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WikiLeaks' Daniel Schmitt Speaks 154

Lars Sobiraj submitted an interview with Daniel Schmitt of WikiLeaks. "He encourages all readers and warns his opponents — WikiLeaks has the means to make our society better, to create a world which stands united and strong against abuse — locally and nationally as well as globally. Modern, fast, world-wide technology makes it possible. In the interview, Daniel explains in detail how this will be done, with the help of WikiLeaks and all its supporters."
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WikiLeaks' Daniel Schmitt Speaks

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  • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Monday July 06, 2009 @10:26AM (#28594255)

    The U.S. has set up over the last two centuries a means by which information that should be kept secret is kept secret and information that should be public is public. By and large, this works, despite some well publicized failures. Legislation such as the Freedom of Information Act, etc. has proved to be a means to uncover unsavory facts that would see the light of day despite the wishes of unsavory politicians. All of this takes place in the well defined arena of law and politics.

    Wikileaks would throw all of this out and make themselves (the collective leakers) the sole arbiter of what is in the national interest and what is not with respect to keeping secrets. They do this without realizing the potential impact to national security or potential diplomatic damage that, while the leaker may think is justified and deserved, is more damaging to the U.S. (or other country subject to a wikileak) than the leaker realizes. They can't know the potential impact because they do not have access to the entire picture.

    So what wikileaks does is to substitute the judgment of a system, made of up of untold knowledgeable individuals, with the judgment of one or two cranks with an ax to grind. The cranks may be right sometimes, but I think more often that not they will be wrong.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 06, 2009 @10:27AM (#28594261)

    I noticed they had the question and answer keys to the Red Hat Certified Engineer's exam, so I asked what the justification for this was. The answer was that Red Hat was being "unfair" by keeping the test closed. For political matters, Wikileaks can be useful, but for being a place where cheaters gather, it's pretty damned lame.

  • by RebootKid ( 712142 ) <> on Monday July 06, 2009 @10:44AM (#28594419)
    I must disagree. Your statement that FOIA requests are a good method of getting information out of the US Government falls down in multiple ways.

    1) Duration. I've seen FOIA requests take years to fulfill.
    2) Redaction. The FOIA answers often have sections blacked out in them. Sometimes large sections. What you're left with is a document that is essentially unreadable.
    3) Scope. FOIA only works where we're interfacing with the US Government agencies. It does not work with private corporations nor does it work with other nations.

    Much like free speech, Wikileaks should be covered under "freedom of press." There needs to be some place where this information can be distributed and the person doing the leak is not put at risk. There are too many groups/agencies around the world who solve problems by burning the bodies.
  • WikiLeaks has the means to make our society better, to create a world which stands united and strong against abuse â" locally and nationally as well as globally. It could just as easily be a place for saboteurs and rumor mongers.
  • by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <<ten.tsacmoc> <ta> <yburxyno>> on Monday July 06, 2009 @10:59AM (#28594607)

    I do not have "trouble" with any particular posting, instead it is the principal of the thing. When you think about it, wikileaks goes against any IT best practice, and it certainly goes against any geek value. They are getting a free ride and sympathy from a crowd where they don't deserve it. The fact that you may think it's a hoot that your personal bad guy had his secrets exposed today should be irrelevant. If someone is breaking the law and using secrecy to protect themselves, well they too can fall (Nixon very nicely feel well before wikileaks). It's also down to a matter of judgment on who gets to decide what.

    Lets say you work for company and your coworker who was denied a promotion decides to leak your companies R&D results for an upcoming product (say your company just invented a way to make plastics that biodegrade more readily). Well your company just put millions into research for a product that is now going to made by a Chinese company that has to pay none of the research cost, and can skip straight to production. It's going to be your job on the line when your company can't compete. While you may consider that information secret and of no business to the world at large, your Chinese competitor would consider such a thing as being ideal for leaking.

    The number of examples are endless, it's only a matter of time before R&D is leaked prevalently. When you remove your companies secrets, you remove much of your companies competitive advantage and you now have to compete on cost alone. Now pause and think about your job, and those of your friends and family, how many of those jobs would be gone? What if you were in the military instead and someone decided to leak secrets that protect you and your buddies in a time of war?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 06, 2009 @11:02AM (#28594629)

    Not all lies are evil. If someone is looking for someone to harm them, and you know where they are, telling them makes you culpable in that harm. Leaking 'some' secret information can bring people to harm. It is not a black and white issue. Thanks for playing.

  • by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <> on Monday July 06, 2009 @01:55PM (#28597047)

    I would. And I'll tell you why. Because if someone comes to Wikileaks and the site pulls some sort of 'nefarious' power play by only posting leaks in regard to a specific agenda, those people trying to get the banned material leaks will know and find alternative methods of getting the word out.

    Were you under the impression that these are the only folk who know how to setup a web site?

    PS. The answer to the question is: If Wikileaks has something out there that is so damaging to your 'elected officials' that it can't stand to see the light of day, then you already had a problem, you just weren't willing to admit it.

    This BS about "What if they post the nuclear launch codes!!!??!??! OMG!" and other related arguements is just that BS. The folk running Wikileaks aren't from Marvel comics. They don't have a massive mind reading devices hidden underneath their often assaulted school for mutants. They get this information from people who already have it and are already ready to leak it. The question isn't "What if they..." but "What would have happened if they hadn't..."

  • by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <> on Monday July 06, 2009 @03:17PM (#28598217)

    Actually they answered that the reason they posted the tests were to level the playing field as a number of people already had copies of the tests and thus an unfair advantage. When Redhat came after them, they argued that the onus was on Redhat to change the test since the cat had already been out of the bag.

    Which, you will note, Redhat did.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.