The road to Panama: A history of whistleblowers and hacks

As the 'Panama Papers' begin to reveal their secrets, we look back at the internet's most important leaks.

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    Yesterday, a coalition of journalists across the world launched the Panama Papers, a project to uncover the dirty secrets of the rich and powerful. An anonymous source provided reporters at the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung with a 2.6TB dump of files from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. The documents reveal a web of private, secretly-held offshore companies that can be used to hide a fortune or avoid paying tax. For instance, The Guardian accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of hiding $2 billion in offshore companies that are "owned" by a close friend. It has taken anywhere up to a year for a team to scour the data to find some dirty secrets, and far more are likely to emerge as the files are analyzed. This didn't happen in isolation, however. It's just the latest in a long line of leaks and breaches that have put what some would prefer remain secret in the spotlight. Check out the timeline above to look at some of the most notable ones of the last few years.

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    After training to be an intellectual property lawyer, Dan abandoned a promising career in financial services to sit at home and play with gadgets. He lives in Norwich, U.K., with his wife, his books and far too many opinions on British TV comedy. One day, if he's very, very lucky, he'll live out his dream to become the executive producer of Doctor Who before retiring to Radio 4.

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