegedly by suicide, while being prosecuted by the US government during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
Free speech advocates claim Reddit changed after Swartz’s death. While he was alive the site was a beacon for free speech, however after his alleged suicide the fourth most popular website in the US became a partisan liberal outlet that places gags and bans on users daring to question the status quo, or criticize the Democratic Party or its political candidates.
Memorial services for James Dolan have not yet been finalized, however his impact on the battle for free speech and freedom of the press, not to mention the defeat of Hillary Clinton, will not be forgotten.