Now consider what the US State Department told (as TechCrunch reports) Julian Assange, who heads Wikileaks, back on November 28:
If you are genuinely interested in seeking to stop the damage from your actions, you should: 1) ensure WikiLeaks ceases publishing any and all such materials; 2) ensure WikiLeaks returns any and all classified U.S. Government material in its possession; and 3) remove and destroy all records of this material from WikiLeaks’ databases.
There are some things about Wikileaks that makes me happy (like more transparency) and some that give me concerns (like Assange’s insurance file that kind of feels like a blackmail attempt). But the State Department response is embarrassing. Return all the material? Remove and destroy all records?
This isn’t 1950. This is 2010. Once those records were put out onto the internet, they were gone. You can’t block them. You can’t pull them back. Shutting down Wikileaks won’t stop all the mirror sites that are out there, much less all the torrent files that are out there. There’s no going back from this.
That also means all this talk about blocking is somewhat wasted effort. It might make some anti-Wikileaks politicians feel good, as they spout their computer illiterate cures to an computer illiterate audience. It might also make Assange feel good, because when Amazon pulls support for his site, he’s able to further his aims of publicity (exactly as he intended, as you can read in this Guardian interview) even though having this information off Amazon isn’t stopping it from getting out at all.
In fact, a far bigger barrier than Amazon remains Wikileaks itself. By failing to expand these documents, and host them on its own web site, it makes them largely inaccessible to most people who have never used a torrent file, much less an 7z expansion program. If you want information to be free, you set it free in a widely used format. On the web, that means a web site with browsable web pages.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.