WikiLeaks: Affect on Open Government Activism

In a previous post I mentioned that there are often unanticipated side-effects of open government initiatives. 

That issue is highlighted as the Afghanistan Document Release by WikiLeaks continues to grab headlines.  The real question is, should all data be opened or is there an accurate classsification system that protects the citizens need for disclosure and issues as important as national security.  I don’t want folks to lose sight of the idea that “national security” is actually equating to risking people’s lives in this case.  I realize that WikiLeaks did an admirable job of NOT publishing much of what was provided to them, but we desperately need a clearer understanding of how those decisions should be made.  We dont have the benefit of knowing what wasn’t disclosed in this case.  We asl are not certain yet what was released and what effect that will have on the safety and security of folks engaged in Afghanistan.

So, what do people out there think?

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Matt Miszewski has been a leader of incredible teams, that accomplished unbelievable goals - together. From rebuilding an enterprise technology strategy from the ground up as Chief Information Officer of the State of Wisconsin to driving a struggling global sales and marketing team to live beyond their potential and helping take their stock from $45/sh to over $110/sh, I have been honored to take on huge challenges and beat them by building collaborative and high performing teams. I was proud to be a regular speaker on Digital Realty's earnings call each quarter and being able to brief and advise the Board of Directors each quarter. Focusing on our shareholders needs while coupling that focus with the needs of our top customers was the combination the street was searching for and our increase in equity value proves the effort worthwhile. Our focus on total leasing costs, net present value of long term leases, closing the gap on cash performance and elimination of stagnant inventory helped to drive a stalled stock. Most proud of standing up a revenue engine that will be used for decades including a renewed global salesforce, inside sales expertise, demand generation focus, new global Partners and Alliances program, sales operations team and a heightened focus on connecting lead development to sales outcomes (including a new social marketing program, AR/PR, digital presence, brand identity refresh, SEO/SEM and a regular campaigning process). Combining decades of technology leadership with this commercial success creates an incredible package to unleash revenue and hack growth for companies from any industry out there.

3 Responses to “WikiLeaks: Affect on Open Government Activism”

  1. Hi Matt,

    I agree that this is a really very sensitive topic where people seem to stick to very antagonistic opinions. Thus, its either 100% herolike to publish 100% of everything, or its a devils act, practically murdering people (you surely remember the public made remarks of a US politician that Julian Assange has already blood as his hands).
    Like always, truth lies in the middle.

    Wikileaks seems to go through a learning process itself, they are actually a very young organisation and surely will do mistakes and learn in the process. I could well imagine that they are not totally satisfied with having published 70+k documents without having screened every single one of them for names of vulnerable people. On the other hand, their self declared job is to publish classified documents and with the few people they seem to have in their organisation as full time staff (all unpaid), how could they possibly review this sheer amount of data? Thats why they turned to newspapers for analysis – which I consider a great idea, because it adds competence and neutrality, and thats also why they asked the New York Times to contact the Pentagon, to get their help in identifiying names which should not be published to protect lives of people.

    Well, as we all know by now, the Pentagon declined to support (or in other words, declined to save peoples lifes they themselves saw endangered by these documents). Fortunately, so far, not a single case is known that the Afghan War Diary leak has lead to an attack at a person, which had been mentioned in these documents. This has been confirmed by the Pentagon itself, just a couple of days ago. See this article (salon): http://www.salon.com/news/wikileaks/?story=/opinion/greenwald/2010/08/24/wikileaks.

    I also dont know what will be published or not, but i know what I do expect. I do expect that the withheld documents will be cleansed of all names of people whose lives would be endangered if published. Then, the fine line between providing the transparency the people (and the press) have a constitutional right to and minimizing potential harm for individuals can be at the right place. But it will always be a fine and very thin line and it will always be a matter of controversy as well as of subjective opinion.

    Maybe Wikileaks will define a clearer code of conduct, a description HOW they actually minimize harm now and in the future. How they can bring sufficient ressources and good diverse judgement into the process of deciding what will be leaked and what not (or how it will be cleansed before leaking).

    I consider Wikileaks nessessary as long as governments in the world (and I mean everywhere in the world) tend to classify far too much information, as long as classifying is used to mislead the public, cover up facts of unhappy developments, or even to cover corruption and the breaking of human rights (see the leaks on Kenia for a very good example).

    It will eventually lead to more discussion about what to classify and to which degree. What shall be open and transparent and what not (and how to protect the latter). I am no US citizen and likely not the one to judge, but my (totally subjective) impression on the US system of classification is that its using classification in many cases where its not nessessary. This is a good thing to discuss. We all can only become better. As a child I learned early that honest people have nothing to hide…

  2. Cora Bolton says:

    Endless war makes more money for banks

  3. Talisha Mish says:

    This Wikileaks thing is amazing. Any state has the right to keep it’s secrets. This Julian guy clearly has a vendetta against the U.S.. He’s an Austrailian right? Would he like to see all of that country’s secrets revealed out in the open? There is no nation in the world that doesn’t have state secrets. What about national defense? One thing that is being overlooked is that sometimes such secrets help to avoid war. Did Assange ever think of that? No….he’s looking to embarass the U.S. and make a name for himself. I believe his 15 minutes of fame will be over soon enough.

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