I have a fair amount of ‘spare’ server space, and some very understanding service providers, and so it makes sense for me to mirror things in general, which I do. So when Wikileaks went down, mirroring it seemed quite a natural response. They need mirrors, and I have a mirror. I’ve been looking for something to do with my youcanstickitupyourarse.com domain for a while, and this seemed like a good bet.
Also in favour is the fact that Wikileaks is being a bit of a pain to a few institutions (well, governments) that annoy the crap out of me; I’d not mind being part of that. In addition, the huge majority of the released cables appear to be of no interest whatsoever, and the large governmental opposition to them has only served to increase the perception of their importance. I’d like as many people as possible to be able to read them such that they can judge for themselves how interesting they are. The point appears to be less what’s been found out and more that anything has at all.
But I have concernes, too. Firstly, these cables were all sent on the basis they were confidential, so they naturally contain the sort of information that neither end wants made public. I’m already livid at the apparent acceptance of just anybody being able to subject me to surveillance, and I don’t see why embassy staff should necessarily be treated differently. The argument that they work for the government is moot – millions of privately-employed people do work for the government, and they also should have a right to an expectation of privacy. I honestly have no problem at all with governments talking to each other in privacy, it seems to be quite a natural way of working and is not at all contrary to the idea of an open government.
Second, and of more concern than that, is the sort of things these people are likely to be sticking down encrypted tunnels. I don’t want to inadvertently find myself hosting a document that results in an informant being tortured or killed. I don’t really want to be party to releasing information that only serves to embarras or otherwise compromise someone. I don’t want *anyone* to do that, but I’ve only got control over my servers.
That’s all well and good, you say. Wikileaks are sifting through these and specifically redacting anything they deem not fit for release. That’s some hubris right there.
And here’s the difference. I trust the Debian project, and Canonical, the Perl foundation, Zend and the like, to not put things I disagree with on my server. I do not trust Wikileaks in this respect at all.
The whole ‘Collateral Murder‘ release is a great example of Wikileaks not releasing information for the sake of it being free, but releasing specifically compromising information, with a decidedly skewed context, in order to further some particular viewpoint. That video, or perhaps its commentary, removed the bulk of my respect for Wikileaks. Why on earth would I assume they’re not going to similarly skew the releases here also? Wikileaks does have a stated aim they’re pursuing with all the leaking; it’s not just because they feel information should be free.
So, it’s not that I’ve got some opposition to the leaking, or feel that it shouldn’t be mirrored. It’s just that I don’t feel I can trust Wikileaks to only publish what I think should be published, and picking-and-choosing which bits to host is not how a mirror works.