Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Light of Other Days

Who doesn't find this Wikileak stuff interesting?  Talk about a guilty pleasure.  We all know it was obtained illegally, but we can't look away.  Why would we?  Its a chance to test what we think we know against what is revealed.

I was happy enough when Climategate broke. We heard exactly what we have been saying they were doing in their own words.  "Hide the decline," is famous now.  I can't support the Climategate leak and not support the Wikileak dumps.  Just remember that Climategate was not leaked by Wikileaks.  It mysteriously appeared on a Russian server and was taken down after everyone could download it all and redistribute it themselves.  Was wikileaks active before Climategate?  Perhaps they had the info and chose to censor themselves?  I suspect Wikileaks would have censored Climategate to protect the progressive movement of which they are likely a part.  The original hacker may have retaliated by releasing it himself.  That's a lot of ifs and assumptions I know.  This cloak and dagger stuff is full of guesses.

That is the trouble with Wikileaks.  Nobody is entitled to their secrets except Wikileaks of course and they will look out for their own interests first.  What a delicious can of worms.  If we try to stop them then we hurt whistle blowers and free speech.  If we don't stop them, then we may as well publish it all ourselves and go back to invisible ink. 

It also strikes me that Wikileaks' main informants will be the clandestine intelligence services of rival powers.  How long before they start disseminating false mock up leaks?   How much of the current information is veritable? 

Its all very intriguing.  It reminds me of a book I read by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter.  The Light of Other Days is Science Fiction but it deals with relevant questions like privacy and truth.  In it an entrepreneur invents a way to send signals through microscopic wormholes to beat the speed of light lag in communications.  He renders satellites obsolete first and then its the entire infrastructure that becomes useless.  Small improvements eventually make these tiny wormholes into CCTV cams that can be positioned anywhere in time and space.  Imagine that.  Full disclosure of everything that ever happened everywhere to anyone.  How many friends would you keep if that happened and how many would you lose?  How would the courts keep up and how much respect would you have for them after getting so many things so wrong?  We would all be guilty but some more severely than others.  Could we get over it if we found out what the Church has known all along; that we are all sinners? 

Its a great read and I highly recommend the book to everyone concerned with privacy and freedom.  We will have to come to terms with Wikileaks sooner or later.  We will have to decide where to draw the line on what can be hidden and from whom.  I think this book will provide an entertaining compliment to the whole wikileaks  phenomenon as it unfolds in the coming weeks and years.

1 comment:

Patsplace said...

Someone said that Glenn Beck had intimated that this is a set up for reduction in freedom to communicate via the internet. Yeah, I know! Just because you're paranoid, that does not mean that no one is out to get you.

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