Jaime Magiera on Tue, 14 Dec 2010 06:28:14 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Wikileaks is old hat

I think lots of people are going to analyze Wikileaks (partially because of the treatment of Assange), but really they're missing the boat. Despite all the rhetoric, "Cablegate" was, from start to end, not really as major a paradigm shift as claimed. Lets break it down briefly...

- Cables were allegedly obtained by a serviceman who burned data to CD from a "private" network that 9 million people had access to. We've had CD-ROM and gov networks for 30 years now. This issue here was of course the excessive use of the "secret" label. So much superfluous was data mixed in with quality data to render the concept meaningless. Human error. Manning was caught because he outed himself to someone over AIM. 1990s technology.  

- Wikileaks as an organization is not really earth shattering in technical approach. They aren't really even a "wiki" much anymore, but a publicly available web repository of what the core team thinks is appropriate. Getting the files is just receiving them from a leaker via FTP, SCP, EMAIL, etc. -- old technology. 

- The mirrors are just folks posting what they download from Wikileaks. There are no protections or verifications of the data posted on the mirrors. Just a bunch of files that anyone could modify and repost for their own purposes.  

All of these things are easily duplicable -- even by a 60 year old granny in Iowa (including the ensuing DDOS by "supporters"). Sure, it may be the first case of this scope in terms of the amount of data, but the the details are less than thrilling. It all boils down to human error with old hat technology. 

Apparently, the next step in the evolution of the transparency movement is OperationLeakSpin.org and OpenLeaks.org. In terms of OperationLeakSpin, they are attempting to use Crowd Journalism, which is sort of peaking right now (though has some drawbacks, see Lanier's "You are not a Gadget"). OpenLeaks will have a more refined, less singular administrative presence. Still none of these are earth shattering. Anyone could do it.


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