Welcome to the Digital Age!
2000 files will come out of the quarter of millions of leaked data (picture na.sott.net)
Privacy's gone! If Internet users are not barbarous, immoral policies might be and today we fear that we are followed or watched. Some fear they're not. The Wikileaks machine, a subtile use of information and electronic tools, opened a new path to journalism and this success of WikiLeaks was carved from a block of solid newspapers and magazines.
It made the joy of millions of people. World diplomats included. But it won't calm the "Stasi" minded censurers and governments who do not know how to handle the leakage. A generation gap... and a change in how the media bounce back thanks to Internet tubes!
The governments see great investigative powers, the individuals ended their solitude, the activists opened new boulevards of revolts. Everyone is projected on the screen. Bill Gates said that with entering in the Internet "our world and our lives would never be the same again." Even President Obama won the White-house thanks to his campaign largely by entering into the social networking.
I checked a few articles and recent excerpts on the Wikileaks and they do not describe the issue of morality or outlaws, but try to catch up with people's ideas about what is behind the story. I read 6 informative items. Extract and URLs quoted:
1 Wikileaks founder and hacker Julian Assange is in danger and his project Wikileaks is under attack. A week after the release of the largest number of classified information, the CableGate, prominent politicians even expressed their wish to "hunt him" or see him "executed".
As international reaction testifies, the repercussions of Cablegate are massive. Wikileaks is changing the world without invitation, and the political establishment does not approve. A global witch-hunt for Julian Assange, Wikileaks’ co-founder and figurehead, is now in full swing. Assange should be “hunted” and “executed” say prominent American politicians, who want him extradited and charged under the country’s 1917 Espionage Act, a law introduced to combat socialists and pacifists during the Red Scare. “Obama should put out a contract [to have Assange assassinated] and maybe use a drone or something,” said Professor Tom Flanagan, a former advisor to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. While in France, the birthplace of the Enlightenment, Wikileaks was described as a “threat to democracy”.
Similar public statement ["hunt him"ndag] was issued by Amazon after kickeing WikiLeaks off of their cloud service. In response to these intermediary censorship efforts against it, Wikileaks is campaigning for donations to xxx, a support that might be very important if a legal procedure from US is already on its way, as rumored. Wikileaks shared with their followers on twitter all the difficulties they face to keep their work strong. Human Rights advocates such as Reporters without borders expressed their support, also digital activists like La Quadrature du Net in France. Many people decided not to shop on Amazon this Christmas while other even canceled their Amazon accounts and the Facebook Site: Boycott Amazon for dumping Wikileaks has so far gathered more than to 7000 “likes”. As John Perry Barlow said on Twitter “The field of battle is WikiLeaks. You are the troops.”
2 WikiLeaks – Will The Whistle Blowing Website Survive?
WikiLeaks has come under more pressure this past week, after the release of military documents that could endanger lives. First Amazon dropped WikiLeaks from their servers, after a DOS attack. Now PayPal, which is owned by eBay, is claiming that WikiLeaks, has violated their acceptable use policy. In addition the WikiLeaks owner is facing allegations of sexual assault and a warrant has been issued for his arrest."The move on Friday came after Amazon and other web providers cut off hosting access for the cyber-terrorist organization. PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity. We’ve notified the account holder of this action."
3 The Obama administration
Perhaps realizing that it has no legal case with regard to the general public, has apparently decided to use a politics of reputation and threats of government reprisals to convince people not to read, discuss or reprint the Wikileaks cables.
The State Department seems to be trying to scare young people in international relations fields off from reposting wikileaks cables at their Facebook pages, warning them it could harm their future job prospects with the government. That policy is just plain petty, and I certainly wouldn’t want to see someone become a young foreign service officer who did not have the initiative and curiosity to get into this trove of documents on US foreign policy.
The Obama administration is forbidding government employees to call up the wikileaks documents on government computers, including those at the Library of Congress and on military bases. That policy is just plain stupid, and unworthy of Obama’s renowned intellect. I don’t want my intelligence analysts not knowing about the fall-out from the wikileaks cables!
Corporations such as IBM have established web sites for employee suggestions and criticisms, risking that potentially embarrassing things might be said and made public. But such open communication also benefits innovative firms, making sure that the intelligence and experience of each employee is available to it. It may well be that the whole secretive model of government that was adopted under the impact of the two world wars and the Cold War is not only dysfunctional but doomed, and that State should move to a new system of open cables. After all, it is only very occasionally that there is anything in these communications that would come as a surprise to a knowledgeable observer, and in those few cases where secrecy was desirable, then the message could be sent over secure and encrypted channels on a need to know basis.
4 Leaks to 'damage spy networks'
The release by WikiLeaks of a mass of sensitive diplomatic cables has triggered a major reassessment of intelligence. It has sparked a revision of the way intelligence is gathered and shared by Australia, the US and other key allies. Veteran former Australian diplomat Richard Broinowski told The Australian yesterday the leaks had potentially compromised intelligence-sharing networks. "In my view, what we're seeing now through WikiLeaks is a fundamental weakness in the system," Mr Broinowski said. "Unless the Yanks can fix it up, I think it's possibly more disadvantageous for us than it is advantageous to share so much information - including our own with the US. "Frankly, this is of serious concern and if I were in a sensitive post, I'd be quite worried about the extent to which my classified signals might be going back to different people who might be compromised." Australia plays a key role in the southern hemisphere in collecting information, which is shared with its allies, over a massive area ranging from Africa and Eastern Europe across Asia to the mid-Pacific.
5 What's the biggest effect of Cablegate? Is there a potential risk of putting WikiLeaks on a pedestal?
Global Times (GT) reporter Chen Chenchen talked to William Beeman, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at The University of Minnesota, USA.
Q How do you see the diplomatic effects of Cablegate?
A Cablegate has revealed a few things that we suspected, but hadn't yet confirmed. For instance, that the US was trying very hard to convince other nations to take prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay prison and was bargaining with China and Russia to try to get them to agree on sanctions against Iran. But for the most parts, those documents in the latest Cablegate were really just opinions and statements of diplomats or rulers about world affairs. So, when you hear a US diplomat say Iran is a danger, that doesn't mean Iran is really a danger, it only means that the person said Iran was a danger. It's very important for us to understand that, because in the US and other parts of the world, especially with regard to Iran, people took these statements as proof that Iran is a nuclear danger. In many cases, the statements were also the kind of statements that people wanted to hear. If you have a diplomat saying something to the US, it's very likely that the diplomat was thinking, "Well, the US wants to hear this." So he made that statement, but that doesn't mean he believed it.
Q: Some former FBI agents say that if WikiLeaks had existed before 2001, perhaps 9/11 would have been prevented.
A: That might be true. That's a very interesting statement, because we knew about the people who carried out the 9/11 and about their organization, in all the way backed in 1998 before the Bush administration came into power. The Bush administration was warned about Al Qaeda. But they ignored the warnings. And these warnings were turned into secret documents. If these documents were made public before 2000, then it was very likely that people who carried out the attack would have been discovered.
Q: Are developing countries, with less social stability, more vulnerable to the effects of leaked information? What if false information was included?
A: It could happen. The question we all have to answer is the consequences of information of such value that you are willing to risk: Some degrees of social unrest in order to have that critical information. When printing the WikiLeaks documents, the newspapers didn't eliminate the names of the individuals who were named in the documents. This could put these people in some danger. The next question is what is the limits of such information freedom. The public certainly would like to have information that reveals the wrongdoing, like crime, misappropriation of funds, or politicians lying to their own people. Such information should be known by the public. Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout was recently arrested in Thailand. He provided illicit weapons for illicit government operations. I think people in those countries need to know that. But there are people working as undercover operative with their organizations. If their names were revealed, they might be killed.
Extracts from http://bit.ly/h5k5Q2
6 The WikiLeaks story has gripped the international community. Hacker Julian Assange and his nonprofit have divulged a flurry of fascinating secret diplomatic cables that have been recounted in dozens of news stories in recent weeks. WikiLeaks lives on, leaving a tabla of lessons to be learned. 3 lessons from this incident:
1) Independent groups can successfully compete with governments in the cyber realm: This has been something that information warfare theorists have argued for some time, but Wikileaks has truly driven the point home. The world's inability to completely shut down WikiLeaks servers illustrates that a small but determined cyberwarfare team can compete with the best information-warfare machines on the globe. What's more, the built-in characteristics of the Internet that make it so resilient also make it impossible for a single entity to truly control information.
2) It's easier for independent players to gain mainstream-media attention than ever before: WikiLeaks has spoonfed its files to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Der Spiegel, among other top-notch publications. Those publications were cautious in what they published and careful to vet the articles. But whether Julian Assange needed them to get his message out more than they needed him to generate page views is a completely open question. Scoops are more important than ever in an era of slice-and-dice consumption of bits and bytes by empowered consumers. So a story as newsworthy as these from WikiLeaks, more than ever before, will find an audience. What's more, the time to deliberate whether to cover a story or not has shrunk tremendously from the Watergate era.
3) It will be increasingly difficult to undermine financial support for these types of independent players: One of the Bush Administration's biggest successes in its efforts to combat so-called rogue states was a financial strategy: It froze key North Korean leaders' bank accounts, making it difficult for them to access hard currency or move their money. But it's far harder to do that with an organization as nebulous as WikiLeaks. In the last few days, PayPal finally shut down the donation account for the site. But the move amounts to window dressing. PayPal makes it easy to collect money with any random email address, but other online payment services also offer this opportunity -- and new social payment systems, such as those emerging in video games, are rapidly evolving. Like the Internet itself, these systems make it easier to conduct transactions and harder to track their origin and terminus. Mobile payment systems will soon add yet another layer of complexity by making it harder to track the location of transactions.
Last but not least, what does the blogosphere rumors about? Here, an example in: "Assange Is Headed For Prosecution For WikiLeaks Disclosures" by Sherwood Ross http://bit.ly/i0gFSw
Sources quoted and Reporter's notes.
Wikileaks makes everybody a Big Brother! by Asian Gazette Blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.