Jacques Mattheij

Technology, Coding and Business

In defense of wikileaks

I’m no fan of Julian Assange, I think the way wikileaks has in recent times converted their ultra clean reputation in to a part of the propaganda machine was less than elegant and will hurt wikileaks in the long run.

BUT…

The concerted effort that is taking place to label wikileaks a threat to security, to suggest that wikileaks (and by extension Assange) have blood on their hands because of the leaking of documents that contain the names of Afghan informers is absolutely dishonest and you shouldn’t fall for it.

By taking an editorial role wikileaks has done itself a disservice, it is now no longer perceived as the dumb pipe for leaked information that it really is. Besides basic vetting if documents are authentic wikileaks should never ever change the contents of a document.

Release it completely or don’t release it at all, no blacked out lines and/or names.

If people decide to play the informant, either for idealistic or for monetary reasons they full well realise the risk they are taking, they’ll have to trust the party they do business with to do everything possible to safeguard their identity.

Potential fall-out from this affair will be that people will be more careful to do business with the armies of occupying countries or their agents.

If a government institution such as the army has sensitive data at its disposal it should do everything it can do secure the identity of those that have given their trust. That includes the old dogmatic ‘access on need to know basis only’ and items like that. You really have to wonder how a single individual gained access to 90,000 documents, he couldn’t possibly have a ‘need to know’ the contents of all of those, in fact he couldn’t have read that many documents even if he wanted to.

The breach of security at the US army exposes a cavalier attitude towards security in general, and it makes you wonder who else has access to what data.

To try to pin the blame on wikileaks for all this is cheap, it’s a classical case of blaming the messenger. The person that leaked the documents is the person that is responsible, the US army security people are responsible, Ultimately the American government is responsible.

But Julian Assange is not, and wikileaks is not, after all it would be just as easy for the leaker to upload the data to some torrent site and post the URL in a forum.

Leaking the information can be done via a variety of conduits, Wikileaks is a ‘high profile’ place to leak stuff but information, once out has a way of making its way around the globe and you really can’t blame the conduit for the messages that it is carrying.

So, ‘respectable news outlets of the world’ that are going to go out of their way to insinuate that wikileaks has a hand in the Talibans response to them gaining access to information they shouldn’t have had, do your homework and point those fingers where they should.

For a nice example see:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/7917955/Wikileaks-Afghanistan-Taliban-hunting-down-informants.html

HN Submission/Discussion
If you read this far you should probably follow me on twitter: