Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Who said this?

"Now, in many respects, information has never been so free. There are more ways to spread more ideas to more people than at any moment in history. And even in authoritarian countries, information networks are helping people discover new facts and making governments more accountable. [...] In response to a question that was sent in over the internet, he defended the right of people to freely access information, and said that the more freely information flows, the stronger societies become. He spoke about how access to information helps citizens hold their own governments accountable, generates new ideas, encourages creativity and entrepreneurship. The United States belief in that ground truth is what brings me here today. [...] And technologies with the potential to open up access to government and promote transparency can also be hijacked by governments to crush dissent and deny human rights. [...] We stand for a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas. [...] As I speak to you today, government censors somewhere are working furiously to erase my words from the records of history. But history itself has already condemned these tactics. [...] These actions contravene the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which tells us that all people have the right 'to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.' [...] Now, ultimately, this issue isn’t just about information freedom; it is about what kind of world we want and what kind of world we will inhabit. It’s about whether we live on a planet with one internet, one global community, and a common body of knowledge that benefits and unites us all, or a fragmented planet in which access to information and opportunity is dependent on where you live and the whims of censors. Information freedom supports the peace and security that provides a foundation for global progress. Historically, asymmetrical access to information is one of the leading causes of interstate conflict. When we face serious disputes or dangerous incidents, it’s critical that people on both sides of the problem have access to the same set of facts and opinions. [...] And censorship should not be in any way accepted by any company from anywhere."

- Julian Assange, speaking on behalf of WikiLeaks.

Or not.


Jason Goroncy said...

Hilary Clinton PBUH. Nice one Byron.

byron smith said...

WikiLeaks and the long haul. This is an insightful post that I largely agree with, though some more acknowledgement of the immediate significance and importance of some of the things that have been revealed would be nice.

"I am conflicted about the right balance between the visibility required for counter-democracy and the need for private speech among international actors. Here’s what I’m not conflicted about: When authorities can’t get what they want by working within the law, the right answer is not to work outside the law. The right answer is that they can’t get what they want."
Read the rest.

byron smith said...

Evict Washington from Cancùn and Durban.

A piece that puts the lie to the idea that these cables haven't revealed anything we didn't already know and/or haven't revealed any great injustices to justify their breach of diplomatic trust.

Can't seem to access the original piece in The Mercury at the moment for some reason.

byron smith said...

Excellent Guardian editorial today:

"And if American diplomats must troop around TV studios citing the Vienna convention, which protects diplomatic embassies and communications as "inviolate", then they must do a better job of explaining why Hillary Clinton was recently sending out demands on behalf of the CIA to spy on foreign envoys at the UN and around the world. If the sanctity of the diplomatic bag is to mean anything, it must be a universal value." [...]

"Instead of wholesale condemnation of the leaks, it is more fruitful to look at the individual stories that are emerging and judge each on its importance and the public interest served. The anti-cable camp has veered from predicting harm to a metropolitan shrug that they tell us nothing new. Neither charge is right."

Read more.

byron smith said...

SMH: Assange is the Ned Kelly of the internet age.

byron smith said...

But more importantly (since talking about Assange is largely a distraction): don't lose focus on what WikiLeaks has revealed (Independent).

And that doesn't include any of WikiLeak's pre-2010 work.

byron smith said...

Another story that we wish we wasn't true, but which would be worse if kept hidden (spelled out in more detail here if you can stomach it).

While not every cable released so far is obviously in the public interest, it is hard to claim that many of them are not. In particular, DynCorp must be held publicly accountable for these actions.

byron smith said...

Another one clearly in the public interest to know.

byron smith said...

Guardian: Assange awarded Australian peace prize.