The last time I posted about privacy, it was broadly criticized. I have a feeling people obsessed about their personal privacy, rather than reading what I actually wrote and considering what I actually presented. At any rate, I was unconvinced by the tautologies thrown at me in defense of privacy, and I still find it ridiculous to even believe privacy exists.
I imagine that the hysteria over the sacredness of privacy doesn’t extend to the growing fervor over WikiLeaks. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that anarchists aren’t siding with the government, and I find them to be hypocrites for demanding more for themselves than they would allow for the government. That’s okay, at least they’re half right.
I suppose I’m preaching to the choir, but I will risk being redundant: WikiLeaks is defending freedom, not endangering people. Those working at WikiLeaks are not treasonous or criminal, they are brave defenders of freedom (as opposed to the cowards they have exposed for killing innocent people).
But what of the claims that WikiLeaks is endangering people? Perhaps they are, because sometimes the truth is hidden for a reason. There are undoubtedly people who risk their lives in aiding the US, and it is possible that WikiLeaks did not do a thorough job of editing out any sensitive information. However, there are two problems with this.
First, the US could have been open and honest at any time. Our government could choose to be transparent. The government could then be the ones who peruse the information, ensuring that no truly confidential information leaked out. However, the government classifies so much information as “Top Secret” that Americans are left largely in the dark as to what their elected officials are actually doing. No democracy can maintain its integrity when the population is kept in ignorance.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it’s not as though the government is much better with sensitive information. Remember Dick Cheney outing the US spy, Valerie Plame? Where was the outrage then? Can the government point to a single person actually endangered or harmed by the WikiLeaks documents? The Plame case was an explicit example of someone being endangered and their career destroyed… but what came of it? I am highly suspicious of hypocrites.
After all, you should not expect to be treated differently than you treat others. If this seems like an under-handed swipe at the lovers of personal privacy out there, it is, but it applies to the government as well. If the government has access to civilian communications (which they have, right or wrong, like it or not), then civilians must have access to government communications. If the government wants people to mind their own business, they should take their own advice.
Personally, I would rather everyone be in everyone else’s business, because this tends to cut down on abuse. People do strange, even horrible things when they believe no one is watching.
Speaking of parity… I should be able to grope Sarah Palin and Cindy McCain until the TSA begins respecting personal space again. Hmm, maybe that’s an issue for another post.