Monday, December 13, 2010

Wikileaks and Hacktivists

I work as a private security officer, so I understand the importance of secrecy. I have signed a confidentiality agreement, and I will not breach that agreement on this blog or any other website. Military personnel and civilians who hold security clearances have an obligation to protect secrets as well.

If a soldier releases a classified secret to a journalist, then that soldier should be disciplined. But secrets are like intestinal gas: once passed along, everyone knows about it and it cannot be taken back. Sometimes you don't even know who spilled the beans or cut the cheese. Once it's out, everyone is free to talk about it.

Journalists should be allowed to publish these former secrets because the damage is either already done or is inevitable. If Julian Assange knows something, Osama bin Laden probably knows it too. What I find bizarre is all this emphasis on one website. Aren't there plenty of other conspiracy theory websites? Why is Wikileaks taken anymore seriously than any other forum filled with anonymous trolls?

What is really making me mad are the "hacktivists". These politically motivated hackers are no better and no worse than common vandals. They should be denounced for their methods rather than be admired for their cause. In my opinion, those people are the ones who really do belong in prison.

2 comments:

Daddy said...

You seem to imply that one get a better security with higher secrecy. A popular myth conveniently used by various bureaucracies around the world for their own benefits. In reality the
the relationship is exactly the opposite, as discovered by French mathematician with German sounding Russian last name back in 1883:

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Kerckhoffs%27_principle

More secrecy results in less security. That's why you have only one pin code in your bank and one key from your home, not twenty.

The reason things got leaked are exactly due to that principle: security through obscurity is no security at all: as more people know - more chances it got leaked.
Have no doubt that those competent investigators are aware of it.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely agree with you Robert on one major point. The release of classified information is a criminal act. Hacking into classified systems to steal information is a criminal act. Publishing information received through "sources" is not a criminal act. New York Times v. Pentagon Papers established that principal clearly. For the U.S. to act and think otherwise on this matter is a clear violation of the First Amendment Freedom of the Press. To categorize those rights by country of origin is a clearly disingenous smokescreen.