Sunday, December 12, 2010

How Do We Survive The Leak

As I watched the Personal Democracy flash conference yesterday, my concerns about the real issues involved with Wikileaks were affirmed. If possible take the time to watch the entire conference. Considering the information provided by this great panel of speakers, the 3.5 hours is a good investment or time trade. I am afraid most people do not realize the importance of this moment. This appears to be one of those moments in history when a big shift takes place, one that affects the entire world.

pdfleaks on Broadcast Live Free

Lines are being drawn very quickly and it is imperative the people make some difficult but necessary decisions concerning the future of the web. Who controls the web? Who controls all our information? And who really has jurisdiction over the world web? Where/how do the people fit in on the decision making?

I listened to Zeyner Tufekci make her presentation at the symposium, and so much of what she had to say about this mirrored what I have heard so many others say. Zeyner is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She researches social impacts of technology, web theory, inequality, and social media. Here is a quote from her blog, Technosociology:

Many commentators have noted that the confidential U.S. embassy cables published by Wikileaks contain nothing that would surprise an “informed observer.” I agree and have said so as much myself. However, I think this actually is the real scandal exposed by Wikileaks: there is a fairly large circle of “insiders,” which include much of punditry and journalists, who have a fairly accurate picture of most issues, who nonetheless cooperate with, and in fact, make possible, the efforts of modern states to portray themselves as making decisions dictated by pure motives and high-minded principles rather than by power and interests. In my view, the potential impact of Wikileaks and similar efforts is not necessarily about leaking well-guarded secrets, which these were not; rather, it is about changing the audience for a particular discourse from insiders to outsiders. Rather than expose unknowns, I think it is more accurate to say that Wikileaks has collapsed the distinction between the “front” and “back stages” of the modern state, and exposed the gap between the day-to-day reality of modern statecraft and its civic front.

I also listened to Jeff Jarvis talk about us being at a huge change in society and how now even more than ever, we need a Bill of Rights in Cyberspace. Jeff firmly states that ..."the press must gather around to defend Wikileaks. Wikileaks is the press. If we do anything less, we risk a terrible precedence being set." The Cyberspace Bill of Rights Jeff has laid out is as follows:

I. We have the right to connect.
II. We have the right to speak freely.
III. We have the right to assemble and act.
IV. Information should be public by default, secret by necessity.
V. What is public is a public good.
VI. All bits are created equal.
VII. The internet shall be operated openly.

Jeff also noted on his blog prior to speaking at the symposium:

We are passing from a world organized around power-to-power transactions to one based on peer-to-peer engagement. I’ll argue that we in the press, especially, must defend Wikileaks’ right to free speech as it speaks truth to power. I’ll say that we must make transparency government’s default; we are far from that and risk moving away from that target rather than toward it.

All of the speakers made some wonderfully enlightening points and I urge each of you to watch the sysmposium...invest the time. I probably seem like the proverbial "Chicken Little", but I truly believe this is one of those hinge moments in human progress where we need everyone actively engaged in writing the story of our future. As Zeynep says in her presentation, "The democracy you save could be your own."


Blogger Wray Post said...

I find it curious that most of the folks that are clamoring for the 'cables' censorship are politicians where as the major populous has not. Are the politicos afraid of something that they personally said? Of course they are, it is not about the security of the USA but the security of US (you, me and our political re=election) ;)
BTW, Jeff Jarvis is great on;

Sunday, 12 December, 2010  

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