Is WikiLeaks the End of Secrets?
"We never know the source of the leak," Julian Assange assured a London audience today at the Frontline Club. The uniquely charismatic WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief went on: "We could make a guess. But it would only be a guess and not evidence." This rigorous informational—or perhaps it could be called intelligence—integrity is essential to the preservation of the site’s model: they need the finest information. They need the relevant information. They need to assure their sources that they are protected.
Not unlike fourteenth-century Venetian "gossip boxes" in the Doge’s Palace, the WikiLeaks system at once lures participation and risks abuse. They are careful. But what is a secret, anyway, and how is what WikiLeaks does re-defining our ideas of, and traditional respect for, classification?
The video of Assange’s interview (in which he clearly, if coyly, starts by saying, "No press conference type questions here") is here. His ardor for his mission is as as impressive as the mission itself. How WikiLeaks will evolve following its most recent revelation remains unclear, but the now globally celebrated presence of it might mean a sea-change: in journalism, in social norms, in the relationship of the individual to more traditional intelligence systems. It is too soon to tell.
If you Google Assange, his Wikipedia entry includes this note, now newly crucial:
Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg stated in an interview that Assange "is serving our (American) democracy and serving our rule of law precisely by challenging the secrecy regulations, which are not laws in most cases, in this country." On the issue of national security considerations for the U.S., Ellsberg added that:
..any serious risk to that national security is extremely low. There may be 260,000 diplomatic cables. It’s very hard to think of any of that which could be plausibly described as a national security risk. Will it embarrass diplomatic relationships? Sure, very likely—all to the good of our democratic functioning. [...] "[Assange is] obviously a very competent guy in many ways. I think his instincts are that most of this material deserves to be out. We are arguing over a very small fragment that doesn’t. He has not yet put out anything that hurt anybody’s national security."
We now possess a global vehicle for revealing classified information. Will we next demand a more local one? If we had one, would we use it? The Times Magazine's last cover story claimed the web is "the end of forgetting." Is WikiLeaks the end of secrets?
Near the end of his talk at the Frontline Club, Assange was philosophical. "It’s very, very hard, when your adversary is a modern state intelligence agency, to actually keep a secret. I would even say, impossible over the long term to keep a secret anywhere other than in your head, and maybe not even then—the way things are going." What are secrets? And who minds keeping them? Does it matter?
Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.
- Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
- Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
- Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
The famed author headed to the pond thanks to Indian philosophy.
- The famed author was heavily influenced by Indian literature, informing his decision to self-exile on Walden Pond.
- He was introduced to these texts by his good friend's father, William Emerson.
- Yoga philosophy was in America a century before any physical practices were introduced.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
A little goes a long way.
- A recent study from the Department of Health and Human Services found that 80 percent of Americans don't exercise enough.
- Small breaks from work add up, causing experts to recommend short doses of movement rather than waiting to do longer workouts.
- Rethinking what exercise is can help you frame how you move throughout your day.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.