Sunday, 5 December 2010


I am not going to comment on the morality of wikileaks actions or on the correctness or otherwise of the withdrawal of wikileaks' hosting services, paypal account or otherwise. We're all adults and we can make up our own minds

What I am going to say is that governments, good or bad have, until now, maintained themselves in part by controlling access to information and dissembling when advantageous. Some more than others, and of course not all governments are bad, in the same way that not all people are bad.

But governments do lie to their people.

To quote one of my great-uncles on why, as an 18 year old, he volunteered for the Luftwaffe on the Eastern Front in the Second World War: 'They told us we were winning'.

(For his pains he ended up being captured during the retreat from Stalingrad and spent the rest of the war in a labour camp in Siberia before being sent home to help build socialism in the GDR.)

Wikileaks has killed secrecy. Much as in the same way privacy has diminished with the advent of social networking so has secrecy. It is simply much more difficult to keep secrets on an online connected world.

This can be both good and bad. In the same way that twitter has allowed both student protesters in the UK to organise, and Iranian protesters get the message out, the advent of these technologies changes the game, and rather than wring our hands we need to adapt and move on.

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