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Response to “National Security vs. Internet Privacy”

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (4:49 PM)

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Response to Tec Blog: “Freedom of Speech vs. National Security”

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (4:21 PM)

By: Deirdre O’Halloran and Cora Andryc

 

 

Snowden Quotes:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/27-edward-snowden-quotes-about-u-s-government-spying-that-should-send-a-chill-up-your-spine/5338714

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By: Deirdre O’Halloran and Cora Andryc

 

 

Snowden Quotes:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/27-edward-snowden-quotes-about-u-s-government-spying-that-should-send-a-chill-up-your-spine/5338714


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Response to Aranzazu at Tec

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (3:15 PM)

Sorry about the terrible sound quality! It was recorded on my phone.

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Sorry about the terrible sound quality! It was recorded on my phone.


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Response to “Internet Security: Privacy vs. National Security” by Ana Isabel & Sánchez Meléndez

// Posted by on 02/19/2014 (1:56 PM)

 

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Assange & Snowden: whistleblowers of the internet (Tec Collaboration)

// Posted by on 02/14/2014 (5:01 PM)

By: Molly Reilly, Deirdre O’Halloran, Rachel Hall, and Claire Hollingsworth

You can be in your own home on your personal computer or tablet, yet there are people out there who can see everything you search, watch, and do. When you… Read more

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By: Molly Reilly, Deirdre O’Halloran, Rachel Hall, and Claire Hollingsworth

You can be in your own home on your personal computer or tablet, yet there are people out there who can see everything you search, watch, and do. When you visit certain websites they install a “cookie,” which is a piece of data kept in your browser to track your activity once you’ve opened that web page. The purpose of this is to store information for your convenience (added items in a shopping cart, edits to your facebook page), however it seems crazy that numerous websites can then access your personal information. Tracking and third-party tracking cookies can be used to get hold of your long-term history; even beyond when you had authorized a site to put a cookie on your computer (created a username or account).

This lack of privacy and lack of regulations were just a few of the reasons Edward Snowden felt an obligation to the American people to expose the NSA. His core beliefs of freedom of privacy and freedom on the internet lead him to make this massive sacrifice and turn over confidential documents. Snowden was quoted in the guardian article Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations, as saying “I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.” The lack of privacy at the corporate level through cookies and data tracking is a source of great concern, however the fact of government sponsored tracking is of much greater concern.

While it might not be completely ethical, corporations have gotten around the laws in order to capitalize on the data available on the internet for their own personal gain. The government, on the other hand should be there to set guidelines helping to protect us from these very corporations, not utilizing the same tactics they implement. Snowden exposed these policies in hopes of forcing government officials to rethink how they gather data and making a more transparent U.S. government. While we will never really know the extent to which Snowden made an impact on NSA policy, it has made everyone in the U.S. more aware and wary of the policy regarding privacy. We could say he has successfully completed his goal of transparency to a small degree, allowing this information exposed and analyzed.

The article “Leaky Geopolitics” looks at the unprecedented reactions of the “free world” in attempting to take down WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.  The author’s bias is evident from the very beginning: any charges against Assange were trumped up by a capitalist-governmental elite class to attempt to discredit him after the leaks began.  The way this article looks at the idea of crime — outside of formal charges, in the court of public opinion — seems to be a pretty accurate way of representing how people are perceived on the internet.  But the court of public opinion seems to be pretty divided on WikiLeaks: groups like Anonymous that prize freedom of information have stood behind the site, but other groups point to a security risk that can come from leaking government documents.

The idea that WikiLeaks and the public reaction to it can have such profound impacts on the geopolitical order –that it can lead people to question the authority of the state, and to think critically about issues of transparency and privacy — leads me to question if, in some ways, Assange and Snowden may have really won, regardless of the threats on their heads.  If the goal was to spur a conversation about these limits, it seems impossible to say that they didn’t achieve that goal with flying colors. The article also takes on the question of the government-industry connection in looking at the corporate responses of MasterCard, PayPal, etc, in taking on the role of protector and enforcer: roles usually reserved for the government, after extensive trial.  The success of WikiLeaks in exposing this portion of the problem also seems pretty undeniable.

In another article, “The War on Wikileaks and Why it matters” Author Glenn Greenwald illustrates the ways in which the U.S. Government has responded to the wikileaks. Wikileaks and Snowden have been a topic of great controversy and debate.  This has surely set the stage for political and public conversation surrounding privacy and regulation of the internet. As government officials the army and its supporters consider snowden to be a criminal and traitor, supporters of Snowden and the wikileaks revolution, see these actions as efforts to expose the government in the name of freedom of information.  Those opposed to wikileaks consider it a threat to American national safety, while Greenwald suggest sites like wikileaks are vital to Americans to provide information where the media is becoming more unreliable at “exactly a time when U.S. government secrecy is at an all-time high, the institutions osensibly responsible for investigation, oversight and exposure have failed”.  This is mostly because media and journalism are generally co-opted outlets controlled and regulated by the U.S. government more so than ever  as “private efforts to manipulate public opinion has proliferated”. Wikileaks, who consider their work to serve as the intelligence agency of the people, see the governments efforts to harass and ultimately destroy them altogether as a result of feeling threatened.

This provokes the idea, is information free?? If its not, should it be? Do we as citizens have the right to know information considered “classified”?  Wikileaks also exemplifies the rise of the term “netizen” in which people are turning to the web as a medium to facilitate social and political change. Is this a good thing? or potentially detrimental?  Setting aside personal views and opinions on the ethical side of wikileaks, it is undeniable that it has opened up the door for conversation as to whether digitization and diplomacy is helpful, or harmful.


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Protesters or Pirates (Tec Collaboration)

// Posted by on 02/14/2014 (4:58 PM)

          Does information really want to be free? Information may want to be free, however intellect does not. Intellect has forever been valued and should never be tampered with. People have the right to their own ideas, whether you publish… Read more

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          Does information really want to be free? Information may want to be free, however intellect does not. Intellect has forever been valued and should never be tampered with. People have the right to their own ideas, whether you publish it in a book or “tweet” it, every thought belongs to its owner. Anonymous should no longer be able to hack our systems and retrieve information that is not rightfully theirs. Although some of their motives may have universally positive impacts, their behavior outside of the law qualifies them as a near terrorist organization. According to the FBI, the definition of domestic terrorism is, “to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or to affect the content of a government by mass destruction.” We believe by this definition the actions of the member from Anonymous are considered domestic terrorist.

WikiLeaks, run by the non-profit group Sunshine Press, is a website that promotes itself as “the intelligence agency of the people”.  The site is committed to exposing suppressed government & corporation corruption by publicizing many of their closely guarded secrets.  Over the past few years, it has become an increasingly hated target of numerous government and economic elites worldwide, as it has been responsible for the exposure of numerous confidential, incriminating documents that publicized the activities of many different governments and corporations.  Within our group, we tried to reason whether WikiLeaks should be regarded as free speech or illegal speech.  The general consensus was that, although WikiLeaks prides itself on being the intelligence agency of the people, it is generally threatening to the confidentiality and safety of the various world governments as well as the people themselves.  The Site is based on obtaining a wide-array of secret documents and sharing them with the public, but how do we know what effects that will have?  They are sharing incriminating information under the guise of free speech and we have to wonder to what degree is that justifiable?  There is an increasingly blurred line between what information should be “free”, as hackers can access almost anything and, as we have learned, the government can too.  In a society where the Internet and information are becoming more easily accessible and widely shared, it is difficult to decipher the boundaries between private and public.

        As Henry Farrell and Martha Finnemore discuss in their article, “The End of Hypocrisy” the WikiLeaks group needs to be stopped. Farrel and Finnemore call the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, a “high-tech terrorist.” We totally agree with these two authors as high valued information, such as government operations should never be leaked to the public. There are certain facts and/or ideas that the American citizens and foreign countries should never find out. Hacking into the government database and retrieving knowledge and confidential documents should never happen. I do agree with Farrell and Finnemore that the American public should no longer be lied to about government information. We all deserve to know more, however not as much as the WikiLeaks uncover. There is certain restricted information that should forever be kept secret.

The argument of cyber libertarianism made David Golumbia, that information wants to be free, does not hold true in all cases. While many of us are willing and happy to publish our thoughts and ideas online for free in the form of blogs, tweets, and Wikipedia. This does not hold true in case of classified government documents. During the summer of 2013, Edward Snowden an employee of a company contracted by the National Security Agency. He leaked the details of two high-level intelligence programs the FBI and NSA use to collect information in order to protect American citizens from terrorists attacks. Upon the initial leak of information, the public was in shock of our government’s ability to collect information such as call logs and email chains. Upon further investigation, provide by the United States Congressional hearing of the FBI and it’s director Robert Mueller, it is the clear that this programs have provided the FBI with important information, crucial to protecting American citizens from terrorist attacks. Edwards Snowden’s actions do not classify him as a whistleblower but rather an American traitor.  The ability to share and spread information over the Internet does not mean that all information that is store in a digital format is meant to shared with the public. In Snowden’s interview with The Guardian, He explains how he exposed this information to make the public aware of the actions of it’s government, but no where in the article or interview does he go into the real specifics of the program. The truth behind the government’s abilities and actions are best explained in the Congressional hearing, available on C-span.

This is how information should be provided to the people, by our own government not by individual actors motivated by private agendas. While it is important to have oversight on our government and to hold them responsible for their actions, we do not believe that hacking and leaking is the most efficient and legitimate way to go about this. Hacking and leaking does not provide for any formal structure to prevent issues exposed by hackers from happening again. It simply gives instant gratification to those who feel that an injustice has occurred. This is not the way to build a safe and product society.

Transparency and accountability within government processes and corporations are expected now more than ever in the Internet era. The Internet has allowed people to access and share information more readily, which, in the case of Wikileaks, can have questionable ethical implications. The notion of “Information wants to be free” is the driving force behind Anonymous, hackers, and Wikileaks, but what does this really mean? Unfortunately, because of the dangerous consequences of Wikileaks in regards to government operations, the State has to respond in a more authoritarian way, which results in harsher penalties for hackers and cutting off access to revenue in the case of Wikileaks. The State is aware that their consequences are being scrutinized by the public, and in some ways, this is a good thing—the State can no longer can deceived the population. We have been grappling with the ethical motives behind Annoymous hacks and Wikileaks. What makes the debate harder is that some things that are leaked and brought to the public eye are done with good intentions—to bring hard issues to light, such as the dealings with the Ohio rape case. However, in most other cases, confidential information is someone’s property, and leaking that confidential information is piracy. Further, Wikileaks and Anonymous could be considered a “foreign terrorist organizations” because they are threatening organizations and intimidating their opposition. If you try to take down Anonymous response to their hackings, you get destroyed.

           In previous weeks, we’ve talked about the “third space” that the internet provides for a shared global culture. This idea of a shared space seemed to be a running theme in many of the arguments about WikiLeaks in the article “Leaky Geopolitics.” Many of the contributors discussed how a site like WikiLeaks provides a space for an overwhelming wealth of information and knowledge, but the article also expresses the concerns that a space like this presents: a challenge to the sovereignty of physical nations, the amorphous and expanding nature of WikiLeaks and the danger and the geopolitical influence such shared information has. But the authors also make a point to discuss how WikiLeaks points out flaws within our current geopolitical culture: the notion that a site of free flowing information like WikiLeaks must be controlled, the violent extent to which governments will go to do so and how this highlights issues such as hypercapitalism, privacy and political corruption. There doesn’t seem to be a distinct opinion on whether WikiLeaks is inherently “good” or “evil.” The debate mostly shows the uncertainty surrounding the site.

        The big issue presented by WikiLeaks is that it is completely unassociated with any state. In the first section by Simon Springer and Heather Chi, they describe how such a fluid flow of information will intrinsically pose a threat to and destabilize state power. Critical public scrutiny of state action opens up the idea of sovereignty and where power really lies. Springer and Chi emphasize the shift toward the values of transparency and accountability, yet the reaction of the state to leaked information is the authoritarian action of shutting down and blocking websites. Not only does WikiLeaks become a grey area of who controls what, but it also prompted governments to act in unexpectedly harsh ways. In democratic nations like the United States, the government’s need to strictly control WikiLeaks begins to question how democratic those actions are.

        What I found most interesting in this article, though, was Fiona McConnell’s concluding line about the overall perception of WikiLeaks: “WikiLeaks may have made certain procedures of foreign policy transparent, but having the information and acting upon it are two very different processes.” This brings up the question of whether WikiLeaks is really that much of a threat, or if nation states are overreacting in their handling of it. How do you control the flow of information in such a decentralized space such as the internet, and how do you determine if it’s even worth controlling at all?


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Snowden, Wikileaks, and Global Debate (Tec Collaboration)

// Posted by on 02/14/2014 (3:12 PM)

By Cassaundra Fincke, Kevin Carney, Sarah Crawford, and Emily Narduzzi

“The War on Wikileaks and Why It Matters,” written by Glenn Greenwald for Salon Magazine, provides an interesting analysis of the work being done at Wikileaks, and what our… Read more

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By Cassaundra Fincke, Kevin Carney, Sarah Crawford, and Emily Narduzzi

“The War on Wikileaks and Why It Matters,” written by Glenn Greenwald for Salon Magazine, provides an interesting analysis of the work being done at Wikileaks, and what our government trying to stop their existence says about our national privacy as a whole.  Essentially, Greenwald supports Wikileaks for their efforts to expose classified government information because some of the safety nets to expose improper governmental activities have been largely derailed.  He makes claims regarding how the media has been “co-opted” and “crippled by financial constraints,” which has affected our ability as citizens to see investigative reporting regarding the dealings of the government.  Furthermore, he states that our Congress provides almost no meaningful oversight in regards to regulating the secretive work of other government organization, and moreover, the Congress is largely controlled by the individuals who wish to maintain the secrecy of these governmental organizations.

According to Greenwald, this is where Wikileaks comes into play.  In the midst of an age gone digital, he attests that Wikileaks protects the American public because the government has secrecy “at an all time high.”  Wikileaks is essentially intended to keep the government honest because as long as they exist, they cannot act in secrecy without fear of being exposed to the general public.  Julian Assange, the editor of Wikileaks, claims that “the information which is concealed or suppressed is concealed or suppressed because the people who know it best understand that it has the ability to reform.  So they engage in work to prevent that reform…”  Greenwald applauds these efforts to expose information put forth by Wikileaks, and repeatedly commends the group for doing what the media and Congress fail to do for the American citizens in this day and age.  However, I raise the question, what do you mean by reform, and why are we seeking this large scale reformation?

I do not doubt that the US Government may be “at an all time high” with secrecy, but I do not believe they can really be blamed for being in such a state.  As a world power, the United States is susceptible to many threats, and we are also still within a time period where 9/11 is glued in the minds of every American citizen.  As a result, the American government takes steps to make sure that they can preserve our safety.  I do not know of a single government in the world that does, or should, keep military operations and top security items in the open for the public.  This is not even because I do not trust the American people, but more so because once information is in the open to the American people, then it is in the open to anyone with an internet connection.

As Henry Farrell and Martha Finnemore discuss in their article, “The End of Hypocrisy,” this new lack of privacy also threatens all foreign policy of the United States.  Many governments and citizens around the globe have observed that the U.S government doesn’t always stick to its word, but because of the level of involvement the U.S has in global affairs there have been many blind eyes.  After Snowden’s disclosure these governments had the right and the obligation to address the hypocrisy of the U.S. So this disclosure has two possible effects on our foreign affairs.  It forces the government to face its hypocrisy and may force to government to remain steadfast in its policies and reconsider going against these policies for our self-interest.  The leaks could also possibly steer different nations to address the occasional hypocrisy of our country’s government.

From here arises questions regarding the leaking of our governmental information.  Are the leaks putting our foreign policy in jeopardy?  If so, how should the U.S go about fixing this?  As mentioned before total transparency in our government is not practical.  The leaks may force the U.S to disclose more foreign policy information and act in accordance to this.  Wikileaks not only brought up the issue of security and privacy but also the issue of foreign relations and the trustworthiness of the U.S. Is being a reliable country worth giving up the pursuit of self-interests?  The answer, I believe, is yes.  Now how much of this requires American transparency?

There obviously has to be some semblance of privacy in order to ensure effective military operations and a strengthened ability to protect our American way of life.  And returning to my question prior asked, I feel no need for this “reform” that Assange mentions.  I am extremely happy as an American citizen, and I am proud of the measures the American government takes to keep me safe.  I respect Wikileaks attempts to keep the government honest by knowing that they cannot do whatever they want in complete secrecy, but I worry about the harms Wikileaks poses to the American public.  One day they could choose to leak a piece of information that is truly determinantal to American society, and then their efforts to provide a system of checks and balances has turned into a very hazardous situation.  My opinion, if you really want a better way to keep our government accountable for their actions, then lets find a more structured way to do it.  Wikileaks is an independent organization with their own agenda, and I do not feel comfortable with them trying to keep our government honest all on their own accord.  I do not trust someone who states, “I enjoy crushing bastards, I like a good challenge.”  This all seems fine and well until something overly sensitive gets leaked and it affects our country’s ability to effectively respond to a dangerous situation.  You raise a good cause Wikileaks, but let’s be more structured about this, and please keep your independent reformation to yourself.

Additionally, the statement that “The NSA has become the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever,” is pretty ironic. The NSA’s job is essentially to protect our government who can therefore protect our country. With the intense secrecy, you would think that they would not be able to do their job. However, on the contrary, it does make sense that certain things need to be kept under wraps.  Our country would not operate as well as it does if everything was constantly exposed to the general public. It is quite interesting and confusing still, considering the wikileaks ethicality and role through the process. How do they choose what information to publicize? What is worth it to them to relay to the general public? Often times these outings can create situations of panic and can potentially cause more harm than good. It is hard to know the difference between crossing the line and posing genuine concern for our country’s safety. It is also extremely difficult for authority to step in and respond in these situations. As discussed in the riot article, at least at the moment, it would be extremely difficult (perhaps close to impossible) for police to keep an eye on these social media sites. “Police would need to monitor social media with a level of intelligence—attuned to popularity, cognizant of slang, filtering for location—that right now is beyond the reach of even sophisticated tech startups, let alone cash-strapped police departments.”

From reading the “Edward Snowden” article by Greenwald, MacAskill, and Poitras in The Guardian, it is clear that Snowden is of the cyber liberation school of thought. Snowden says he does not view himself as a hero for exposing the government because “what [he’s] doing is self-interested: [he doesn’t] want to live in a world where there’s no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.” The cyber liberation view argues that information wants to be free, meaning everyone should have the right of free speech in what they post on the internet, and have the assurance of privacy from companies and the government. As we all know, this is not the case today. As a high school student, you are constantly warned that college admission officers can easily hack onto your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts, and use what they see against you in the admission process. Once getting to college, this fear is even further instilled in us with higher stakes: potential employers will easily look up your social media accounts to screen them for things that may reflect poorly on job applicants. I was shocked to learn in class on Tuesday that some employers will even make you log into your Facebook in the middle of an interview, which many of us believe is a total violation of privacy and very unethical. The founding fathers of our country originally regulated government control in areas such as the right to privacy so that the government would not overstep their bounds. In this sense, Snowden is right to call the spying a “threat to democracy,” however some problems could arise with total internet freedom as well. For example, it has been said that the government is notified whenever someone Googles “how to make a bomb.” In cases like this where potential terrorists could be Googling these things, government surveillance and intervention could be seen as a positive thing. The fact that one can so easily Google search how to make an explosive bomb as well as many other harmful things is a scary thought in and of itself. However, I believe government regulation becomes too invasive when they start tapping phone lines and e-mail accounts. Where do you stand in this debate? What are some of the positives and negatives of cyber liberation you see?

I also noted a quite paradoxical aspect of this article. Throughout the beginning of the article, there are many quotes from Snowden saying things such as, “I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in.” However, the rest of piece focuses completely on Snowden’s background, job history, and how he came to the decision to expose the truth. This, along with every conversation I’ve had about government spying since this story broke, leads me to the conclusion that it is difficult, if not impossible to discuss this case without talking about Edward Snowden. Despite his intentions, he will forever be linked to this scandal (it is often even referred to as the Edward Snowden case). Having a person linked to political scandal gives the common people a hero as they can praise Snowden for exposing the truth about how their government is deceiving them, while also giving the government a scapegoat. Snowden has also remained very in control of how the story is told.

“I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was

legitimately in the public interest,” he said. “There are all sorts of documents that

would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over, because harming people isn’t

my goal. Transparency is.” He purposely chose, he said, to give the documents to

journalists whose judgment he trusted about what should be public and what should

remain concealed.

Snowden arguably chose to speak to Greenwald because he knew Greenwald also believes in cyber liberation, and would thus tell Snowden’s story and information in a favorable light. In that sense, one could argue that even though Snowden is exposing the truth, there is still a level of regulation at play in terms of what documents he discloses, and to whom he’ll tell his story.

Given that this is a collaboration week, we can have some great discussions about the effects of this scandal. Snowden cites his travels to Geneva as part of what prompted him to eventually speak out. He says, “much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world,” he says. “I realized that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good.” What are some differences between the U.S. and Mexican governments? What did you think of the Snowden case/ government spy leaks from an international perspective? Do you think government regulation is a good thing, or should we be pro- cyber liberation?

 


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Becoming Numb to Information?

// Posted by on 02/26/2013 (7:28 PM)

An interesting question was brought up during class that compared the reactions of the public to people such as Daniel Ellsberg and Julian Assange in different time periods. Ellsberg was responsible for the leak of the PentagonRead more

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An interesting question was brought up during class that compared the reactions of the public to people such as Daniel Ellsberg and Julian Assange in different time periods. Ellsberg was responsible for the leak of the Pentagon Papers, while Assange is the creator and public face of the highly controversial Wikileaks web page. In 1971  Ellsberg handed over copies of controversial and top secret documents that Ellsburg said,  ”demonstrated unconstitutional behavior by a succession of presidents, the violation of their oath and the violation of the oath of every one of their subordinates”.  He gave them to the New York Times and they started publishing documents that proved that government officials were purposely concealing the truth about the Vietnam war and how bad the situation really was. This document was immensely important when it was published, as the Vietnam war was already a highly protested war these papers only added fuel to the fire. It is interesting to compare the impact of this leak to the impact of Wikileaks today. Wikileaks is a website that obtains official classified government documents from anonymous sources, with Julian Assange being the figure head of the website. Wikileaks claims to have millions of classified documents that it is waiting to release at a time of their choosing. Even though they claim to have mass amounts of classified material, interest in the site is dwindling.

Why is Wikileaks, with all its classified documents waiting to be published, not making a bigger impact in the world today? Compared to the pentagon papers Wikileaks is not as influential even though it contains multiple times the classified information that the pentagon papers had. I believe that this lack of interest in Wikileaks is due to a changing of culture. When the pentagon papers were published it was front page of all the newspapers of the time as this was the only way information was available to the public. I believe a lack of technology is actually the reason why the pentagon papers made such a massive impact. People did not have all the resources that are available today so when some new information was presented to the public they ate it up. This need for information from newspapers has changed as the digital world evolved. Now people are overrun with information, from email, internet, television, and social networks, people are constantly being fed information. I believe that because of this plethora of information available today the public is numb to internet leaks like the ones provided by Wikileaks.

It may seem counter intuitive to say that people receive less information today than they did in the time of the pentagon papers, and it may be. However I believe that people of this day and age pick and choose what information makes an impact on their lives. With pop culture expanding I believe that people are more interested in the latest trends and celebrity gossip then a government document that has little to no impact on their lives. Some argue that Wikileaks is not as influential as it could be due to the antics of Julian Assange, who is currently being accused of sexual assault. While this may have some impact on the website I believe the true reason behind a reduced interest is  a numbing of the public to information, due the the sheer amount of information that is available right at their fingertips.

 


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How WikiLeaks Blew It

// Posted by on 02/25/2013 (8:45 PM)

This man, Julian Assange, has become the face of WikiLeaks. As the founder, he created the network of secrets and successfully leaked many sensitive documents. What he may not have realized at the time is that his image had… Read more

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This man, Julian Assange, has become the face of WikiLeaks. As the founder, he created the network of secrets and successfully leaked many sensitive documents. What he may not have realized at the time is that his image had a strong influence on people’s perception of the website. Assange’s anti-American attitude was revealed in his selections of leaks. A majority of the leaks were targeted at American government and organizations. WikiLeaks biggest mistake was adopting a clear political agenda. The WikiLeaks were directly based on Assange’s political views, meaning that his followers mostly ascribed to a certain belief system. The site didn’t start this way, but since 2010 it has progressed in this light. Assange’s personal affairs have contributed to a decreasing credibility from his followers. The US government is less willing to compromise and/or work with Assange, given his obvious anti-American feelings. The article which Assange promised to leak about Russia was never real eased, raising eyebrows about the documents actual existence. WikiLeaks also has a reputation for secrets of its own, mainly with associated mainstream media. The site is reported to have gone behind editors’ backs and take articles personally.

Assange’s “chamber of secrets” is in its collapse-mode, according to an article in Foreign Policy last August. The site has lost the reputation for supplying accurate and credible information to the public. The political agenda of the website also dissuades readers from taking the content at face value. Assange’s personal life also impacted the website. When Assange was accused of sexual assault, the organization was impacted because of the inherent connection between the creator and his product. The article I read takes the side that WikiLeaks will not make a comeback from its current situation. While I agree with the main points of the article, I believe that either at the end of the standoff in the Ecuadorean embassy or before then, a new leader/face of WikiLeaks will emerge. The world has a demand for secrets and inside information – so many people are yearning for that inside knowledge or a leak that could open a policy window for them. Somebody will continue this chamber of secrets, whether it is through WikiLeaks or not. The US government security has little external control over how these websites choose to expose information, but we can only hope that now the US systems are secure enough to keep hackers out of classified business. I’m not completely confident given the actions Anonymous is capable of.


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Modern Warfare

// Posted by on 02/25/2013 (8:38 PM)

Thinking back about a discussion in class about the modern age and warfare. We read an article on Stuxnet which showed us that there was a cyberattack on Iran by the US government. Also, reading back on different WikiLeaks… Read more

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Thinking back about a discussion in class about the modern age and warfare. We read an article on Stuxnet which showed us that there was a cyberattack on Iran by the US government. Also, reading back on different WikiLeaks articles it made me think more about if countries go into war with each other, what will the war look like, is it old fashioned fought by the military or is it maybe more fought online?

The Stuxnet article showed that nowadays people can actually get into machine systems by the internet. Both have different coding, however people found a way to get into the system by a virus which used a zero-day exploit to spread. So, if it is possible to manipulate a working machine, in this case centrifuges that were enriching uranium, do we still need physical troops to go to the country? In the case of Stuxnet they did have an insider in Iran which delivered the virus via USB. Then still it would be possible to just send one guy undercover instead of troops.

Even if it might be possible that wars will be fought via the Net, there is still the terorrism threat. The Internet is nowadays also often used by extremist groups who starts forums in which they can express their opinions and hope to find other extremists. One of these forums, the Shumukh forum, which is one of the major jihadist forums, say that there is a conspiracy to destroy Syria. The countries involved in this will be the US, Iran and Israel. It predicts that everyone will be exhausted, all weapons will be destroyed and  civilization will go back to the time of Stone Age. If this is true, it means that instead of a cyber war the alliance of US, Iran and Israel will actually have an intervention to destroy Assad’s regime.

Interesting to see is that the Stuxnet mission was from the US government who tried to stop Iran’s nuclear plant, and this mission was actually intervened by different antivirus experts who worked together to actually stop the virus and thereby going against the US government. Thus on a cyberlevel, different countries can work together easily by getting experts to work out of their home, which also shows that boundaries actually vanish in this cyberworld. Now it was against one government, but what if on both side multiple countries join..

The article about the intervention in Syria, shows that even though there is the use of the internet by these different extremist groups, countries still think about getting their physical troops involved. I would think that maybe in the modern age the internet or just computers in general will be a way in which countries will be able to intervene in their local politics. Looking back at WikiLeaks, government secrets leaked so other countries knew about their plans, their secrets and other issues that were going on. If every country knows about the government plans and ideas of other countries it seems like there will be a world in which everybody knows what will happen.

Will this increase a threat of global warfare, or will it remove any threats. Governments know then that whatever they plan, will be out in the open..

 


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The Honest News?

// Posted by on 02/28/2012 (11:26 PM)

Wiki-leaks creator Julian Assange has been under heavy fire the past few years with his honest posts about what is truly going on in the world. The website has been criticized and governments have attempted to shut it down but… Read more

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Wiki-leaks creator Julian Assange has been under heavy fire the past few years with his honest posts about what is truly going on in the world. The website has been criticized and governments have attempted to shut it down but it stays strong. Is there a reason? Assange believes so.

Early this month Phylicia posted about how America receives watered down news in comparison to other countries and its true. Like Assange says Wiki-leaks is a site where you can get true information about things that are happening that we are not being told. Some may say that there is a reason we aren’t being told, that its to protect us or the people it involves, but shouldn’t it be our decision? This can also be tied to our discussion on the war in the Middle East. Although we know we are in a war, we don’t really know why we are there or what is actually going on, Wiki-leaks gives us actual information and gives us the option of knowing what is going on.

So is Wiki-leaks something that needs to stick around or to governments have the right idea in trying to shut it down?


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The Will of the People

// Posted by on 02/28/2012 (9:46 PM)

 

 

In a recent interview that CNet conducted with an (get this) anonymous member of the group Anonymous, dubbed “Anon,” the reasons behind their organization and movement was revealed: it is the “will of the people.” Elinor… Read more

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In a recent interview that CNet conducted with an (get this) anonymous member of the group Anonymous, dubbed “Anon,” the reasons behind their organization and movement was revealed: it is the “will of the people.” Elinor Mills, the interviewer, was questioning Anon about their collaboration with WikiLeaks to publish emails from the company Stratfor, identified as a “global intelligence firm that seems to have paid informants to monitor, among other things, human rights and environmental activists on behalf of Dow Chemical after the Bhopal disaster, and that allegedly considered using the intelligence it gathers from insiders to grow a strategic investment fund.”

When asked why take they take the risk of going to jail to uncover types of information like the Stratfor scandal, Anon replied, “There is a moral obligation for those who see injustices being committed by individuals who are purely driven by greed.” This type of hacking is completely different, in my opinion, from the malware Stuxnet. This type of hacking is meant to shed light on information or a hole in security that Anonymous felt compelled to unveil, while Stuxnet’s function was to slowly destroy from within a nuclear program in Iran. Anonymous’s goal was to move forward, while Stuxnet’s was to make someone take a step back. The corruption that Anonymous sees in companies like Stratfor is why they hack into their systems; they believe they are not the security company they say they are, and in the United States working with them, it becomes an issue of national security. A correspondent from London discusses this issue on Russia Today in this video:

 

 

I think Anon is correct in the interview when he says, “I’d argue that the people are beginning to wake up and realize the strength of their unified peaceful protests, both behind a computer, in the streets, or personal protest. Whether it’s the Arab Spring, Wall Street or BART, there needs to be someone saying ‘this is not OK.’” I believe that is exactly what Anonymous is doing. While reading the interview and watching commentaries on the Stratfor WikiLeaks, I found myself debating the positives and negatives of the type of hacking that Anonymous engages in vs. the type Stuxnet was. I believe in the “will of the people” and standing up for a cause (in the form of hacking) if you believe it to be a potential threat to national security. However, I’m not sure I’m totally sold on the idea of malware introduced so silently and specifically targeted at setting back a nation. I think my hesitation might lie in the fact that I’m feeling like it is only a matter of time before the United States is a target of something like Stuxnet.

 

What do you think about the motivations of Anonymous? What about the differences between the types of hacking? Do you agree or disagree with either cause for any particular reason?


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