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Julian Assange, The truth will always win:
WikiLeaks coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism. We work with other media outlets to bring people the news, but also to prove it is true. Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?
Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The media helps keep government honest.
Todd Gitlin, Everything Is Data, but Data Isn’t Everything:
If the database is the shape of knowledge in our time, then the definitive act of mediated communication is the data dump. So it is not surprising that the generation that has made the mash-up its prime aesthetic form has produced the data dump. But to put it this way is not to congratulate Wikileaks—at least not without considerable ambivalence. It’s to lament the coming of a certain—shall we say generational?—style of exposé. Wikileaks is the Facebook of whistle blowing.
Clay Shirky, Wikileaks and the Long Haul:
Like a lot of people, I am conflicted about Wikileaks.
Citizens of a functioning democracy must be able to know what the state is saying and doing in our name, to engage in what Pierre Rosanvallon calls “counter-democracy”*, the democracy of citizens distrusting rather than legitimizing the actions of the state. Wikileaks plainly improves those abilities.
On the other hand, human systems can’t stand pure transparency. For negotiation to work, people’s stated positions have to change, but change is seen, almost universally, as weakness. People trying to come to consensus must be able to privately voice opinions they would publicly abjure, and may later abandon. Wikileaks plainly damages those abilities. (If Aaron Bady’s analysis is correct, it is the damage and not the oversight that Wikileaks is designed to create.*)
And so we have a tension between two requirements for democratic statecraft, one that can’t be resolved, but can be brought to an acceptable equilibrium. Indeed, like the virtues of equality vs. liberty, or popular will vs. fundamental rights, it has to be brought into such an equilibrium for democratic statecraft not to be wrecked either by too much secrecy or too much transparency.
Micah Sifry, After Wikileaks: The Promise of Internet Freedom, For Real:
The conflict between Wikileaks and the U.S. Government reminds me of something we've been experiencing for some years now in the private sector of corporate activity and social enterprises. Lots of hierarchical, top-down, closed fortress organizations have been discovering that they need to open up, accept that the internet is dispersing power to the edges and into the hands of free agents, a.k.a. the people who used to be their audience. Think of how internal bloggers like Robert Scoble helped open up and humanize Microsoft's evil empire, or how angry consumer virtual flash-mobs like the one that rallied around Jeff Jarvis's "Dell Sucks" blog post confronted and pried open Dell. Or how netroots bloggers made Howard Dean the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, or how networked "Tea Party" activists generated successful challenges to eight Senate candidates endorsed by the Republican establishment in DC. Smart organizations have embraced these new forces and been improved in the process.