Monday, November 22, 2010


I am slightly torn about wikileaks. On the one hand, I strongly believe that information should be free and available to the public. However, a part of me believes we should not reveal classified information if it risks causing harm to informants and/or supporters. I am not sure how, or even if we should, weigh the benefit of free access to information against the possible harm done to others; I think ultimately, the public should know what the government is doing, especially militarily, but I do not think information that could identify and compromise informants or supporters should be revealed to the public until the situation has become such that revealing any identities of those involved is no longer a danger.

I was also a little surprised at the usability of the wikileaks website. I don't know why, but I was also envisioning long written out reports rather than short little snippets. The subject terms were in plain, understandable language, but there were both terms in all caps and no caps and some terms repeated. Additionally, I got sort of lost in all the abbreviations. The addition of the map feature was definitely cool and really made the events told in the logs more tangible. I think it is hard to really digest and comprehend what is going on in the middle east because it is so removed from our lives; it is physically distant and although we talk about events in the middle east we are not first hand seeing the action. Therefore, I think the maps help create a stronger connection between what is happening in the middle east and our lives here.

As others said, I think Mills would support the sharing of information since he argues for listening to both sides. I think the release of information and documents, like on wikileaks, can lead to further discussions about topics from multiple views and allows people to make more informed decisions about what they believe, develop well supported arguments for their beliefs, and have a better understanding of the opposing view.

And now a brief aside, relating back to copyright. Last week in my copyright class, my professor mentioned a statement from the UK that the UK copyright law needed to be reformed to include provisions similar to the US's fair use doctrine in order to attract technology companies to the UK. I think that is an interesting proposition, but, as my professor mentioned, hopefully the UK will be able to find a way around the problems with the fair use doctrine in the US; for example, avoiding a doctrine that involves so much judicial discretion in balancing the four factors that no one can guess whether fair use will be found.

1 comment:

  1. Joanna - thanks for your post. Joanna raises some interesting nuances in her post that we can all consider. How is your opinion changed when you account for the fact that, according to Assange and WikiLeaks, they did everything possible to review and redact information that could cause harm to individual people? It seems that the issue of judging harm has come down to a debate between those who wish to see this information unleashed and those (e.g., the military) who would wish for it to never be released. Does it matter that WikiLeaks attempted to exercise due diligence around this issue? Or does that fact seem to not do enough? Also, do you feel a conflict at all between your personal opinion or gut feeling versus what you might feel you must do as an information provider?