DPI-665Politics of the Internet April 16, 2012The WikiLeaks Conundrum Micah L. SifryAudio: http://bit.ly/HXDoGd CC-BY-NC-SA
Topics for discussionWhat does the WikiLeaks episode of 2010- present show us about: -the power of networks? -the power of governments? -the promise and precariousness of online freedom of speech? -the evolving relationship between old and new media? -the collision between participatory transparency and elite opacity?
Julian Assange• Transparency activist? Journalist?• Hacking a superpower? Destroying an “invisible government”?
Bradley Manning• Daniel Ellsberg-style anti-war whistleblower?• Traitor?
Media gatekeepers?• WikiLeaks as “stateless news organization,” but one needing old media for amplification and defense• Old media responded how?
The Obama government• “The more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes” (Obama in China)• “Assange is a high- tech terrorist” (Biden in the US)
The new digital sovereigns• Amazon, PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, Apple: did they behave properly?• Can they be trusted as gatekeepers of a networked public/private sphere?
Anonymous and “infowar”• Is DDOS (distributed denial of service) a form of civil disobedience?• Or the internet equivalent of using poison gas?
After WikiLeaks: More open or less?• When everything is secret, is anything secret? When you’re open, can you be “WikiLeaked”?• “In the internet age, power shifts from those who hold secrets to those to create openness. That is our emerging reality.”
Assange, post full release of cables? hypocrite?• “Transparency should be proportional to the power that one has. The more power one has, the greater the dangers generated by that power, and the more need for transparency. Conversely, the weaker one is, the more danger there is in being transparent."