“I can use Visa and Mastercard to pay for porn and support anti-abortion fanatics, Prop 8 homophobic bigots, and the Ku Klux Klan. But I can’t use them or PayPal to support Wikileaks…”
– Jeff Jarvis, academic, media guru and überblogger.
+ + +
The basic question
Jarvis links to the Economist‘s Will Wilkinson:
With or without WikiLeaks, the technology exists to allow whistleblowers to leak data and documents while maintaining anonymity. With or without WikiLeaks, the personnel, technical know-how, and ideological will exists to enable anonymous leaking and to make this information available to the public. Jailing Thomas Edison in 1890 would not have darkened the night…
The basic question is not whether we think Julian Assange is a terrorist or a hero. The basic question certainly is not whether we think exposing the chatter of the diplomatic corps helps or hinders their efforts, and whether this is a good or bad thing … If we take the inevitability of future large leaks for granted, then I think the debate must eventually centre on the things that will determine the supply of leakers and leaks.
Some of us wish to encourage in individuals the sense of justice which would embolden them to challenge the institutions that control our fate by bringing their secrets to light. Some of us wish to encourage in individuals ever greater fealty and submission to corporations and the state in order to protect the privileges and prerogatives of the powerful, lest their erosion threaten what David Brooks calls “the fragile community”—our current, comfortable dispensation.