WikiLeaks & Freedom Of Information Can’t Always Be Good
The Freedom of Information Act, which became an actionable process in 1966, is designed to make public previously unreleased information that is controlled by the United States government. After 9/11 President George Busch amended the act to restrict all access of the record of former presidents while President Obama immediately rescinded that act in January of 2009.
It’s an ongoing, organic process of allowing certain information to become public because people think they have the right to know. In some cases, that’s true. In others, it can have deadly consequences and no one will really get it.
WikiLeaks is reportedly a non-profit entity that accepts submissions from anonymous sources of documentation that otherwise would not lay out in the public eye. The site claims to have generated over 1 million documents in its possession in its first year of existence.
The site has won numerous awards and has become a central point of focus on several occasions of late.
What it does is set a confusing set of mixed blessings as it makes information public, but at times, the information that goes public can have harmful, long-term affects on entities that despite their outward subjective appearances, could do more harm than good. The problem is that the public itself will probably never know what harm comes from the release of sensitive information while the general populace pats itself on the back for learning things previously unknown to the world.
Will conspiracies be revealed? Probably not, but conspiratists (< That’s not really a word, but it is now because I accidentally hit ‘Add To Dictionary.’ Eesh.) can find such even in the most honest of situations. It’s not hard either, considering how some information is handled.
Of late, WikiLeaks has been making the news and rightfully so. They’ve released statements saying how they’re surprised how much espionage is going on. (Seriously, they don’t know the half of it. Have you seen the Russian space shuttle?). They recently published what amounts to classified or sensitive cables from Hillary Clinton and so forth.
To be honest, at times it can be a great source of insightful information when WikiLeaks release such tid bits as Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email account contents, inside info on Scientology, internet censorship lists and other such turmoil that can’t seem all bad for the public to know, being these were already public entities that really only needed a bit of digging.
Yet when an individual knowingly releases what was once classified or deemed sensitive amongst the classified community is irresponsible as they aren’t sure what harm can come from the release of such information. They’re exposing countries to each others intelligence processes. And to what extent? What are they hoping to accomplish with this deed of posting this private information on WikiLeaks? (Cripes, Facebook’s Zuckerberg should work for them since he doesn’t believe in privacy… except of course, his own!)
As it stands, it seems President Obama is fairly ticked, Hillary Clinton says it is an attack on the international community and the U.S. Govt is talking to all it’s branches, making sure that policies are being reviewed, “to ensure that users do not have broader access than is necessary to do their jobs effectively.” IE: need-to-Know.
It’s Not Really WikiLeaks Fault!
Folks, policies are already in-place to prevent information from getting out of sensitive work spaces. Physical measures are already in-place. For WikiLeaks to receive information of this nature, staff from whatever source are knowingly circumventing a process that is made very clear from not only day one, but every day of their employ. These staff have to go out of their way to get information out of their offices.
If policies are followed properly, USB hubs are locked down and CD writers are disabled. Floppies removed and networks are stand-alone. (IE: not connected to the internet) No media is allowed in or out of a workspace without having to go through a review processes by a select pre-authorized few, as is made clear by present-day security standards. And it’s specific, mission-specific media that gets allowed only. Not some willy-nilly data.
What that means is someone knows they’re sneaking information out and someone should be caught and have the full extent of the law applied to them. This was intentional. So too, should be the jail term.
Last weekend when I tried to get on WikiLeaks, it was down… and the outage was taken credit for by a “hacktivist” who claims they did it for a good cause. Oi. Another wrong to make it right?
Information is gold. It can also be harmful, even if the effects are not seen on the surface. With the advent of these recent communications being made public, there will definitely be some tensions and these tensions will be underneath it all and we, the public will never see or have to deal with the aftermath of this.