They say money is root of all evil, and if that’s true that explains the falling out between WikiLeaks and the hactivist group Anonymous.
According to this report from InfoWorld U.S., Anonymous has bitterly protested a decision by WikiLeaks to start charging people who want to view the thousands of pages of documents in its databases. “This is filthy and rotten, wholly un-ethical action,” the A-team says “– and Anonymous is enraged.”
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It’s hard to take this seriously. Anonymous is the group that threatened to release personal information on Sony executives because it didn’t like the company’s supprt of the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act. There’s an admirable act of rebellion.
Meanwhile, take a look at this N.Y. TImes book review on the history of WikiLeaks. People don’t think about it, but WikiLeaks is not merely a fountain of purloined government information. It is also a carefully-thought out process for anonymously submitting documents. But, as the review points out, anonymity is a two-edged sword: Why trust a group you know nothing about? It could be a police trap. So an essential element of a platform with the goal of leaking what it says are important documents is trust.
Ironically, the review suggests, while technology has created excellent platforms for anonymously leaking documents, it is also increasingly helping institutions crack down on data seeping out from their infrastructure (notwithstanding the recent actions of a certain Canadian navy officer).
It begs the question of whether this is the “golden age” of leaking — and it is about to disappear?