“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Governments, Transparency and Wikileaks.

with 5 comments

Political leaders will often talk about transparency when they are in opposition, should they achieve power and become the Government then they will change.

All the talk about “open government”, power to the people and other such vacuous phrases are quietly dumped.

In the past governments could rely on subtle and not too subtle pressure to contain unwarranted attention into their activities, in Britain the D notice was often used, or just a quiet word with the editor might suffice.

However, the advent of the Internet has changed all of that, stories can be published and taken up across the world. Geographical limitations and local political pressure count for very little as the unwanted story often accelerates around the globe courtesy of the Barbra Streisand effect.

Governments have realised this, so in repressive regimes such as China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Burma and many others traffic has to go through government approved servers, content is filtered and the location of anyone publishing supposedly “subversive” material is then passed to the State authorities.

Governments until recently have not coordinated their efforts, but that seems to be changing in light of Wikileaks, according to the Daily Beast:

“The Obama administration is pressing Britain, Germany, Australia, and other allied Western governments to consider opening criminal investigations of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and to severely limit his nomadic travels across international borders, American officials say.

Officials tell The Daily Beast that the U.S. effort reflects a growing belief that WikiLeaks and organizations like it threaten grave damage to American national security, as well as a growing suspicion in Washington that Assange has damaged his own standing with foreign governments and organizations that might otherwise be sympathetic to his anti-censorship cause.”

Written by modernityblog

10/08/2010 at 23:02

5 Responses

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  1. Like the new website

    Andrew Murphy

    11/08/2010 at 03:52

  2. Yeah I fancied a change, a bit “youthful and angry” eh!!!


    11/08/2010 at 12:27

  3. […] Governments, Transparency and Wikileaks. […]

  4. […] I have argued before, national governments have made a concerted effort to restrict and control the Internet and they do […]

  5. […] is very hard in the Internet age to keep a secret, as Wikileaks have shown. Someone will normally release a document or better still an incriminating video, and […]

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