Three thoughts on WikiLeaks

A few recent discussions on WikiLeaks has made me collect my thoughts on the website. Since I’ve changed my mind in the past, I’ve found it interesting to jot down my thoughts in a searchable, archived manner, so I can look back and see when I changed my mind. Which I’ll do now. So here are my three things about WikiLeaks:

I abhor anyone who tries to close WikiLeaks through force, political pressure, threats or circumvention of the law. If anyone is to blame for a leak that shouldn’t have gotten out, it’s the source of the leak, i.e. the person who uploaded files to the WikiLeaks website.

I’m not a particular fan of WikiLeaks, or Julian Assange. Neither of those things matter, because no matter how much Assange wants it to be about him, it’s really not.

Because the thing about WikiLeaks is that — like Pandoras Box — once opened, you cannot close it again. You can’t bring back a file an embassy once it’s been mirrored. You can’t unsee a cable once read. You can’t unleak a leak; once the snow is yellow, it’s yellow until we don’t care about it anymore and it melts on its own. It’s so easy to build a WikiLeaks-like website — it’s so easy to make leaking 100% anonymous. Even if Joe Lieberman and team PayPal somehow managed to close down WikiLeaks and all its mirrors and delete all leaked cables and documents, a new leak site would spring up like a mushroom. Whether you, I, or the government like this or not, this is now the world we live in. There’s no going back. The only way to move forward is for governments to conduct business in a way that survives transparency.