Tuesday 14 December 2010

Wiki leaks

Wiki Leaks.... Must have been maintained by British Waterways

Right, now that I have got that out of the way.

I have been thinking.... The Internet is undoubtedly a good way of keeping in contact with friends and good for sharing information. This started me thinking about what the Internet has to offer. Is the general free for all the best way of harnessing the power of the Internet. Also, is power the right word - maybe.. we will see. Anyway I digress. 

So are Wiki Leaks disclosures in the public interest.

Points to consider.

  • Everyone has a dark secret that they don't want to share with anyone else. Now, should that secret fall into someone else's hands, should they have the right to make such disclosures public knowledge.
  • Governments are elected and funded by the people they serve. Do the people have a right to access such privileged information. Should the MP's expenses have been published for instance.
  • Then there is the official secrets act. Whilst it is an old chestnut, the comment that an employee could be breaking the terms of the act by disclosing how many paper clip they have on their desk. Are the secrecy rules far to stringent.
  • Freedom of information act. In some cases we have the FoI route to request information, however it has some serious limitations on its effectiveness.
  • If open government was a fact of life then sites like wiki leaks would not exist.
  • Data protection act. As it says on the tin but who is protected.
  • Human rights. Just Wiki "Extraordinary rendition". You can't break the law to uphold the law.
  • Equality. Some are more equal than others.

Politicians by the very nature of the role are inherently corrupt. The expenses scandal, flipping of second homes, Tony Blair and George Bush jr took us to a war on a lie. Yes there is a need for journalism whether in print or in electronic form to act as the safety belt and braces that protect the public interest. More than anything else it will go some way to keeping our politicians honest.


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