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Wikileaks: A Conversation

Neuroskeptic iconNeuroskepticBy NeuroskepticDecember 11, 2010 11:30 PM


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"Wikileaks is great. It lets people leak stuff."

"Hang on, so you're saying that no-one could leak stuff before? They invented it?"

"Well, no, but they brought leaking to the masses. Sure, people could post documents to the press before, but now anyone in the world can access the leaks!"

"Great, but isn't that just the internet that did that? If it weren't for Wikileaks, people could just upload their leaks to a blog. Or email them to 50 newspapers. Or put them on the torrents. Or start their own site. If it's good, it would go viral, and be impossible to take down. Just like Wikileaks, with all their mirrors, except even more secure, because there'd be literally no-one to arrest or cut off funding to."

"OK, but Wikileaks is a brand. It's not about the technical stuff - it's the message. Like one of their wallpapers says, they're synonymous with free speech."

"So you think it's a good thing that one organization has become synonymous with the whole process of leaking? With the whole concept of openness? What will happen to the idea of free speech, then, if that brand image suddenly gets tarnished - like, say, if their founder and figurehead gets convicted of a serious crime, or..."

"He's innocent! Justice for Julian!"

"Quite possibly, but why do you care? Is he a personal friend?"

"It's an attack on free speech!"

"So you agree that one man has become synonymous with free speech? Doesn't that bother you?"

"Erm... well. Look, fundamentally, we need Wikileaks. Before, there was no centralized system for leaking. Anyone could do it. It was a mess! Wikileaks put everything in one place, and put a committee of experts in a position to decide what was worth leaking and what wasn't. It brought much-needed efficiency and respectability to the idea of leaking. Before Wikileaks, it was anarchy. They're like... the government."


Edit: See also The Last Psychiatrist'stake.

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