In 1971, when Pentagon employee Daniel Ellsberg leaked classified documents to The New York Times detailing US aggression during the Vietnam War, he had to find a way to quietly photocopy thousands of pages. Today, he could just put everything up on a wiki. A new site called Wikileaks is offering a way for dissident government employees working under oppressive regimes to anonymously leak information on their government's behavior. The site, which is backed by proponents of ethical leaking, is chiefly targeting countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Obviously, the idea of ethical leaking is open to debate, and some might argue that one individual should never get to decide what should and shouldn't be a state secret. But like many other new ethical debates that deal with modern technology, the discussion may already be irrelevant. The means to leak and spread secrets is here; the only question is how governments deal with it. While stiff penalties for transgressors is always an option, it would be a lot easier if governments were to preempt the leaks and adopt a more transparent stance with respect to government functions. Of course, this is, presumably, exactly what the leakers want to see happen.
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