Most of us instinctively buy into the notion that the web has a “democratising” impact, it is a way for information to flow, to be disseminated, and this is absolutely true. However, what of the instinct of institutions, public and private to keep things secret? No matter how ubiquitous the web may be, it needs to be fed.
WikiLeaks is a site set up by an Aussie named Julian Assange specifically to serve as a medium for “whistleblowers” to leak sensitive documents their employers would rather keep quiet, whilst retaining their own anonymity. The site has been the source of several of the better known leaks, including the horrific footage of US gunships in Iraq gunning down a group last year, that included several children, and two Reuters reporters, and joking as they did it. Not a PR coup for the US effort in Iraq.
WikiLeaks has the potential to be pretty uncomfortable, imagine the internal, highly confidential documents that could lift the veil on the Gulf spill should they become public, but in the long run, the value of transparency of these documents to the community is far greater than the sectional interests that are generally served by keeping them secret.
Go you good thing!