Sunday, January 16, 2011

Episode 25 - We're Wikileaking Cheese All Over Mouse Balls and Taking it Downtown....

OK, that title is a tad odd, you will have to listen in to understand it.

Robin, Ken and I decided to take on wikileaks and its oddball founder, Julian Assange. We had really not a lot of love for Assange himself, but we pretty much agreed that he is a journalist. The odd thing is people are not caring much about where the leaks came from, they are just mad they got published. The other thing we agreed on was that, from what we have seen, there is little in the cables that is anything more than embarrassing. In other words, this is not the Pentagon Papers.

We also agreed, (we were all quite agreeable in this episode) that relating the leaks and Assange's legal troubles in Sweden is a bit much.



We hope you enjoy episode 25.

6 comments:

Rachel said...

As I understand it, civil disobedience means breaking a law that is seen as unjust, openly and as publicly as one can manage, and being willing to take society's punishment for breaking that law--and then going out and breaking it again as soon as one is able. By that definition, a boycott is not civil disobedience. And equally, committing a crime is not civil disobedience unless the crime is breaking that unjust law. Therefore, I believe that no, the hack was in no way an exercise of civil disobedience.

Dave Brodbeck said...

That Rachel is an excellent point. I think you are correct. We should have you on some time, I think you know more than any of us...

merelyjim said...

Yup, charging a foreign national with treason. Further proof that we don't elect our legislators in the USA based their intelligence.

I don't think wikileaks would ever have achieved as much media noise as it did if not for the long and glorious tradition of the U.S. military being, at least, a party to lying to the people they serve, from the Weapons of Mass Destruction to making school-children hide under their desks to survive a nuclear first-strike back in the 1950's. Everyone loves the enlisted ranks - it's the top-shelf Officers (having seen Officers playing Chess observing just how much a pawn means to them), and Politicians, that no one trusts.

Does blogging make you a journalist? My gut answer to that was; depends on the number of lawyers you can afford. This sounds flippant, but as was pointed out, no one sued the New York Times, Der Speigel, or The Guardian over the data put out there. It's a lot easier to crush the little guy who can't fight back. Thankfully, there's the EFF and the ACLU. Having said that, and knowing I'm free to say anything I want on my blog, I could still be legally right and lose my job if I chose to criticize my bosses and be financially screwed. While not quite as dumb as the guy who threatened the Robin Hood airport in the UK last year, still stupid.

What's really disturbing are the gray-area attacks that have come up from either side of WikiGate (sorry, no one has made a better name for it yet). Anonymous using the ion canon on Paypal, MasterCard, and Visa. A discrete call from Washington to Amazon asking about how this web-hosting stuff might be damaging to your company's bottom-line. Inquiries to Twitter for copies of direct messages from a member of the Icelandic Parliament?

Thanks for another podcast!

-jim

Rachel said...

Hee! Thank you--but sounding smart on this is the result of my having studied PoliSci and some of it sticking...and being able to think about it for a while first.

Ken Hernden said...

A good point Rachel. But did not Gandhi advocate boycotting the British monopoly on salt? It was both quasi breaking a law but mostly a boycott. I think in the case of the hack, what you have (and I'm going on a limb) is the punishment of corporate machinery for towing a government's line, whether implied or explicit. I still think it just irritated 99.999% of people trying to do transactions and the point was entirely lost though.

Rachel said...

Ken, I think that advocating a boycott may be an effective tactic, but is still not (definitionally) civil disobedience, although it shares with civil disobedience the goal of gaining attention from a broader public with the intention of gaining sympathy and widespread support.

By those standards--ANY of those standards--an anonymous hack is criminal mischief with no shared goals with civil disobedience at all. Indeed, as you correctly point out, it achieves the exact opposite effect of annoying the general public.