Declan McCullagh on WikiLeaks

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January 11, 2011 · 2 comments

Declan McCullagh, chief political correspondent for CNET and former Washington bureau chief for Wired News, discusses WikiLeaks. McCullagh gives a quick recap of the WikiLeaks saga so far, comments on the consequences of the leaks themselves, and talks about the broader significance of the affair. He also offers a few insights into Julian Assange’s ideology based on his interactions with Assange in early ’90s cypherpunk circles. Lastly, McCullagh discusses the future of diplomacy and the chance that Assange will be indicted in the United States.



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  • Static

    The idea that just because you are looking to blow the whistle on corruption,you therefore have the technical ability to setup an anonymous delivery method to the world seems a reach. You mentioned BitTorrent, but realistically– the whistle-blower would have to seed that file for a while, and somehow simultaneously promote it to get it seeded worldwide, all anonymously, that’s tough.

    Wikileaks takes care of the technical element and ensures their secrecy, while promoting the information across the globe– it’s name ensures that the documents are treated as trustworthy. Traditionally newspapers played that role, but they’ve seemingly lost their objectivity with regards to their relationship with the government. Wikileaks seems to fill that vacuum.

    I don’t think anyone realistically believes there should be no secrecy, only that corruption should be aired. Rather then asking Declan for Julian’s motivations, you could have discussed Julian’s own words:

    “The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive “secrecy tax”) and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption.

    Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems. Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.

    Only revealed injustice can be answered; for man to do anything intelligent he has to know what’s actually going on.”

  • Anonymous

    Re wikileaks: the United States is easy pickings. When are they going to show us something from a closed society?