Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 8th Dec 2010 12:16 UTC
Internet & Networking It looks like several companies are learning what happens when you mess with the internet - and they're learning it the hard way. Several major companies have been hit by the collective powers of Anonymous after 4chan launched several distributed denial-of-service attacks. What many have been predicting for a long time now has finally happened: an actual war between the powers that be on one side, and the internet on the other. Update: PayPal has admitted their WikiLeaks snub came after pressure from the US government, and Datacell, which takes care of payments to Wikileaks, is threatening to sue MasterCard over Wikileaks' account suspension. Update II: Visa.com is down due to the attack. Update III: PayPal has caved under the pressure, and will release the funds in the WikiLeaks account.
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RE[5]: Hmmm
by elsewhere on Thu 9th Dec 2010 07:25 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Hmmm"
elsewhere
Member since:
2005-07-13

What happened is that someone took information (the "invading privacy" part) and leaked it, and people all around are saying "ohh, it's freedom of information! see how pure the motives are!". That's the divergent part from reality.


There's no such thing as "invasion of privacy" when it comes to democratic governments. They should be operating in complete transparency. The public they serve is entitled to understand how they operate. You can't compare the wikileaks expose to someone dumpster diving to drag out information on a private citizen. Citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy, governments do not.

That said, I will agree that there is a murky area between a citizen's right to know, versus a citizen's need to know. Too much transparency can be a bad thing, the issue is finding the balance.

Personally, I think wikileaks has jumped the shark. They served an interestingly noble purpose at the start, but I'm not sure what noble purpose is now being served by the leak of all these US gov't docs, particularly without providing any context to them. Now, they simply seem to be serving an agenda.

However, I'm very concerned with the implications that any sort of repercussions against wikileaks could have on the internet at large. The real issue is not that wikileaks is releasing this information, the issue is that the US had allowed this information to be released in the first place. Sure, they have the guy that did it in custody, but that doesn't address the fact that he was able to do it in the first place. Wikileaks is complicit in spreading the information, but other than embarrassing the gov't, have they actually broken a law? We've had the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, Deep Throat et al. in the past, and the press was protected, why is the situation with wikileaks any different?

The real story is that a low-ranking disenfranchised soldier was able to extract and disseminate this information in the first place. That's a serious breakdown in security policy, representing a violation of the trust the US had inherent in their diplomatic ties.

The huffing and puffing about wikileaks is a smokescreen to conceal that. The info should never have been made available, but it was. At least by having it out in the open, everyone's cards are on the table. If the information had been made secretly available to organizations or nations with more nefarious intents, the repercussions could potentially be more serious. No way to tell.

At the end of the day, the US Gov't is responsible for this happening, the information is now free, and fingerpointing and posturing won't change that.

As far as what the US Government should do, and if they are working for the citizens, that's a different discussion.


Quite, and let's keep in mind, by looking at a reverse perspective of this issue, the White House blocked access to ACTA documents under FOIA by claiming National Security. The pendulum swings both ways.

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