Saturday, December 4, 2010

Watching the Watchers: WikiLeaks Edition

I have been darkly captivated by the ongoing saga of the WikiLeaks website, or more precisely the reactions to the ongoing leaks.  The latest document dump revealed approximately zero surprising details while confirming a great many most people would have expected anyway.  Russia has an organized crime problem.  Corruption is endemic in a war zone.  Diplomats communicate like regular people when nobody is looking.  None of this is really shocking is it?

And yet some media outlets are comparing the release to that of the Pentagon Papers, which is patently ridiculous, at least so far.  Nothing that has come from WikiLeaks has had anywhere near the impact the Pentagon Papers had.  However, I find it fascinating that the government and some pundits are reacting as if it did.  It seems quite probable that WikiLeaks will cease to exist as a centralized site very soon as public corporations pull their support and the authorities make life harder on Assange.  It's also just as probable the leaked documents will continue to see the light of day, given the nature of the Internet.

The web was envisioned to allow open and easy communications, and that's a knife that can cut in many ways.

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