The neat thing about all of the Wikileaks stuff this past week is that everyone has an opinion.
Everyone knows what’s right about it, and what’s wrong.
Not that anyone agrees with anyone.
Or will agree with me:
Though the attempts at “cyberwarfare” (how grandiose!) by the group Anonymous look childish and, quite frankly, technologically unsophisticated (clogging up the sites? Is that the best they can do?), the charges against Julian Assange, whether for the leaks or for his sexual transgressions, have led to nothing, so far, but his detention—something that may not last very long. Though he has become the center of a second Wikileaks frenzy (the first being the leaked documents themselves), the Assange story is quite frankly, trumped up—on all sides.
As is the Wikileaks story itself.
Yes, we’ve now access to information, making a great deal public that its authors would prefer remained private. But nothing has been revealed, I am sure, that all parties directly involved didn’t already know. The problem, for any of the principals, is that “everyone” now knows how others (particularly American diplomats) think of them. The world of diplomacy being what it is (filled with its own, private leaks), all sides knew all this stuff anyway—not probably, but certainly, or none of the intelligence services anywhere is worth a plugged nickel.
Personally, I like the Wikileaks releases for a number of reasons. First, a democracy functions best when the populace knows what its leaders are doing. Second, more information (if we can process it) is axiomatically better than less. Third, this is a good lesson for our diplomats and top leaders: keep your cards close—someone is always trying to take a peek. Fourth, much to my surprise, American diplomats have come off looking like the ‘adults in the room.’ As an American, that pleases me.
Do I care about the trials and tribulations of Julian Assange himself? Not really. I’d much prefer him in a novel than in real life. In a novel, I could be convinced to sympathize with him. As it is, I simply find him a trainwreck that I shouldn’t be watching and have no way of preventing.
If we are careful and consider what we are discovering through the actions of Wikileaks and through the information released, we are liable to learn a great deal about ourselves, the Web, and our world. Good. If we continue to simply watch the soap opera around Assange, we may end up with less than we had before—a more restrictive world and Web. Bad.