US Wikileaks Cablegate: Will it force a de facto global policing of the Internet?
As Julian Assange dodges the whole world, sleeping in dodgy spots and constantly on the move and a constant onslaught on the wikileaks website goes on you begin to wonder what the end-game here is.
The United states has promised “aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information.” And with the way the site has suffered many denial of service attacks, as well as many commercial handicaps, these aggressive steps are in full flow.
Julian Assange of course is not wanted in connection with the cables but with an unrelated rape charge. Of course this seems a bit strange given the fact as far as I can remember I have never heard of an International manhunt for a one-off alleged rapist. And issued by Sweden by of all people.
With the way that this matter is being handled Assange is turning into a hero by the minute.
But I digress. In essence are we about to see the Internet going the China way? Where the Internet is policed and certain information will not be published thanks to a bunch of algorithms that will merely encrypt the data so that end users can’t use them. Kinda feels like the Matrix where there are the system that is controlled by an elite group and a Merovingian figure who is a conduit for the information for those who want to break through to the other side.
I can see the creation of a de facto police system that will be able to automate the diminishing accesses and freedoms that people have now.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that what Mr Assange is up to is either right or wrong. There are merits to access but responsibility isn’t a default state of human beings.
But the question then is posed on the wider implications. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a few very specific points that she makes on the State Department Website
It puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems. This Administration is advancing a robust foreign policy that is focused on advancing America’s national interests and leading the world in solving the most complex challenges of our time, from fixing the global economy, to thwarting international terrorism, to stopping the spread of catastrophic weapons, to advancing human rights and universal values. In every country and in every region of the world, we are working with partners to pursue these aims.
Lives in Danger.. threatens… undermines. Robust… challenges.. fixing… thwarting… stopping… advancing.
In the statement they are all a bunch of random words. But the fact that most of them are based on direct threats it means there needs to be a security reaction. And a very direct one at that.
While some sort of regulation is long overdue, what defines the level of policing that is reasonable? At what level does information become secret? And who defines what is reasonably so? Where does the line cross between infringement and access to information? Will there need to be a declaration of all information held by people so that it can combed through before it is defined as safe for consumption?
This goes beyond the usual bungling but cuts to the heart of power bases. And given the secrets that other governments have to hide they would be in a hurry to make sure that there is indeed a policing of the Internet. That deals with jurisdiction of course but the bigger problem becomes the media as the net is seen as a form of media. Will this get them on board? Or given that they have been publishing the leaks mean organisations like The Washington Post and The New York Times resist because they might be next? Would a deal, a form of amnesty make them drop the freedom of speech banter?
But then again, this is all speculation? Or is it?