Friday, December 3, 2010

Expect cat and mouse arms races

The enormous controversy surrounding the Wikileaks* revelation of yet more documents, this time of US diplomatic cables, is understandable. It's not surprising that the organization has suffered "Distributed Denial of Service" attacks, the cancellation of its hosting arrangements with Amazon, and other difficulties.

What's interesting and important is that the organization is able to continue to find work arounds so that it continues to be available:

WikiLeaks
WikiLeaks moves to Switzerland
WikiLeaks
WIKILEAKS: Free speech has a number: http://88.80.13.160

That's hugely frustrating, embarrassing and inconvenient to the US Government. But it's important in the light of dangerous attempts to introduce an "Internet kill switch" ... simply because the world has witnessed the dangers caused to individuals and societies when authorities stifle freedom of speech, whether in Stalinist Russia or post-Internet modern societies such as Iran.

How can global society maintain freedom of speech with what we'd agree is responsible use of that freedom? This is where technology meets politics, philosophy and values. And we don't all agree about those.

*Wikileaks is currently unavailable at its main site. See explanation and also here

Update since I wrote this post:
WikiLeaks
Utterly surreal: Pravda justifiably criticising US for trying to stifle a free press bit.ly/hD2zst How times change.

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