Sunday, January 13, 2008

Wikileaks

I'm not endangering National Security here - wikileaks is already well known and has been mentioned in major media.

According to the about page, Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interest is in exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations.

Further down they say:

Who is behind Wikileaks?
Wikileaks was founded by Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and startup company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

Our public Advisory Board, which is still in formation, includes courageous journalists, representatives from refugee communities, ethics and anti-corruption campaigners, including a former national head of Transparency International, human rights campaigners, lawyers and cryptographers.

There are currently over 1,200 registered volunteers, but we need more people involved at an organizational level.


and further down still:

Why are the Wikileaks founders anonymous?
Most people who are involved with Wikileaks are not anonymous, however, the founders (and obviously our sources) remain anonymous. Our reasons are:

Some of us are refugees from repressive countries with families still in those countries.
Some of us are journalists who may be banned from entering these countries for work if our affiliation was known.
Additionally, given that some must be anonymous for reasons outside of their control, an imbalance of representation and exposure is threatened unless all founders remain anonymous. Furthermore, the effort to encourage anonymous sources to release material to the public is enhanced by an ability to empathise via solidarity in anonymity. Anonymity also demonstrates motivation by goals higher than reputation seeking.


You do find some names, including some authentic Chinese dissidents, if you dig around. Yet the lions share of the leaks seem to be from the United States government. Not quite what you'd anticipate from the reasons given. That doesn't prove anything, and even if it did it wouldn't show who. Maybe someone than me can investigate more systematically.

I have a hunch though. Who has been very clever at using computers against the United States? Who has been working hard to control the internet?

So maybe China. The site says they do ban Wikileaks inside China, and I believe it, but that doesn't mean they don't use or even sponsor it.

So I searched for Wikileaks about China. In comparison to the scads of stuff from the United States, there were only a handful. Fair enough, it's harder and more dangerous to leak stuff from there - although you would think those Chinese dissidents would give this section a leg up. With the (possible) exception of a document I found in Chinese, everything seems to have been leaked to other places before appearing on Wikileaks. Original documents from our military have appeared there. Hmmmm.

This could possibly be bad. I wish I could say the end result would be a more honest USA having an advantage over a repressive China, but selective leaking manipulated by China, perhaps even extortion of the American government, could be harmful indeed to my country.

Is this worth having our government forget about net neutrality, legislate as best it can to reduce the violence to our legal system (the constitution is not a suicide pact) and close this down at all costs? Nothing I've seen so far would justify the costs of that.

So the CIA has to start thinking what Chinese documents can and should be leaked. I think a greater portion of their intelligence is focused on us than visa versa, but if this is assymetrical warfare, I hope we're already preparing for it.

1 comment:

Shawn said...

I really like the idea behind WikiLeaks, although I'm not so sure a Wiki is the best thing for something of this sort. The whole idea of a Wiki is that anyone can edit it, so what's to stop anyone from "leaking" conspiracy theories or editing other damaging leaks that _are_ true.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.