7 August 2010

Freedom of Information at Risk

WikiLeaks is undeniably a great asset to the freedom of information movement. Geoff Morrell, pentagon spokesperson urges WikiLeaks to "do the right thing" and remove all copies of classified US military data on the invasion of Afghanistan from their websites so that enemies of the US are prevented from using the data to gain an advantage. This is blatant disrespect for the audience since any enemy of the US would have acquired the data long before it made it into the limelight. So either the US government is trying to make an example of WikiLeaks to prevent leaks in future or they want to prevent the information from permeating further into the public domain due to embarrassing or possibly incriminating information. If the former was their intention then they would have been far more stern than to just release a removal request through the media.

With little effort i came across the Collateral Murder videos on YouTube which will give you an idea of the type of content the US government wants to keep out of the public domain. Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor in chief is now worried about state prosecution but it seems they may have some insurance in place. A 1.4GiB file was released by Wikileaks with no explanation about it's contents or their intention and was literally named insurance.aes256. It's contents can only be speculated upon at this point since it is seemingly encrypted with the AES standard but it's name and the lack of an explanation have done enough to convince many that it contains more classified US military data which is now being used to dissuade legal action.

While my own country tries to establish a media tribunal in the face of a constitution that disallows it, it seems the US government is already enjoying their ability to silence whistleblowers in the media. While blackmail is undeniably high up on the unethical list, dishonesty is absolutely at the top of it and the "right thing to do" for all parties involved is to reveal their cards so we can clearly discern who the terrorists are. It's a matter of time before the Bastille is stormed once again.