WikiLeaks accused of proposing '1984' plan

Julian Assange (Reuters)
Julian Assange (Reuters)

WikiLeaks has proposed setting up a database of everyone on Twitter with a verified account, including information about their families, finances and addresses.

The whistleblowing group that's been linked the Russian hacking scandal made the announcement on Twitter on Saturday morning (NZ time), through its own verified account.

"We are looking for clear discrete (father/shareholding/party membership) variables that can be put into our AI software. Other suggestions?"

The backlash came quickly, with other Twitter users calling it the "the move of a group trying to create m***********g 1984"  and "a threat to begin doxing people".

Doxing is the act of maliciously publishing private information about people on the internet. Nineteen Eighty-Four is a book by George Orwell about life under a brutal surveillance state.

WikiLeaks denied this was the intent, and spent the next few hours arguing with other Twitter users and threatening legal action against Julian Assange's detractors.

Asked why it needed a database, WikiLeaks said the information would be used as a "metric to understand influence based on proximity graphs".

Matthew Green, a cryptography professor at John Hopkins University in Baltimore with nearly 50,000 followers tweeted it was a "good plan. If you're Darth Vader."

WikiLeaks has denied sourcing documents which damaged Hillary Clinton's presidential bid from Russia. Russia has denied being involved in the hacking at all, but US intelligence officials are certain it was not only Russia, but ordered by President Vladimir Putin himself.