Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Freedom of speech and squelching of whistleblowers

I've been here before, but I forgot about this wonderful website, which is now in danger of being permanently shut down: Wikileaks provides documents on line to blow the whistle on wrongdoing and corruption in government, business, and other sorts of organizations. The forces of transparency soldier on, and the forces of iron-fisted control freakage keep on trying to go for massive overkill. From the New York Times article:
In a statement on its site, Wikileaks compared Judge White’s orders to ones eventually overturned by the Unites States Supreme Court in the Pentagon Papers case in 1971. In that case, the federal government sought to enjoin publication of a secret history of the Vietnam War by The New York Times and The Washington Post.… Judge White’s order disabling the entire site “is clearly not constitutional,” said David Ardia, the director of the Citizen Media Law Project at Harvard Law School. “There is no justification under the First Amendment for shutting down an entire Web site.”
Addendum: I should note that privacy and confidentiality issues are frequently shot to hell by the internet and by websites like these. It's a bit of a problem, from the extreme of identity theft at one problem and just plain old unwanted public exposure, to the other end of secrecy and obstacles to freedom of information on things we should all know about.

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