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A New Kind of Leaker for an Internet Age (NYT)
What does a leaker look like? Sometimes, people who reveal secrets remain in the shadows, and the public is left to guess at their motivations, agendas and states of mind. Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old man behind the recent revelations about the National Security Agency’s pursuit of phone and computer data, upended that history. He is a new kind of leaker of the wired age: an immediately visible one with a voice and the means to go direct with the public. In a era of friction-free Web communication, he disdained the shadows and stepped into view with a lengthy video interview he gave to The Guardian, which broke the story based on information he provided. He stated his motivation plainly, saying, “The public needs to decide whether these programs and policies are right or wrong.” HuffPost / The Backstory The Guardian has labeled Snowden a whistleblower after the NSA contractor revealed himself Sunday as the source for several recent surveillance scoops. But some news organizations have been less quick to describe Snowden as a “whistleblower,” opting instead for terms like “source” or “leaker.” The Washington Post / Erik Wemple News organizations’ hesitancy to use “whistleblower” may well derive from the term’s meaning. According to this definition, a whistleblower is an “informant who exposes wrongdoing within an organization in the hope of stopping it.” Clearly Snowden was looking to stop something here, but whether it was wrongdoing depends on whether you’re director of national intelligence James Clapper or, say, a civil liberties advocate. The Guardian Snowden is a “hero” who has exposed “one of the most serious events of the decade — the creeping formulation of a mass surveillance state,” Julian Assange said on Monday. The WikiLeaks founder said the question of surveillance abuses by states and tech companies was “something that I and many other journalists and civil libertarians have been campaigning about for a long time. It is very pleasing to see such clear and concrete proof presented to the public.” The New Yorker / Daily Comment He is a grandiose narcissist who deserves to be in prison. The American government, and its democracy, are flawed institutions. But our system offers legal options to disgruntled government employees and contractors. They can take advantage of federal whistleblower laws; they can bring their complaints to Congress; they can try to protest within the institutions where they work. But Snowden did none of this. Instead, in an act that speaks more to his ego than his conscience, he threw the secrets he knew up in the air — and trusted, somehow, that good would come of it. We all now have to hope that he’s right.
Posts Tagged ‘Julian Assange’
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News surrounding Julian Assange and WikiLeaks has been quiet of late. So it looks like Assange has decided to make his own news. Starting in March, the WikiLeaks founder is going to host his own interview TV show.
The theme of the show? “The world tomorrow.”
Says Assange: “Through this series I will explore the possibilities for our future in conversations with those who are shaping it. Are we heading towards utopia, or dystopia and how we can set our paths? This is an exciting opportunity to discuss the vision of my guests in a new style of show that examines their philosophies and struggles in a deeper and clearer way than has been done before.”
The series is set for 10 half-hour episodes and will air weekly. WikiLeaks says that “licensing commitments cover over 600 million viewers across cable, satellite and terrestrial broadcast networks,” but gives no specifics about where the show will air.
San Francisco based TechCrunch writer Alexia Tsotsis (pictured) has a funny item about her efforts to find out the nature of a new start-up being put together in Sin City by her former blog mate Paul Carr.
Turns out Carr is not so talkative now that he’s on the other end of the 2.0 reporting equation. However, after Tsotsis refused to take no-comment for an answer, he sent her an email listing 25 areas of focus his start-up will not be involved with. These include:
5. Giving a shit about your social graph
8. A browser plugin that explains to blog readers why something “is news”
14. Publishing a newspaper
15. Creating a crowdsourced database of Julian Assange’s hypocrisies
21. A microblog platform for public resignations
In this week’s episode of 5 Things You Need to Know This Week, we give a lesson on human reproduction, talk about the U.S. Open, sit down with Julian Assange, and, oh yeah, cover that Irene thing everyone’s been talking about.
The New Statesman reports:
The internet activist and founder of whistleblower website, WikiLeaks, has been awarded the highly prestigious Martha Gelhorn Prize for Journalism 2011.
The prize is presented annually to a journalist “whose work has penetrated the established version of events and told an unpalatable truth that exposes establishment propaganda, or ‘official drivel’, as Martha Gelhorn called it.”
The judges ruled unanimously in favour of Julian Assange, whose work in exposing classified information to the public was described as “a truth-telling that has empowered people all over the world.”
Although Pornwikileaks.com deals with matters far less sensitive than those discussed in international diplomatic cables, the fallout is potentially very serious for the thousands of adult film stars whose true identities have been exposed.
A representative for the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM), the Sherman Oaks clinic suspected of being the source of the leaked XXX actor name, address and – in some cases – relatives information, confirms to NBC Los Angeles they have launched a full investigation and will consider pressing charges. Meanwhile, Guy Adams, LA correspondent for the Independent, suggests the breach could be particularly damaging to former adult stars now working in the conventional job world. He also frames the anonymous operator(s) of Pornwikileaks.com as being a far cry from Julian Assange:
No one knows what motivated the creator of Porn Wikileaks, which is amateurish and Thursday struggled to cope with a sudden surge in traffic. The site is registered in the Netherlands, apparently by a disgruntled member of the “porn press”, and describes the purpose of its existence as being a “media organization” devoted to making the industry more transparent.
This is the first in depth interview Assange has done and it’s a dichotomy of media. New school interviewed by old school. The new tech journalist pushing the activist envelope on a show that employs the oldest weekly commentator in the history of the universe, Andy Rooney.
American blowhards want to see Julian Assange assassinated. Tucker Carlson wants to see Michael Vick executed. All denounce terrorism. They condemn “extremists” and jihadists, but like to use the same rhetoric as the terrorists.
Case in point for the NYT:
The police in Sweden and Denmark arrested five men on Wednesday suspected of plotting an “imminent” attack against at least one Danish newspaper that published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in 2005, according to security officials in those countries.
We asked newspaper cartoonist Rob Tornoe what he thinks of a plot to blowup a newspaper for publishing something offensive. “It’s sad that we continue to live in a world where freedom of expression itself can be such a dangerous thing, ” Tornoe tells FBLA. “I think reasonable people could argue about the judgment and motifs of the Danish artists who decided to draw the prophet Muhammad back in 2005 for Jyllands-Posten. However, people who are willing to assassinate cartoonists or blow up newspapers for expressing their views seems to validate the criticisms in the first place.”
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