This is a tricky one to blog about without taking sides. US Government -v- Wikileaks. There are plenty of people talking about it, not so many taking sides for a few reasons…
An eye for an eye
Side with the US government and you’re an enemy of freedom and hackers. Not really of course, small fish are too small to go after so they can say what they want. If you’re paypal or mastercard however, you’re a very big fish and a lucrative target. Both sites were victims of DDOS attacks yesterday.
Dubbed ‘Operation Payback’, hackers and supporters of wikileaks retaliated against sites which pulled the plug on wikileaks donations services. It’s quite clear they were bullied in to doing so by the US government and i can’t really blame them either, they need to keep the US government on side at all costs, that’s where business is after all 😉
So on one side we have the US government flexing their muscles and cutting off vital supplies to wikileaks (cash donations, servers and domain names). On the other we have wikileaks and a growing army of hackers & supporters willing to join forces and attack sites which they feel have attacked wikileaks.
So in order to do my bit for wikileaks, i’ve set up… no, ok i haven’t… but somebody else has set up wikileaks.ie because wikileaks.org and several other extensions have been shut down ultimately by the US government applying pressure to registrars and hosts. Wikileaks.ie is basically a clone of the official wikileaks site and there are many others like it (By the way, a quick whois check will tell you who owns the site and a quick google will tell you all you need to know about them.)
This ‘shutdown’ was anticipated by wikileaks and they’ve asked for more support in the form of more servers and more domains which all mirror the official site. The reason being it’s easy to shut down one site, not so easy to shut down thousands in different countries – which is exactly the situation the US government now face.
This is the first real cyberwar being played out in front of us online. There’s a hell of lot at stake too. So far wikileaks have only released about 1,200 cables of the 250,000 they’ve promised to release. So the US government will be bracing themselves for more embarrassing leaks unless of course they can shut down wikileaks and all of it’s allies (which is impossible, unless they shut down the internet, which is again impossible, unless they nuke the world).
I feel the US government are fighting a losing battle. They won’t win this. They can’t. This is a situation beyond their control because the internet isn’t owned by them. They can do whatever the like and change whatever laws they like to suit themselves but they can’t get the world to change so easily. They certainly won’t gain friends with threats either. So they’re in a really tough spot right now.
In a nutshell all of these leaks are showing how the US Government have lied to it’s people over the past few years. They’re showing what is really going on behind closed doors and away from the cameras where everyone is smiling and patting backs and giving the illusion that everything is great and under control. You can argue that’s a good thing and it’s designed to protect the public but the truth always gets out, so it’s best to be open and honest. Even with our own Irish government, they lied to us a few weeks ago to protect us, ‘in our interest’… “we’re not getting a bailout, don’t need one”. A couple of weeks later what happened? Yeah…
If a government was one person, security of information could be guaranteed. The reality is the more people that are involved in anything, the weaker security becomes so as i’ve said before, you have to question WHY you need to secure information. What is there to hide? The best form of security is always no security at all if you can help it.
That’s why i think the US government should release all 250,000 cables themselves in one swoop. Overwhelm the media and the public, take the hit and move forward… it would give sites like wikileaks nothing to talk about which surely has to be the aim?