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Zimmer wikileaks

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Presentation as part of WikiLeaks and Intellectual Freedom discussion at Brookfield Public Library (2/24/2011)

Presentation as part of WikiLeaks and Intellectual Freedom discussion at Brookfield Public Library (2/24/2011)

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  • Launched in 2006www.wikileaks.ch(was wikileaks.org…more later)Over 1.2 million documents within first yearOriginally launched as traditional “wiki” where users make live edits and commentaryLater changed to more traditional format where people can submit information, but editors decide what to publish
  • Climategate – WikiLeaks hosted the material, but wasn’t the original source. Notably, the emails were potentially damaging to the pro-environmental movement, which is contrary to what you might suspect is a liberal leaning of the WikiLeaks organization.

Zimmer wikileaks Zimmer wikileaks Presentation Transcript

  • WikiLeaks :History & Context
    Michael Zimmer, PhD
    Center for Information Policy Research
    School of Information Studies
    UW-Milwaukee
  • www.wikileaks.ch
  • Origin
    Launched in 2006 (wikileaks.org)
    Originally launched as traditional “wiki” where users make live edits and commentary
    Later changed to more traditional format where people can submit information, but editors decide what to publish
    Founded by “Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and start-up company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa”
    Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist, is generally described as its director
    Over 1.2 million documents in its first year
  • Purpose
    Original
    "primary interest is in exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behaviour in their governments and corporations.”
    http://web.archive.org/web/20080314204422/http://www.wikileaks.org/wiki/Wikileaks:About
    Current
    “The broader principles on which our work is based are the defence of freedom of speech and media publishing, the improvement of our common historical record and the support of the rights of all people to create new history.”
    http://www.wikileaks.ch/About.html
  • Selected Releases
    Dec 2006: Apparent Somali assassination order
    Hoped that users would verify authenticity….never happened
    Guantanamo Bay operating procedures
    Secret 'bibles' of Scientology
    Scientology claimed copyright infringement; in response, WikiLeaks released several thousand additional pages
    Sarah Palin's Yahoo email account contents
    Climategateemails
    Internet censorship lists for Australia, Denmark, Thailand
    Bilderberg Group meeting reports
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_published_by_WikiLeaks
  • July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike
    Series of three air-to-ground attacks conducted by a team of United States Army AH-64 Apache helicopters
    Nine men were killed, including two members of the media, who’s cameras were mistaken as weapons
    Two versions released:
    Full 39-minute version
    Edited 17-minute version, titled “Collateral Murder”
  • Afghan and Iraq War Logs
    92,000 documents related to the war in Afghanistan
    400,000 documents relating to the Iraq war
    Mostly raw field intelligence reports, detailing
    Mundane status reports, but also
    Civilian & friendly-fire casualties
    War crimes, psy-ops
    Influence of outside forces
    Criticized for endangering lives of local informants, as well as military personnel
  • United States diplomatic cables leak
    Starting in Nov 2010, daily release (80 per day) of detailed correspondence between the U.S. State Department and its diplomatic missions around the world
    Over 250,000 documents, detailing international affairs from 300 embassies dated from 1966–2010
    containing diplomatic analysis of world leaders, an assessment of host countries, and a discussion about international and domestic issues
    Leaked from the U.S. SIPRNet, the U.S. Department of Defense’s classified version of the civilian internet
  • Reaction to “Cablegate”
    WikiLeaks experienced distributed denial of service attacks, attempting to bring down its website
    Various service providers cut ties
    DNS provider (making “wikileaks.org” unoperable)
    Amazon stopped hosting its website
    PayPal, MasterCard, and Visa stopped processing donations
    Air Force personnel were blocked from accessing website
    Twitter accounts subpoenaed
    “Anonymous” counter-attacked websites which were involved in censorship/disruption of Wikileaks
  • Challenge to Power
    WikiLeaks provides evidence of the exercise – and abuses – of power
    Exposes how power operates in the real world, on the ground
    Exposes hidden power relationships, and disrupts them
    Both in politics, and in media
    Protects sources from normal sanctions
    Has limited accountability or regulability
  • WikiLeaks is Not Neutral
    Has its own ideologies and motivations
    The broader principles on which our work is based are the defence of freedom of speech and media publishing, the improvement of our common historical record and the support of the rights of all people to create new history.
    But not all data is automatically made public
    Evaluates, parses, edits, and not transparently
    Negotiates relationships with (particular) media outlets
    Attempts to manage information flow
    Embroiled in own controversies re: Assange
    1.4 GB “insurance file” of “embarrassing secret documents”
  • WikiLeaks :History & Context
    Michael Zimmer, PhD
    Center for Information Policy Research
    School of Information Studies
    UW-Milwaukee