Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm Ambivalent about Government's Privacy but Individual's Privacy is Another Matter

I was just reading this NY Times article on the most recent information from Wikileaks.  I'm fairly ambivalent about the privacy of the government, while I can't imagine this level of transparency is likely the ideal for diplomacy to fulfill its needed functions I can imagine a version of diplomacy where no privacy is assumed that works well enough, though I'd rather have traditional diplomacy over this nonsense.

What's going too far though is summed up in this line from the article:

Many more cables name diplomats’ confidential sources, from foreign legislators and military officers to human rights activists and journalists, often with a warning to Washington: “Please protect” or “Strictly protect.”

Having information to be revealed depends on having individuals willing to speak their minds.  The long run trajectory for Wikileaks actions isn't a more open government.  Rather it's a world where no one in any official capacity can ever speak their mind or take the risk of being open about anything.  Rather, the threat of being exposed will insure that anyone acting in any official capacity will never say anything aside from the tired lines of bullshit that have been pre-approved up and down the lines of command.  This is a world where no information exists that cannot be safely relayed in a press release and where people only speak their own thoughts with those in their same agency and never risk anyone outside hearing anything.  The world of Wikileaks isn't a more open world, it's a black box.

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