Wikileaks: Silence Is Not Safety

I’m a bit perturbed by the fact that a controversial news source, Wikileaks, was taken offline without any semblance of support from the corporate-funded media. They are profiting from the discoveries, risks and efforts put in by this organization. Normally, I don’t expect the media to have any view on the news they push out, but this would be an exception. The fact a source can be silenced on the web should be a wake up call to any news organization and journalist.

Whether you support Wikileaks or not, here are a handful of key points I want to make that I feel are valid:

  • Secrecy does not translate into security. As evident in Cablegate, these secrets amount to gossip between the worlds diplomats. Transparency and honest discussion is the solution to reduce the need for secrets.
  • The information Wikileaks distributes is not from their own prying – it is contributed from whistleblowers and others who give it to them to anonymize and share with others.
  • Assuming we have a ‘free press’, shutting them down or going after them like they are terrorists is not conducive to the journalistic process. Opening a channel for them to clear documents might be helpful; perhaps operating more transparently will neutralize these so-called leaks.
  • Companies who take an adverse action against Wikileaks (e.g., PayPal, MasterCard, etc.) when they are more or less operating within their policies show that when public sentiment is at stake, no one is safe from the court of public opinion.
  • Wikileaks ought to distribute less politically motivated content. More of a focus on corporate douchebaggery, exposing the frauds and cons of individuals might be a little helpful to win the support from people and potentially the sensational media.

It’s a travesty that a good number of folks are in favor of shutting down Wikileaks. No one has been harmed from this unauthorized disclosure of information. In fact, it holds everyone accountable – showing that our own government deceives the media about the number of deaths, innocent bystanders in war and perhaps the on-going affairs with diplomats.

You got to hand it to an organization that can produce more, valid and legitimate investigative journalism than the entire world’s media combined. That’s notable. Not quite Nobel Peace prize, but worthy of being considered in a celebratory light.

From what I can tell, the US media has been profiting from the information disclosed by Wikileaks. This isn’t bad – it’s mission accomplished – in terms of receiving validation that their information is accurate. However, when Wikileaks was targeted by adverse actions resulting in it going offline, I didn’t see one ounce of support for Wikileaks. Just neutral reporting that it went offline. Ok, fine, I give them credit for neutral reporting … but it would be nice to have them give back to the hand that feeds them.

“The Jester” isn’t a hacker; he’s a script kiddie out hustling for fame. Why isn’t anyone asking the bigger question of why is he controlling of millions of compromised machines (drones) in his botnet? That’s criminal.

With all this said, I’m not a “fan boi” for Wikileaks. With great information, comes great responsibility. This means they have a responsibility to protect the privacy of innocent people and go great lengths to redact any personally identifiable information before they publish something. Should the offending organization deny it – then move forward with uncovering more details. I can see how it’s offensive to release footage of people moments before imminent death. It’s disrespectful, but in this age of information, I can also see how it’s necessary to gain credibility.

The only good from all this controversy and attacks on Wikileaks is this. It makes them stronger. They will soon have a distributed DNS with distributed hosts much like The Pirate Bay. They will earn more avid supporters and they will become much more self-sufficient. So, in essence, this is good for Wikileaks – but I hope they get their act together to not post such sensitive documents that places any country in harms way.

We should not censor any organization that publishes information we don’t like. Not only is it unrealistic long-term, it goes against our values to support a free press.