Tableau and WikiLeaks

Joe Lieberman

Previously Tableau had allowed thea visualization of the Wikileaks data to appear on their Tableau Public site, this was not the actual emails and documents, but merely a visualization of the data – Tableau Public is a bit like YouTube for data visualization.

However, much liks Amazon, PayPal, and other companies they soon pulled the data from their site ( at the end of 2010).

As a result many people were not happy about this, lots of complaints and accusations about government collaboration, etc.

Below is the formal statement by Tableau on the reasons for the data being taken down.

Wednesday afternoon, Tableau Software removed data visualizations published by WikiLeaks to Tableau Public. We understand this is a sensitive issue and want to assure the public and our users that this was not an easy decision, nor one that we took lightly.

We created Tableau Public—a free service that enables anyone to make interactive graphs from their data and share them online—because we recognized the need for strong analytics tools in a data-driven world. Given the controversy around the WikiLeaks data, we’ve closely followed the debate about who actually has the rights to the leaked data.

Our terms of service require that people using Tableau Public do not upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any content that they do not have the right to make available. Furthermore, if we receive a complaint about a particular set of data, we retain the right to investigate the situation and remove any offending data, if necessary.

Our decision to remove the data from our servers came in response to a public request by Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, when he called for organizations hosting WikiLeaks to terminate their relationship with the website.

This will inevitably be met with mixed reaction. However, our terms of service were created to ensure responsible use of data.

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