Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Wikileaks Era: Will it Be "Involuntary Transparency" or Total Lockdown of Communications?

"Wikileaks just made the world a more repressive place", explained former diplomat and current aid worker, Scott Gilmore, in a Globe and Mail article yesterday.

Gilmore's view is that the Wikileaks revelations could endanger the lives of whistleblowers and other sources in places where human rights are not respected.

There is every possibility that the consequences could be even more dire. With telecommunications and internet service providers already chomping at the bit to restrict and control internet access, the whole Wikileaks / security angle could provide an entree for a treacherous role reversal for the internet, where it would become virtually inaccessible for the general public, except for approved uses.

Does this seem to far-fetched to believe?

How about the recent aggressive push to reduce anonymity on the net that seems to have materialized out of nowhere?

It has been shown in spades that the U.S. government, and the Harper government, for that matter, and others, will overreact in huge disproportion to perceived threats.

Now apparently, Julian Assange told Forbes in an interview yesterday that Wikileaks now has the confidential communications of a large U.S. bank in its sights for a reveal in early 2011. And we can presume there is more to come.

As a Heather Brooke commentary in the Guardian stated,

The powerful have long spied on citizens (surveillance) as a means of control, now citizens are turning their collected eyes back upon the powerful (sousveillance).

We are at a pivotal moment where the visionaries at the vanguard of a global digital age are clashing with those who are desperate to control what we know.

In the end, though, the powerful are still powerful. It is very difficult to trust them to be willing to ride this storm out without going into communications curfew mode. When we hear the rantings of such supposedly responsible people as Sarah Palin and Tom Flanagan on this subject, it gives us some idea of the extreme trespasses that Wikileaks is perceived as committing.

It is difficult to imagine a less extreme response.

Let's hope that Julian Assange, or somebody, has prepared an alternate internet to serve in the event the one we have gets corrupted.

1 comment:

Jazzie Casas said...

I remember the last time there was a "Wikileaks," and it very much like this time.

Now, as then, I encountered very strong but differing opinions/perceptions about it. Some/many people explicitly support "Wikileaks" and regard it/Julian Assange as good, and others explicitly condemn it/him -but I've yet to see anyone clearly identify much less defend their reasoning. This seems strange to me, and almost makes me suspicious. What exactly is the issue here? For disclosure, I'm undecided on the issue -because I simply do not know enough to know if Wikileaks is good or bad. I'm aware that JA is accused of a sexual crime in Europe. I will say that as someone who values truth and honesty, I have at least a little suspicion and/or skepticism of advocacy of GOVERNMENT secrecy (although I understand it it necessary at least sometime). What exactly is going on with WikiLeaks and why exactly is it wrong or right? And HOW is this information being obtained? It confuses me that I hear people harshly condemning it and saying "this person should be tried for treason and executed, etc."IF a serious law has been broken, I'd expect it to be cited and used as the basis for advocating the pursuit of formal charges.Was the information leaked acquired by consent (shared/sold by those who controlled it) or stolen? I haven't seen this clearly established anywhere, which seems weird as it is clearly a significant consideration. If anyone can clarify this, I'd be grateful, thanks. I'm also VERY curious why I've yet to hear it clearly identified.

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