City University London will host a debate on Wikileaks Sept 30. Moderated by Jonathan Dimbleby it will feature Julian Assange of Wikileaks and David Aaronovitch the Times columnist. The title is “Too much information?”
(Ironically I went to the Times website to read some of Aaronovitch’s columns but they are behind a pay firewall!£1 a day for access. In this case then, too little information.)
It is interesting that once again security is opposed to information in a zero sum game. The subtitle of the debate is “Security and censorship in the age of Wikileaks.” This is often the way the narrative is framed: security or privacy; security or censorship. When put this way, most people plump not unreasonably for security (who wants to be blown up?)
Some polls show that more than 3/4 of people would give up their rights in return for security. The obvious line of rebuttal is security for whom and is it really security? I don’t suppose Afghan citizens feel very secure, nor is it very safe in Iraq. Taking our shoes off at airports is doing very little for real security. Extraordinary rendition and holding people for years without charge in Guantanamo is not improving Americans’ security. It seems to me that security could be better obtained through better political policies, like pressuring Israel to stop building settlements (their semi-ban runs out this weekend).
I recommend Jane Mayer’s last book The Dark Side on this.