So if you haven’t had an interest in Wikileaks, related individuals, the classified information that was leaked to them, and the people that did it, let’s get you caught up.
First, I would suggest the long New Yorker piece on Julian Paul Assange, the ambassador and frontman of sorts for Wikileaks.
The 2600 Magazine synopsis here.
Really what’s happening here is a conflict of principals. Lamo informing on Manning to the feds is an interesting character distinction in a difficult situation.
This has moved from an example of the tipping of a balancing act between the two separate philosophical ideals of do no harm and that information should be free to one of polarizing schools of thought last weekend. When Manning told Lamo that he was hoovering up compartmentalized information in bulk and throwing it to Wikileaks (I paraphrase), Lamo seemed to reach his tipping point and turned him in.
I have respect for both ideals at play in the 101 write-ups already up about this, a lot of the reactions to it smacks of confirmation bias and radical honesty which prevents me taking some of it’s points very seriously. Taken to an extreme, my view is that these notions undermine diplomacy, privacy, free enterprise, and the rule of law.
Risky Business made an interesting characterization on their podcast that Wikileaks is not a journalistic organization. “You can be an activist or a journalist, but you can’t be both.” The concept of a shield for whistleblowers and journalists is an interesting one and one that I find appealing about Wikileaks. Being a hacktivist is also interesting but is rarely legal. Based on Manning’s chat logs, it’s clear that he went out of his way to gather sensitive data stored places where he did not have ready access and send it to unknown persons overseas.
The uncertainty of who processes that data at Wikileaks is part of what raises concern about the organization to Lamo and to United States agencies if I read the tea leaves correctly.
Interestingly enough, people like Assange feel entitled to picking and choosing what rule of law they follow. I would like to hear which set of laws that he and his organization feel are applicable to them.
Will Gragido and myself are going to give a talk sometime about our vision of the ideal natures of our industry. He, speaking about his ideal of a sort of modern bushi, and my taking the other side of the coin of the measured agitator. Samurai vs ninja; mod and troll.
These two archetypes, the one of honor and responsibility and one of instigator and agitator for change are what I see as being the key roles for success. The philosopher warrior and the maker of effective change; innovator and practitioner.
The individuals with our skillset in our industry are usually tasked with safeguarding of data people think is important.
Because of who we are and what we do on a daily basis, most people in this industry develop a highly refined sense of risk and of others maturity for dealing with risks and secrets. Would you ever want to employ someone to keep your secrets that wears one of these t-shirts?
I’ve only read my clients email when they have specifically requested that I do so. Why? Because I’m not a prick who betrays the responsibility that has been entrusted to me. It is my job to secure and safeguard data, not be entertained by it or share it irresponsibly or indiscriminately.
In the end, Manning betrayed the trust and oaths that he took to his employer and nation, the United States. Did he do this to serve what he perceived as a greater purpose? I guess I’ll look forward to learning his answer in court documents and in his lecture series and book on the subject when he pulls a Mitnick later on when he gets out of prison.