WikiLeaks and Accountability II.

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The above comic from XKCD is instructive because I think the scenario it describes would never, ever happen. WikiLeaks does not actually believe in transparency per se, but, as various analysts of founder Julian Assange's thought have pointed out, it believes that the U.S. government is fundamentally an unjust conspiracy, and that rendering its secret communications public is the most effective way to paralyze it. That's the sort of business plan that attracts employees like this.

The U.S. government has clearly done many, many things that go against the arc of justice; heck, it's founding document enshrined one of mankind's greatest evils, and WikiLeaks has exposed injustices of a more recent sort in the Middle East -- though I'd argue the Abu Ghraib photos had a much stronger effect on limiting those abuses in the future. But, call me naive if you like, I just don't believe that the U.S. government is at its heart a malevolent conspiracy.

Motivations aside, WikiLeaks' own lack of transparency is disconcerting. That's why I'm interested in Openleaks, founded by a group of former Wikileaks collaborators and intended to be more transparent and also, apparently, put in place some practices to add more context to leaked documents.

-- Tim Fernholz

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