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INSIGHTS ABOUT WIKILEAKS
Transcript of INSIGHTS ABOUT WIKILEAKS
OH SHAN CHENG
KOH JEE LEE
SEE LIANG HUI
Ethical issues & responsibility
#1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Allows sharing of information to the general public
International and online
Similar to Wikipedia...
Differences from Wikipedia...
Independent groups of individuals
Publish secret information, news leak, classified media
Bring important news and information to the public
Founder of Wikileaks
Bring important news and information to the public so that they can see the evidence of truth
Ensure that journalists and whistleblowers are not jailed for emailing sensitive or classified documents
Database of more than 1,200,000 documents within a year!
Originally launched as a wiki site
Moved towards a more traditional publication model
Texts are edited only by editors
WIKILEAKS IN THE FUTURE...
Could WikiLeaks be in violation of any Intellectual Property Rights?
Intellectual property rights are the rights given to persons or organisations over the creations of their minds.
Gives the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period of time.
Fraser v. Evans 
English case, wherein the defendant had made some papers public...
#2 LEGAL ISSUES
Or are there any other laws that might have been broken?
#2 LEGAL ISSUES
Published more than 250,000 documents
Highly confidential information
Threatened national security
U.S. Government: WikiLeaks is an international terrorist
Julian Assanage: WikiLeaks is on the side of Justice
Classified information publicized in newspapers
‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the FREEDOM OF SPEECH OR THE PRESS; or the rights of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances’
Are the actions of WikiLeaks ethical? Has the site been “responsible”?
#3 ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITIES
Ethics: Being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, especially the standards of a profession.
#4 TECHNICAL ISSUES
What technical issues have been brought to the forefront by the saga of Wikileaks?
Discuss Wikileaks and its release of information and secret cables from a legal perspective.
RELEASE OF INFORMATION
RELEASE OF U.S. SECRET CABLE
Release of U.S. diplomatic cables
Release of organisation work product
U.S. diplomatic cables are NOT copyright protected
Some insider in the Pentagon has been leaking these documents via WikiLeaks forum... Can the insider be prosecuted on the basis of copyright infringement?
Due to freedom
Copyright infringement could not be held in a "matter of public concern", and "only making a fair comment in public interest"
Invaded personal privacy (Intellectual Property Rights)
After cable leaks, a bill was introduced to stop WikiLeaks by making it illegal to publish the names of military or intelligence community informants
The Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination Act (SHIELD) prevents anyone from compromising national security in the future in a similar manner to WikiLeaks
Markus Kuhn, a computer security researcher at the Cambridge Computer Lab: Any work "prepared by an officer or employee of the US government as part of that person's official duties" is not entitled to domestic copyright protection under US law.
Leaked cables are not protected by copyright
Does not matter whether WikiLeaks owns the rights or not.
Leaking classified information is a crime; receiving and publishing it is not.
‘Unauthorized possession and dissemination of information that could compromise on national security’.
Intention for publication
Knowing and willful disclosure
Prejudicial to national security or U.S. interests
WikiLeaks did not proactively violate the law
Mere recipient and distributor of information
Intention: Bring down incumbent administrations (Journalism)
Not targeted at national security
In order to prosecute WikiLeaks, prove: Information intended to be used against the U.S. or benefit another nation.
Intention for publication...
WikiLeaks main site: “Bring news & information to the public with an idea of free press and improved transparency”.
CANNOT BE PROSECUTED...
Wikileaks is a news organization which is categorized under the ‘press’ and should be protected by the first amendment.
Revealed identity of individuals
Based on fair rules and justified functionality of democratic and civil society
Invaded personal privacy
Protect citizens against secret arbitrary government power
“To bring important news and information to the public... One of our most important activities is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth.
Openness + Transparency = Better governance
Encourages whistle blowing
Unable/ Unwilling to make distinction between
Attenuates its credibility
To prove unethical behaviour/ embarrass them?
E.g. U.S. believes Iran obtained advanced missiles from North Korea
No exposure of unethical behavior
Potentially damaging to national security and political ties.
INFORMATION ACCESS AND CONTROL
INFORMATION SECURITY AND PRIVACY
Materials should not be excluded regardless of origin
What about illegally obtained materials?
WikiLeaks is a means of exposing unethical behavior and abuse of power
“If secrecy of administrative documents is used to cover government misbehavior, especially inhuman conditions and killing of people, there must be legal grounds to overcome formal borders of secrecy. This has seen as a justified way to protect democratic society and citizen against secret arbitrary government power.”
Information access and control
Information security and privacy
Manipulation of information
Selective release of Information
WikiLeaks information not 100% objective and unadulterated
MANIPULATION OF INFORMATION
Majority of information released are from and about U.S.
Claimed: Information on corruption among Russian officials
Action: Never release
Action: Hosting on Russia Today - Owned by Russian government
Assange currently given asylum in Ecuador, which government has bad reputation suppressing free-speech.
Personal privacy issue
Threatens national security
Unnecessary tension & trouble
DEPENDS ON INDIVIDUAL'S POINT OF VIEW!
Did You Know
Singapore government’s opinion:
Singapore labor market does not require everyone to have a degree...
Hosting (Servers & DNS)
Protection of Data
Compromise of cables
Attacks on WikiLeaks due to objection of leaks
PRQ forced to cut off network route of WikiLeaks
EveryDNS infrastructure stability was threatened
Flood a website with fake hits in order to overwhelm its servers
A gives B a public key...
B encrypts message
using public key...
B sends encrypted message to A...
A decrypts the message using his private key...
Integrity of encrypted cables compromised
WikiLeaks sent the Guardian hidden URL and decryption key
Guardian publicized decryption key
Data security issue
Distributes transaction of information over several places on Internet
Cannot tell where data came from or where it is going to
Encryption and routing of network communications
Traffic analysis does not work
Released an “insurance file”, encrypted to make it impossible to open but free to download with WikiLeak’s intention of releasing the decryption key if anything were to happen to the organisation or to Julian Assange
a right to know!
Should truths & high confidentiality secrets be exposed to the market?
Life at risk!
Government has the rights to keep secrets
Wrong that the government allowed these documents to be stolen
Materials contain debatable materials, exposing them is the best thing to do for the society
Allows public to be aware of the issues and problems covered up by the government, corporations and organizations.
Increase in transparency between people
“a massacre of civilians in Afghanistan by the US military”
“5 GB from Bank of America” - planning massive leak from inside the private sector, involving “a big US bank” and revealing an “ecosystem of corruption”
Bank of America’s stock price to fall by 3%, and release “could take down a bank or two”
Random readers cannot edit
Investigative journalism: Thorough examination of submitted documents & forensic analyses of documents to verify
Collateral Murder Video
12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike
Selective editing to promote antiwar propaganda
Video without context
"seeking to manipulate and create 'maximum political impact'"
Leaking secret government information
Leaking names of special operational personnel and informants
Leaking of war information
Threatens their lives & their families lives
Threatens soldiers' lives
(E.g. Qaddafi's arm candy)
Corruption among Russian officials
Hosting Russian show owned by the government
Julian Assange given asylum in Ecuador
Where government suppresses free-speech
Lack of accountability
No considerations of consequences
No fear of receiving flak from government
Does not follow journalistic guidelines
Moving towards journalistic code of ethics
Cautious and responsible when publishing U.S. secret cables
Withheld whole documents at government's request
Unethical to use information that belongs to others
‘Right to know’ - Extended to all peoples in relation to all information
Irrespective of its source or ‘national identity’