One nerd to rule them all.

Il controllo delle informazioni 03.09.11

Trasparenza non significa irresponsabilità.
La recente fuga di notizie incontrollate da Wikileaks analizzata dal Guardian.

A handful of people knew of the existence of this republished file and, realising its potential for harm, they did not publish any clues as to how it might be accessed. WikiLeaks, by contrast, tried to blame others for the leak, hinted at how it could be accessed, and then finally decided to publish it all to the world in an unredacted form.

Some WikiLeaks devotees and extreme freedom of information advocates will applaud this act. We don't. We join the New York Times, Der Speigel, Le Monde and El País in condemning it. Many of our newspapers' reporters and editors worked hard to publish material based on the cables in a responsible, comprehensible and contextualised form. We continue to believe in the validity and benefits of this collaboration in transparency. But we don't count ourselves in that tiny fringe of people who would regard themselves as information absolutists – people who believe it is right in all circumstances to make all information free to all. The public interest in all acts of disclosure has to be weighed against the potential harm that can result.

It had never been entirely clear whether Assange thought he had a consistent position on this issue. At various times he has scorned those who urged redaction; at others he has portrayed himself as an advocate of responsible redaction. He shows little or no understanding of the legal constraints facing less free souls than himself, often voicing contempt for publishers constrained by the laws of particular jurisdictions. At its best Wikileaks seemed to offer the hope of frustrating the most repressive and restrictive. But the organisation has dwindled to being the vehicle of one flawed individual – occasionally brilliant, but increasingly volatile and erratic. There was no compelling need, even with the recent disclosures of the internal leak, for WikiLeaks to publish all the material in the form in which it did. Julian Assange took a clear decision this week: he must take the responsibility for that.