Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wikileaks' Spy Files

Thanks to Yves Smith for talking about this in her latest Links post.

Guardian story

Wikileaks releases the Spy Files

I wonder if one of the rebuttals against Wikileaks is that the release is mostly just a bunch of public brochures.

I'm glad to see them target complicit corporations in addition to governments.

This is the comment that I wrote on Naked Capitalism:

Thanks for the link to the wikileaks Spy Files and Guardian story! Silicon Valley needs to be muckraked. I sometimes see this contrast being set up where people are disgusted with the ephemeral nature of the FIRE sector, and their example of what to contrast that with is the good old, solid American know-how in northern California. That’s great, but it should be put through an ethical lens as well. We need technologist-muckrakers who do for the west coast what Yves does for the east.

Since something like this is often too big to wrap our heads around, I think a way to get concrete is to concentrate on false positives hurt or killed in the course of accomplishing what they’re trying to accomplish with surveillance. The false positives have to be documented methodically. Maybe this approach is a remedy for human susceptibility to go whole hog towards paranoia and be easily dismissed and ridiculed. No. Specificity and citations are really important. If there’s someone being hurt by this, let’s write it up dispassionately, and you can sway more people that the costs might outweigh the benefits.

Also, I see a lot of counterarguments (say in the blog comments on stories like this, maybe not on NC but in a more centrist environment) where someone will come back and say “so what? Privacy is over – so what is the point of wringing your hands about it today if you weren’t wringing your hands about it yesterday?” This throws the baby out with the bathwater. False positives are being hurt on an ongoing basis, even in the case of JSOC targeted killings (my post on Dana Priest/Thom Hartmann.. (the original youtube would have worked too) ), and the false positive deaths that haven’t happened yet can be prevented.

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