Since day one I support websites like Cryptome, Wikileaks, EFF and Hacktivismo because they are promoting freedom of information on the internet. While peoples are watching stupid TMZ or “Entertainment Tonight” our internet piracy is slowly deprived by the big brothers. It is absolute hypocrisy when a government claim to promote “open societies” but shut down the essential part of it. Citizens’ duty is to hold their governments accountable. Below is an article and I think it speaks the dynamics behind the fight:
Cyber guerrillas can help US
By Evgeny Morozov
Published: December 3 2010 22:56 | Last updated: December 3 2010 23:47
Just two weeks before WikiLeaks released its diplomatic cables, Alec Ross, a leading proponent of all things digital at the US State Department, delivered an excitable talk at an internet conference in Chile. The title was the “battle between open and closed societies”; Mr Ross argued that openness always wins. Yet barely six minutes in he managed to infuriate his Latin American audience by saying that the network “was the Che Guevara of the 21st century”. “Will you try to kill it too?” inquired someone in the audience, anticipating that the US might soon feel ill at ease in a digital, networked world.
Now that America has spent a week debating how to take revenge on WikiLeaks, the prescience of that question is clear. Sarah Palin called on her government to “hunt down” Julian Assange, the WikiLeaker-in-chief. Right wing shock jock Rush Limbaugh seemed to feel nostalgic for the old days when “Assange would die of lead poisoning from a bullet in the brain”. Senator Joe Lieberman – who this year asked if “China can shut down the Internet, why can’t we?” – demanded that US companies stop working with WikiLeaks. Several did so, turning the site into a digital refugee, on the run from otherwise staunch First Amendment advocates.
America is yet to realise, however, that it is in its own interest to be nice to Mr Assange. If harmed, he would become a martyr. WikiLeaks could be transformed from a handful of volunteers to a global movement of politicised geeks clamouring for revenge. Today’s WikiLeaks talks the language of transparency, but it could quickly develop a new code of explicit anti-Americanism, anti-imperialism and anti-globalisation.
Mr Assange is more of a college sophomore still undecided about his major, than a man with a plan. There are two paths his creation could now take. One would see a radical global network systematically challenging those in power – governments and companies alike – just for the sake of undermining “the system”. Its current quest for transparency, however sloppily executed, could soon become an exercise in anger, one leak at a time.
Alternatively, WikiLeaks could continue moving in the more sensible direction that, in some ways, it is already on: collaborating with traditional media, redacting sensitive files, and offering those in a position to know about potential victims of releases the chance to vet the data. It is a choice between WikiLeaks becoming a new Red Brigades, or a new Transparency International. And forcing Mr Assange to go down the former route would have far more disastrous implications for American interests than anything revealed by the current dump of diplomatic cables.
The lesson of the last week is that, in this new world, geeks have real power. Plenty of them are already unhappy with the US government’s campaigns to limit internet piracy, or its harassment of well-known hackers. An aggressive attempt to go after WikiLeaks – by blocking its web access, for instance, or by harassing its members – could install Mr Assange (or whoever succeeds him) at the helm of a powerful new global movement able to paralyse the work of governments and corporations around the world.
More embarrassingly, Mr Assange’s fans are often the very same geeks that Washington needs to court, in order to push forward its desires to end internet censorship in authoritarian states such as China and Iran. The White House is currently engaged in a fresh move to promote “open government” around the globe. Alienating those who rally behind Mr Assange’s bombastic pronouncements threatens to stall progress in these areas. Indeed, promoting open government while chastising an group that puts “we open governments” in its Twitter bio seems hypocritical to many.
What if the US decides not attack WikiLeaks and its partners? True, the released cables are unlikely to undermine unpleasant regimes in Russia, China or much of the Middle East. But in the future, WikiLeaks-style organisations could be useful allies of the west as it seeks to husband democracy and support human rights. Groups such as WikiLeaks claim that there is power in information. But that power is made all the greater when it’s backed by the thoughtful advocacy of groups, like Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International, and placed in context by careful reporting from the numerous mainstream and online media partners that assisted WikiLeaks in its most recent release.
It’s towards these responsible arms – and not those of rabid America-haters – that Washington now must try to nudge Mr Assange and his growing fanbase. Handled correctly, the state that will benefit most from a nerdy network of 21st-century Che Guevaras, is America itself.
The writer is a visiting scholar at Stanford, and author of The Net Delusion: How Not to Liberate the World, released in January 2011