Leak or Plant: The New Ecology of Information

August 6, 2010

Where is the line between freedom of online speech and national security? One Web site is testing this border and creating quite a storm. The Washington Post recently ran a scathing editorial, “WikiLeaks Must be Stopped,”  discussing the legality of the aforementioned WikiLeaks (www.wikileaks.org), which claims to have leaked over 70,000 classified documents. The article pulls no punches, beginning with: “Let’s be clear: WikiLeaks is not a news organization; it is a criminal enterprise.” The article basically calls the site terroristic, though it is not affiliated with terror organizations. The Post actually encourages the United States to use military force, if necessary, to close down the site. Now, there’s no question this is a concerning site, but the internet is a place where voices can be heard, maybe the government should work harder on preventing leaks instead of crushing Web sites.

Beyond Search has some different thoughts. First, much of the information is recycled from open sources. Convenient. Second, is the information disinformation? The “value” of the content may not be the information itself but the notional impact of having these data floating around. Who loses? Who wins? Is this a new form of publishing?

Pat Roland, August 6, 2010


2 Responses to “Leak or Plant: The New Ecology of Information”

  1. sperky undernet on August 6th, 2010 5:41 am

    Raising the curiosity level still further is a DridgeReport link to a Washington Times article “Pentagon bars staff from visiting web site…” which was removed, see: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/aug/5/pentagon-bars-staff-from-visiting-wikileaks-site/

    With some searching of related posts and blogs, it seems the removed article referred to a Pentagon message along the lines of : “[Department of the Navy][[and probably personnel of other branches and offices]] personnel should not access the WikiLeaks website to view or download the publicized classified information.Doing so would introduce potentially classified information on unclassified networks….There has been rumor that the information is no longer classified since it resides in the public domain. This is NOT true.”

    So it may theoretically – or not so theoretically – be considered illegal for any American – and not just security personnel – to view what is considered by the Pentagon to be classified information even though it may also be (or already was) “recycled from open sources”.

    Could the act of accessing and viewing such information that is not ok’d by the Pentagon be seen as behavior unbefitting an American citizen or friend of America worldwide?

    How’s that for notional impact?

    If we manage to avoid worst net neutrality case, we may find that we will all pay anyway relative to our perceived sin. What will that do to the mantra of free access to all the world’s information?

  2. Stephen E. Arnold on August 7th, 2010 12:33 pm

    Sperky Undernet,

    That’s Drudge, not Dridge. I do like the work and your comment. Keep ’em comung, er, coming.

    Stephen E Arnold, August 7, 2010

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