One of the the things I like about the concept of Wikileaks is having organizations dedicated to preventing propaganda, keeping the State on its toes knowing that someone is watching. I think a lot of people are going to have re-evaluate this concept in the Information Age to understand that a free flow of information can be good — my only concern is that an organization like Wikileaks can begin violating the privacy of private users just for the sake of accessing and disseminating information, or to try to ruin/silence political enemies — I guess some code of ethics is needed, and if players violate the ethics, then they can be exposed and excoriated for acting badly.
He’s right. We do need a code of ethics here. Hackers took down Visa.com and Mastercard.com because the companies cut off payments to Wikileaks. Is it mere vandalism? Or vigilante justice? For some perspective, it’s been pointed out that you could and still can make a donation to the KKK with your credit cards — on both services if I’m not mistaken.
On the one hand, we might say this exposes the hypocrisy of the credit card companies. On the other hand, why weren’t hackers taking them down for supporting the Klan? What gives, hackers? Are you really that cool with the Klan?
An obvious answer might be that giving money to Wikileaks right at this particular moment matters a whole lot. Things really seem to be at stake here — big things, things that will affect the course of states and the nature of government itself in the digital age. The decisions we make here will set us on a path, one of relatively more or less transparency, but also one of more or less state power. Wikileaks donations might matter in all of that. By contrast, perhaps giving money to the Klan is about as effective as eating it for dinner, at least these days.
If so, then we live in some interesting times. But also, maybe the credit card companies really are taking sides, not just being stupid or hypocritical. This doesn’t make the hackers’ actions any less illegal, of course. But they do become understandable as something much more than mere vandalism.