20 December 2010

Observations on the WikiLeaks episode

James had talked about the WikiLeaks episode on Facebook recently and he had said that he was 'mildy surprised' as to why people were even worked up about it, supporting or opposing it. We had thought that the leaks had revealed mostly what was already known, very little new information.

Whistle-blowing, in my opinion, is essential, especially when it comes to large, immovable, monolithic bureaucracies.

With regards to WikiLeaks as of now, I think the benefits of these current leaks are questionable. I do not deny the benefits of an avenue online for whistle-blowing that can withstand the repeated assaults of large bureaucratic entities from governments to corporations.

What was leaked?

  1. Some low level diplomatic cables.
  2. Some informal diplomatic chatter (from the cables), some of which were impolite if uttered in public.
  3. Some information of various types on the war in Afghanistan and Iraq including video.

The significance of the information

  1. The information leaked was mostly nothing that was not already known.
  2. Some Impolite chatter were mildly embarrassing for the parties involved.
  3. The military information was not unknown, it only provided details.


  1. The subsequent media storm served to sell newspapers, boosted ratings for TV stations, increased traffic for websites..
  2. It probably shocked some uninformed members of the public.
  3. It provided scapegoats in the form of a lightning rod for hackers of various stripes to focus their energies on attacking Amazon, Mastercard, Visa and a few other corporations.
  4. The involved governments issued the usual statements in corporatespeak (in which nothing was really said) for 'damage limitation' which really weren't much. They were not interesting either.
  5. The leaks might harm diplomacy when private chatter are made public.
  6. There might be increased security in large organisations now.

In conclusion, it had been a massive yawn throughout.

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