How The Pentagon's Reaction To Wikileaks Is Like The RIAA's Reaction To Napster

from the and-it'll-work-just-as-well dept

Earlier, we wrote about the Pentagon's ridiculous and counterproductive attacks on Wikileaks, noting that it was the exact wrong approach to take. In writing that, I probably should have made the connection to some other, similarly short-sighted "attacks" on something one legacy group felt was a threat, but which actually was probably an opportunity -- and in attacking it, that legacy group only served to (1) draw more attention to it and (2) create even more, harder to work with, clones. I'm talking, of course, about the RIAA and its reaction to Napster.

While I didn't think of it, Raffi Khatchadourian did, and wrote a brilliant blog post for the New Yorker making the comparison (that's why he writes for The New Yorker, and I do not). Khatchadourian is actually responding to the equally ridiculous suggestion from former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen, that the US should use the military to hunt Julian Assange down and bring him to justice and shut down Wikileaks, which Thiessen calls a "criminal syndicate" (say what?!?). Khatchadourian makes the connection:
Thiessen's argument calls to mind the music industry's effort to shut down Napster--a Web site where recorded music could be traded and downloaded without regard to copyright--in the nineteen-nineties, in that it loses sight of the broader technological and cultural revolution that the Internet has brought to the exchange of information. In 2001, after a lengthy legal battle, the Recording Industry Association of America succeeded in forcing Napster offline, only to watch Napster's services move to a number of other Web sites that were structured in a more decentralized way (pdf)--making the piracy of music even more diffuse and difficult to prosecute. Only recently has the industry grudgingly been adapting to file-sharing rather than fruitlessly seeking to eliminate it, and one can now find music executives who even speak of Napster as a lost opportunity for their industry.

Shutting WikiLeaks down--assuming that this is even possible--would only lead to copycat sites devised by innovators who would make their services even more difficult to curtail. A better approach for the Defense Department might be to consider WikiLeaks a competitor rather than a threat, and to recognize that the spirit of transparency that motivates Assange and his volunteers is shared by a far wider community of people who use the Internet.
Indeed. This is the same thing we've pointed out that the RIAA did with Napster -- losing a huge opportunity and instead driving such efforts totally underground. We've also chided the RIAA and others in the past for not recognizing that file sharing was "competition," and responding appropriately -- and it's a good point with Wikileaks and the Pentagon, even if it might not seem obvious at first. Khatchadourian points out that the analogy works when you realize that the "equivalent" to Wikileaks for the Pentagon is the Freedom of Information Act and the Mandatory Declassification Review -- but both are "slow and inconsistent." Wikileaks, on the other hand is much more efficient (just like Napster vs. the RIAA). He then notes how much of the attention Wikileaks has garnered could have been avoided if the Pentagon had actually embraced transparency and more efficiency:
It's worth recalling the first WikiLeaks project to garner major international attention: a video, shot from an Apache helicopter in 2007, in Iraq, that documented American soldiers killing up to eighteen people. For years, Reuters sought to obtain that video through FOIA because two of its staff members were among the victims. Had the military released this footage to the wire service, and made whatever minor redactions were necessary to protect its operations, there would never have been a film titled "Collateral Murder"--the name of WikiLeaks's package for the video--because there would have been nothing to leak. Even after Assange had published the footage, and even though the events documented in it had been previously revealed in detail by a Washington Post reporter, the military (at least, as of July) has still not officially released it.
In other words, the way to deal with such a competitor is to out innovate them. That certainly sounds familiar.

There's a reason Wikileaks exists, and it's not because it's a criminal syndicate, but because the folks behind it believe that there are serious problems in the way certain types of secrets are used to abuse power. So it represents a more efficient (if blunt) way of solving that. The same is true of the RIAA and Napster (and its descendants). The folks behind file sharing programs felt there were serious problems and inefficiencies with how industry gatekeepers used their gatekeeper role for abuse, rather than in the best interests of the market.

It won't happen (it never does), but Khatchadourian is spot on in noting that the Pentagon really should be recognizing that it's traveling down the same mistaken path as the RIAA, rather than just copying the same types of moves.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 10:03am

    Putting aside the matter of a DOD spokesman not fully comprehending the fact that once something is on the internet it stays on the internet, I have to wonder what utopian world the author and the Wikileaks founder live in when it comes to military matters.

    While it is a fact that many in the military subscribe to the notion "when it doubt classify it", there nevertheless is a wealth of national security information that is properly classified...and with good reason other than trying to hide things from the general public.

    Frankly, it is my expectation that the enlisted man who leaked the information will find residence in Leavenworth, and that those at Wikileaks who participated in releasing the information en masse likewise will be called upon to answer before an appropriate tribunal.

     

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    Dan (profile), Aug 6th, 2010 @ 10:07am

    The American people

    are the only ones our government tries to keep 'secrets' from. I wonder why?

    "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

     

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    John, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 10:12am

    Streisand Effect?

    It actually seems to me like a textbook case of the Streisand Effect:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

    I'm surprised that more sources covering this haven't said so.

     

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    Ryan, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 10:13am

    Misidentified Motives

    The analogy seems pretty apt to me, but I'm sort of curious about your analysis of their relationship as "competitors":

    We've also chided the RIAA and others in the past for not recognizing that file sharing was "competition," and responding appropriately -- and it's a good point with Wikileaks and the Pentagon, even if it might not seem obvious at first. Khatchadourian points out that the analogy works when you realize that the "equivalent" to Wikileaks for the Pentagon is the Freedom of Information Act and the Mandatory Declassification Review -- but both are "slow and inconsistent." Wikileaks, on the other hand is much more efficient (just like Napster vs. the RIAA).

    You talk as though the Pentagon actually wants transparency and efficiency. If you really believe that, I have some land I would like to sell you. The Pentagon, like any other government bureaucracy, is first and foremost concerned with avoiding accountability as much as possible. They don't want to declassify anything if they can avoid suspicion (if you look, 95% of what Wikileaks released is pretty banal or to be expected and had no business being classified in the first place), they don't want to release anything in FOIA requests, and they sure as hell don't want an efficient public analyst-cum-distributor of that info that they can't cozy up to a la mainstream media.

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Aug 6th, 2010 @ 10:14am

    The Obvious

    The internet represents a real possibility of true democracy for the entire planet--and obviously this scares the bejesus out of the powers that be.

    Heck, nothing scarier than THE PEOPLE being the ones in control of their own destiny. Nothing but trouble there.

    ; P

     

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    John, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 10:15am

    Re: Streisand Effect?

    Oops, I just noticed Mike was credited as the one to originally coin that! Lol.

     

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    kameraadpjotr (profile), Aug 6th, 2010 @ 10:16am

    Re:

    Perhaps the government should remember one of their most-used quotes when it comes to invasions of privacy. "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."

    And it is indeed true, onfortunately, that the 'leaker' will be arrested; but the Wikileaks people probably not. Not all of them are citizens of the U.S., and while the U.S. has seen no problem in abducting citizens of other countries to "try" them, these are not Muslim "terrorists", so there will be internation outcry and such. The fact that Wikileaks is in the center of the attention will probably protect them.

     

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    Woadan, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 10:24am

    Wikileaks

    There are already stories out there about some of the translators who were identified in the docs on wikileaks, and how nobody knows for sure whether they live a d just went to ground, or were killed.

    I will grant that their mission was a dangerous one, and that they knew it when they accepted it.

    Wikilleaks, and its officers and staff did nothing to protect their identities, and therefore bear full responsibility for their fates. If it turns out they were killed, then I would fully support a murder charge against Mr. Assange and company.

    The right of the innocent, such as the translators, is far superior and supreme to wikileaks', or its officers', right to reveal "secrets".

    If Mr. Assange's life were at stake, he would feel no different.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 10:27am

    Someone will assassinate the Wikileaks founder.

    But that probably will not stop other thousand copycats from doing the same thing.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 6th, 2010 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re:

    As someone elsewhere (Metafilter?) said, Assange is a honeypot.

    He's odd-looking, has a gray background, and stands in front when Wikilieaks is concerned. But there are hundreds (at least) people who are every bit as important to all this. Assange is the distraction. It's Magic 101 stuff. The fact that this theater is playing out (return my emails? WTF?) is the really bizarre part. I'd have hoped that my tax dollars were supporting smarter players.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    Re: Wikileaks

    But have you checked to see if you could find the names of the people in there?

    Sure that is a bad thing if it happened and I'm sure they will try and correct that in the future.

    Still on the other charge that enemies could find out about how the U.S. operate that is rather shallow accusation as the enemy already employ spies and have surveillance capabilities and understand how the U.S. operates, that is why the U.S. don't kill more of them already.

    Wikileaks is something to treasure for now, until they do something really stupid or turn to the other side of the force.

     

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    SetecAstronomy (profile), Aug 6th, 2010 @ 10:44am

    Re: The Obvious

    In a way that's true: there's very little scarier than a true democracy. Your average citizen isn't exactly a paragon of learning, morality, and ethical behavior. Government is often the brake against runaway self interest.

    It's why this country has NEVER had a democracy on a national level. It's why the states initially had the power to select thier own senators, and the electoral college still exists: the unwashed masses as a group are stupid, greedy, self absorbed and reactionary.

    As for the internet being a 'true democracy'... well, it does provide a 'voice' for anyone that wants one. But it also can make it look like a handful of voices are actually thousands. Like a democracy, it tends to push demagogues to the forefront of the conversation (because reasoned argument is BORING for an audience which is largely looking to be entertained).

    So, in short, while I'm not one of the 'powers that be'... a 'true democracy' scares the bejesus outta me too.

    With that said, I'm for Assange. Secrets have a power of thier own, and the belief you can act in secret tends to corrupt those who operate in that space. Does it concern me individuals may be endangered by the release of this information? Yes (although, probably not as much as a number of 'secret' informants). But in all honesty, I strongly doubt this is an issue of 'national security', but more one of 'national credibility'.

    State department cables have a tendency to discuss our allies as well as our enemies, and often, the conversations can sound pretty similar... including intelligence on and analysis of thier capabilities. Not to mention, diplomats lie. Embarrassing, and sometimes tough to recover a workable relationship.

    'Course, wouldn't be an issue if they operated with integrity at all times. Which is why I'm a fan of Wikileaks. If lack of integrity were an aberration we wouldn't need technological shield services. But it isn't, and we do.

     

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    SetecAstronomy, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 10:47am

    Re: Wikileaks

    Links, or it didn't happen.

     

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    VancouverDave, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 10:48am

    Re: kameraadpjotr

    Do you think that an organization whose purpose is to send thousands of hired killers to invade foreign countries will worry about interational outcry?

    Or even bother with capture and trial, when simply eliminating them is so much easier?

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 10:53am

    Another leap down the rabbit hole.

    Pointless diversion serves as Orwell's "memory hole".

    Let me refresh memories. In 2001, someone crashed planes into towers in NY; they were largely identified as Saudis, as I recall. So Bush invaded Afghanistan, with a plan that just happened to be on the shelf. Since then, *not* *one* person actually tied to those terrorist attacks has been found for all the billions of dollars and lives ended or ruined. NOT ONE. None of the reasons for invasion and occupation have been in the *least* verified or justified.

    That's not just murder, it's MASS MURDER, and WAR CRIMES, starting from the invasion. Besides that, our once fairly free country has been put on a continual war basis to seize foreign empire, and precious rights have been stripped from even citizens on the pretext of "existential" crisis.

    And Wikileaks is used by rabid corporatists in Congress calling for journalists to be licensed, and a ninny here blathers about "rights" of translators while ignoring the right of Afghans not to be murdered by foreigners.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 11:13am

    "In other words, the way to deal with such a competitor is to out innovate them. That certainly sounds familiar. "

    I think there is a major difference here between the RIAA and the government. The RIAA et al are, and should be, profit motivated while the government is and should not be. The governments job isn't to out compete its competitors that leak information for profits or something, it's to protect the American people and serve the public good.

    So the relevant question is not can we out compete our news media competitors; it's are the American people better off if this information is released.

    Now, having said that, I do agree that what was leaked should have been public to begin with and that the govt practically turns everything into a top secret operation even if it involves the mail man/woman delivering mail and the top secret route that s/he takes. and I do agree that the reasons for keeping this information secret are nefarious and intentionally designed to hide from the American people the fact that our military does cause harm to foreign citizens.

     

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    Aj, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 11:27am

    Re:

    "Frankly, it is my expectation that the enlisted man who leaked the information will find residence in Leavenworth, and that those at Wikileaks who participated in releasing the information en masse likewise will be called upon to answer before an appropriate tribunal."

    This country was founded by traitors to the Crown, I wonder how many Britians thought the same thing about them...

     

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    Chris Mikaitis (profile), Aug 6th, 2010 @ 11:34am

    Seriously?

    ok, I'm probably missing something.... Wikileaks is not a military power that acquired this information during a raid. It's also not a political entity (though it certainly uses information to support certain political views). It's simply a place for people to pass on information.

    Somebody 'voluntarily' gave them this information. The argument seems now to be a) what should they do with it and b) what are the ramifications of a).

    I personally think the pro-confidential people don't have a leg to stand on. If Wikileaks has it, it could just as easily have been sent to others. There is no reason to assume that they are the only ones to receive these documents. so for a) they chose to release the information publicly. The complaint is that for b) it has endangered lives. I'm not sure about that. Since there is no reason to assume this information is private, the next step should be public. I think it would be much worse for those that could be affected by the dissemination of this information to be unaware that it was leaked.

    I guess my bottom line (rambling as it is) is that if I were one of the people who felt threatened because this information was leaked, I would much prefer to know that others know than to mistakenly think I am safe.

    Does that make sense?

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re:

    The US has a mutual defense treaty with Australia, and members of the Australian military are also serving in Afghanistan. (I mention Australia because it is my understanding that the founder of Wikileaks is Australian.)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 11:56am

    Re:

    there nevertheless is a wealth of national security information that is properly classified...and with good reason other than trying to hide things from the general public.

    Who said otherwise? And that still doesn't excuse using secrecy to hide wrongdoing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Re: The Obvious

    So, in short, while I'm not one of the 'powers that be'... a 'true democracy' scares the bejesus outta me too.

    A dictatorship is best, as long as I'm the dictator.

     

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    Mr. Crankypants, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

    Encryption?

    I keep reading about this, and I'm pretty sure I'm paying attention, but I guess I haven't found one detail that I seem to keep missing...

    Why wasn't this information encrypted?

    I haven't even seen this suggested in any media articles yet. If this information was so damned secret, why was it ever available in plain text?

    Attention United States Military: I can teach you how to keep emails private and completely out of reach of Wikileaks or anyone else except for the intended user! This advanced encryption standard is so secure (it was developed for the United States Government), I can give you the source code for the program, and even then nobody will be able to crack it! Some people don't even imagine that this is possible! So drive over a dump truck full o' money, 'cause if you're too goofy to implement basic data security, oh boy am I gonna rip you off.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Wikileaks

    There are already stories out there about some of the translators who were identified in the docs on wikileaks, and how nobody knows for sure whether they live a d just went to ground, or were killed.

    There are stories out there about an intergalactic warlord named Zenu and body thetans and stuff like that too, and I can provide LINKS for those. Still, I don't believe them. If anything, I wouldn't be surprised if the military didn't assassinate some of it's own informers now in an attempt to blame wikileaks.

    Wikilleaks, and its officers and staff did nothing to protect their identities...

    Not true. They went through deleting names.

    I would fully support a murder charge against Mr. Assange and company.

    What those who actually kill innocent children and adults? Or do you just want to punish those who tell about it?

    The right of the innocent, such as the translators, is far superior and supreme to wikileaks', or its officers', right to reveal "secrets".

    Oh, I see, you only care about the innocent who were "helping", huh?

    If Mr. Assange's life were at stake, he would feel no different.

    It is. That's why he stays on the move and sleeps a different place every night. It can't be much fun having your name on one of those Special Forces' assassination hit lists.

     

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    brian (profile), Aug 6th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Misidentified Motives

    I clicked on comments hoping that someone echoed my thoughts on this article. Kudos ... You stated what I was thinking much more eloquently than I could have!

     

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    Jay (profile), Aug 6th, 2010 @ 12:33pm

    This story just got better

    American troops banned from looking at Wikileaks

    I know it's a kneejerk reaction but EVERYONE can see wikileaks. You would think we want our own guys to see what the heck is going on instead of being in the dark?

    Not so, says the Pentagon.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 6th, 2010 @ 12:45pm

    Re: The American people

    "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

    Yeah I know its not your quote but I had to respond. I think very slowly they are beginning to wake up and realize this.

     

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    Jay (profile), Aug 6th, 2010 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Encryption?

    In a nutshell, a person with high security clearance downloaded the info and gave it to Wikileaks. Yes, it's encrypted but that doesn't change the fact that someone accessed the info and put it out for the world to see.

     

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    Mr. Crankypants, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re: The Obvious

    "the unwashed masses as a group are stupid, greedy, self absorbed and reactionary"

    Hey, if you want to live in a 'red' state, that's your problem.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 6th, 2010 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Encryption?

    "If this information was so damned secret, why was it ever available in plain text?"

    You are so silly. Eventually, in order to be useful, any encrypted message needs to be unencrypted to be read.

    "This advanced encryption standard is so secure (it was developed for the United States Government), I can give you the source code for the program, and even then nobody will be able to crack it!"

    No amount of encryption will help in a case like this. Where an end user takes the data. FOX or CNN mentioned that a CD labeled as music was used. In the 30's - 60's it was little pen and lighter cameras. In the 70's till the mid 80's the photo copier. Now its the flash drive or in this case a CD rom drive. The technology changes the action of people don't.

     

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    Mr. Crankypants, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Re: Encryption?

    Don't assume for five-eighths of a microsecond that asymmetric encryption is difficult as compared to this information breach and public relations nightmare. I am NOT talking about one superuser password that encrypts their whole blasted e-mail system, but a miscreant policy that allowed this to happen would seem to be caused by someone thinking in that way.

    No one person (including a system administrator) should be able to read a military email that isn't specifically addressed to him. Period. It isn't that hard, and it's not even hard to implement, unless you have to figure out how to charge 1000X more for it than it should cost, and give a no-bid contract to your brother-in-law.

     

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    Mr. Crankypants, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Re: Encryption?

    I'm terribly sorry sir, but I really don't think you understand.

     

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    CommonSense (profile), Aug 6th, 2010 @ 1:16pm

    Re:

    The competition here isn't about making money. It's about giving the public what they want, which is information in this case. They are competing, not for a dollar, but for the attention of people all over the world.

     

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    CommonSense (profile), Aug 6th, 2010 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Encryption?

    And what about when someone with morals IS the intended recipient of materials such as this, and they SHOULD be able to read the military email, and they still print it out or what have you and leak it??

    There's no silver bullet for this, except better transparency from the very beginning.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Re:

    "It's about giving the public what they want"

    The problem is that, when it comes to information that could pose a threat to national security if released (too early), it's hard to give it to everyone in the public who's not a terrorist without giving it to terrorists as well.

    So this isn't really about competing (as in the govt needs to release it before it leaks) so much as it's about serving the public interests by making sure that information that can be used by terrorists isn't released and that the information that should be released to the public is indeed released (and that the govt doesn't censor information for the sake of reducing criticism which is why they censor most of what they censor).

    The information that should be released (or leaked) shouldn't be released (or leaked) for the purpose of giving the public what they want to "compete" with those who would otherwise leak it, the purpose of releasing that information should be to serve the public good because the public is better off knowing what their tax dollars are being spent on than not knowing.

    The RIAA's purpose of giving the public what they want is competitive in nature, the governments purpose is not. See the difference.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 6th, 2010 @ 1:45pm

    This worries me

    " is spot on in noting that the Pentagon really should be recognizing that it's traveling down the same mistaken path as the RIAA, rather than just copying the same types of moves."

    This is a repost from

    The problem with that is the sheer number of mirrors and backup copies of wikileaks. To kill wikileaks would be to cause dozens of similar sites to emerge. We have seen the same thing happen in the file sharing arena. If you mix dozens of sites, with replication of released documents, you have an ever expanding problem. Wikileaks is at least attempting to prevent harm to people on the ground. With the removal of wikileaks you have the potential, for dozens or hundreds of sites doing the same thing. Some of them will not care about doing harm and will release anything.

    Since people never seem to learn from history, and the internet and nature abhor a vacuum, expect this to get very interesting.

    Whack -a- Mole anyone?

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 6th, 2010 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Encryption?

    "but I really don't think you understand."

    Yes I do, you are hoping for a big fat government contract. ;)

     

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    Niall (profile), Aug 7th, 2010 @ 3:51am

    Re: Re: Re: The Obvious

    I think you'll find the same attitude in right-wing states as well. Just ask your average republitard what he thinks of the average poor Joe.

     

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    GA (profile), Aug 7th, 2010 @ 10:50am

    ???

    Exactly how in heck is file sharing "competition?" They did not pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars it took to create a music product or the millions it took to make a movie. When the tech industry actually starts creating something, then they get to sell it. Strange how thus far not one tech company has given anything back to industries whose products they want to sell. They do not invest in bands or movies. The problem right now is their arrogance just as much as the unwillingness of the industries themselves to change.

     

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    Sam I Am, Aug 7th, 2010 @ 1:37pm

    after-the-fact

    “We've also chided the RIAA and others in the past for not recognizing that file sharing was "competition"......

    Mike, when both you and I separately search and discover nascent bands and sign them and invest our time and money into them and develop them to a point where they can make a good recording, and then we market them and go head to head on the charts and in the offline and online shops, THAT’s competition. When you make all those investments of time and money and I wait for your release and then unlawfully copy your recording and distribute it all for free, that’s a civil offense, not competition.

    And were you paying attention in the late 90‘s when Napster launched and people discovered music they could copy for free on the internet?
    Did you actually look into it and talk to them at the time? And ask why? I did.

    I spoke with hundreds about what the hell was going on then and every single one---every one-- said “FREE!! It costs in the stores but on the internet you can get it for FREE!!!” Not once did anyone actually say or even refer to “ serious problems and inefficiencies with how industry gatekeepers used their gatekeeper role for abuse, rather than in the best interests of the market.”

    That load of BS came into the discussion much later as pirates finally began searching for high-handed, after-the-fact justification. And I think you know it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Matt Bennett, Aug 8th, 2010 @ 10:55am

    OMG, comparing this to Napster is ridiculous. Revealing this data served no public interest. It didn't bring about any great new knowledge to the public or reveal any cover ups. It exposes largely routine business of fighting a war........and that info is kept secret for a reason. Sure, some of it maybe didn't need to be secret, but much of it did, and just about any wartime operations info like this is sensitive.

    Most particularly, many of these documents make it easy to understand which afghan civilians were aiding the US.....which puts those peoples lives in immediate danger. This wikileaks ponce has absolutely straight up killed people now, probably several dozen afghans at least.

    If he were a US citizen, revealing information would be treason, without question. People have been shot for less, and with good reason. This leak has jeopardized the lives of US soldiers, and even more so will cause afghan deaths. Worst of all, it didn't serve any journalistic purpose, either.

    Don't compare it to fucking Napster. Gimme a break.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    S, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:47am

    I support transparency at all levels in Governments.

    But we do not have enough information about the 4-5 key players at Wikileaks to see how much of their motivation is anti America or settling political scores. And they are using an idealistic movement to achieve their goals.

    Wikileaks claims to have a core team of 40 and hundreds of volunteers. So, why no other article has been uploaded for the last many months except for anti American military articles.

    What if it turns out that Wikileaks, while fighting for transparency, was diverting donations to a select few. Or killed news about newspapers and organizations it had partnered with. If you read Assange's emails (published by Cryptome) leading up to the setting up of Wikileaks, it is clear that he had a basic existence. Till today, no one is sure how many of the donations he uses on himself. It is just a question of time before donors raise this issue.

    If Wikilekas was indeed transparent, it would give 3 monthly reports on how many stories it got and how many were uploaded. And which stories were killed.

    It would also explain in detail why it left out the names of Afghani's helping NATO?

    Under the garb of secrecy while campaigning for transparency, Wikileaks has got away with a lot.

    It is a good idea. But taken over by some people, who ironically are not accountable to anyone.

    Allegedly Manning leaked them the information. You just have to read 5 articles to see how much credit has been grabbed by Wikileaks and how much has been shared with the whistleblower. At some press conferences, it would seem that Wikileaks single handedly got the Afghan documents.

    Keep an watch on the Govt and military. Also, keep Assange accountable.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    Wesley Parish (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 4:00am

    Re: after-the-fact

    Just a reality check there, old chum.

    Who says the record labels did anything beyond recognizing talent? I happen to know that people develop talent all by themselves.

    The point is that talent exists all along the chain, from the musicians to the recording studios to the record label staff to the record label executives. But I don't want to talk about record labels' executives' "talent" - find yourselves a group of orcs to study and you'll understand.

    Before record labels existed, people still made music. They'll still make music after the record labels have exited the scene.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 6:15am

    Mike -
    You're talking about the government as if it were to run itself like a corporation - innovate, adapt, compete. The problem with reality is that it stopped doing this 100 years ago. It doesn't worry about making profits, it makes its own rules, and politicians are only concerned at any time with the next 2-4 years.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Kevin Carson, Aug 18th, 2010 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Wikileaks

    ...Right after the people in the military or CIA who killed them are tried for murder.

    That's the most absurd thing about all this: the fundamental asymmetry. If Assange & Co. are culpable for putting American lives at risk, shouldn't Bush and Obama & Co. be -- a fortiori -- far MORE culpable for American deaths, for making the decision to put Americans in harms way in the first place?

    We need to start judging states by re same standards re murder and robbery that we use to judge actual, mortal human beings.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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