Having been engaged in a back-and-forth discussion in the CircleID web site about the differences between digital rights and wrongs, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is an overwhelming contingency in the world who commends the work by Wikileaks as “journalism” — complimenting them for their release of the restricted government documents.
But when Katie Couric* interviewed Julian Assange, Wikileak’s arrogant spokesperson, I was sorely disappointed in the way she seemed to pander to his agenda — leading with questions that would allow him to propagandize his beliefs. I’m wondering if CBS should just give Julian free advertising during prime time. The broadcast prompted me to ask some questions…
A couple of questions for Katie, and the world:
Having been an avid spam and cybercrime adversary for many years, I’ve come to believe certain rights and wrongs about the digital world. These beliefs lead me to think that the ends don’t always justify the means — perhaps I’m wrong.
The media seems to be telling everyone to focus exclusively on the information itself, saying that the ends do justify the means — at any expense. To me, that raises some serious questions that no one else seems to be asking.
Are you saying that we should all commend Wikileaks methods and wrong-doing for the sake of what some perceive as right?
Are you saying that “transparency” is more important than personal privacy, and the right to express an opinion or observations without fear of reprisal?
Wikileaks defenders seem to be saying that forgery, computer trespass, denial of service, burglary, betrayal of confidential information, defamation of innocent persons, holding hostage, and potential harm (including death) justifies the public distribution of information that may or may not be true — just so the public can read what some seem to believe they have a “right” to? **
Katie, are you saying you BELIEVE all of the memos… that you believe Wikileaks at face value?
You take as gospel, an entity that works hard at intentionally evading identification? You seem to trust an entity that plies their work from the off-shore shadows?
Are you saying you believe everything you read on the internet? (You haven’t said that you don’t.)
Are you saying that in the name of journalism, you advocate blindly following a renegade entity who’s only diligence in reporting has been simply posting text files to the internet? (NOT journalism, Katie!*)
If I understand you correctly — should I then believe or not believe the growing murmuring from inside the beltway that no one has actually validated the so-called “leaked” memos? That some don’t actually match their originals in the out-boxes of senders????
Do you believe it is beyond possibility that the cables could have been “doctored” … changed, edited, added to, etc., in subtle ways? Do you want us to believe they (Wikileaks) wouldn’t doctor raw ASCII text files to further their own agendas?
Do you automatically assume that those who practice criminal behavior and have clearly evidenced cybercrime technique would NOT tamper with the data? They clearly won’t stand behind the information — and, they clearly cannot authenticate what they have obtained through nefarious means.
- Have you wondered if it’s a little more than suspicious that the hard drive just sat on someone’s desk for the long period of time before the leaks began.
- Wouldn’t you (as a journalist) ask if it’s strange that Wikileaks is releasing documents in little gulps, rather than all at one time?
- Would you wonder if they are actually reading them? And if so…
- Do you wonder if the criminal mind would not exploit such opportunities to further their propaganda agenda?
- Do you actually trust these people?
More importantly, do you believe you (or anyone else) has a “right” to other people’s private, personal thoughts, ideas, observations, and feelings — no matter by what devious means the information may have been obtained — or by whom???
I just want to understand where you’re coming from.
Time Magazine says:
… could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act.
In a time when it’s becoming more and more difficult to decide who to trust, it would seem logical to err on the side of right — rather than immediately jumping on the band wagon of trendy internet sensationalism, just for the sake of being popular, or more politically correct. Which brings us to probably the most difficult question.
What means would YOU justify to get your hands on that information? Betray? Steal? Kill?
Just asking questions. Thanks for reading
** NOTE: above I cite “crimes” or misdoings all of which Wikileaks has demonstrated. The WhoIS info on Wikileaks was forged, and incorrect, and they employed the services of WhoIS masking which is a known practice of criminals involved in phishing, identity theft, malware and other cybercrime. Many of the “mirror” sites follow suit as well. DDoS*, is a known botnet and cybercrime method, and considered highly illegal by most nations in the free world. The documents were obtained by computer trespass*, (a class C felony according to title 18 of the Federal Code,) no matter what the content of the documents is. Mirroring for the purpose of evasion and protection is not in itself a crime, however holding “hostage” by means of encrypted digital time bombs is considered wrong, and could be classified as blackmail* and/or extortion*, more appropriately termed “racketeering”*. Ask yourself : Are these people you want to associate with?