In an earlier post on diablog, I laid out for you some details of the game "WikiLeaks vs. its opponents". Some call it infowar or cyberwar. I will keep calling it a game. Because so far I do not see casualties, in terms of people being physically hurt. If I am wrong, please, would you correct me?
This game in many ways is a stress test. It is a stress test for:
- internet companies
- individual politicians
- freedom of information
- freedom of speech
Let's look at those in detail.
The internets worked just fine. So far, all attempts to censor WikiLeaks or block them completely have failed. OK, some US bureaucrats cannot access it via office computers and the library of congress blocks it. So? They have PCs at home and worst case, can go to any internet cafe.
2. internet companies
Some big internet companies failed, like Amazon and PayPal. So much for, you are safe with them and their services. Or, put your data online and access them from everywhere. Yeah, right, as long as they want to let you.
Others like Facebook and Twitter did so so. They did not close WikiLeaks accounts. But for example, Twitter is always showing "trending topics", supposedly that is what's most written about. And none of the keywords like wikileaks, cablegate or imwikileaks ever showed up on that list, albeit there were hundreds of posts per second at times. That trending list is fiddled with, but then so are the chart lists. And some people claimed, they could not "like" (a sign of approval) WikiLeaks on Facebook. So, some sites censored wikileaks related material.
Again, a mixed experience. Some media outlets surprised positively, some played government poodle. My biggest disappointment was the formerly respected WSJ, publishing a call to have Julian Assange assassinated. But then, they were bought by that ganeff mentioned here. What did I expect?
Most governments remained calm. I am talking about individuals further below. Governments were informed by the US Government before hand, they certainly knew what was coming. No surprises there.
5. individual politicians
Of course you have nutcases in politics, who's surprised? And some of them lost it completely, like the one Canadian asking for Julian Assange to be assassinated, for Obama to put a contract on him. I guess, after Bush some people think stupidity has no limit. Or as the current youth calls it "niveau limbo", who can go lower?
6. freedom of information
Not really. Please be aware, all WikiLeaks cables published so far, through media or WikiLeaks itself, have been screened by the US government. There is not a single cable out there, the US Government has not seen before. WikiLeaks only publishes cables, that have been published by its media partners before. And those are screened, as the media partners wrote earlier themselves. That's why I wrote this piece earlier on diablog.
7. freedom of speech
That seems to work, as far as individuals are concerned. You, I, everyone can publish online. As long as you are carefully selecting your partners (no Amazon, no PayPal) you are free to write online. Go ahead and do it.
In conclusion, this is not the first such stress test. Do you remember Napster?
There, the copyright industry wanted to stop the sharing of music files online. They tried pretty much all the same stuff, that is tried against WikiLeaks today. And they failed.
Of course, they got Napster to its knees, eventually shut off and then turned into a compliant music distributor. And the same might happen to WikiLeaks.
But file sharing still exists. Other websites took over. And if WikiLeaks is shut off someday, other leaking websites are in the making.
For me, besides further revelations, only one question remains:
Who is fighting WikiLeaks?