Twelve theses on WikiLeaks

by Geert LovinkPatrice Riemens

Thesis 0

“What do I think of WikiLeaks? I think it would be a good idea!” (after Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quip on “Western Civilization”)

Thesis 1

ture of all eras, however never before has a non-state or non- corporate affiliated group done anything on the scale of what WikiLeaks has managed to do, first with the “collateral murder” video, then the “Afghan War Logs”, and now “Cablegate”. It looks like we have now reached the moment that the quantitative leap is morphing into a qualitative one. When WikiLeaks hit the mainstream early in 2010, this was not yet the case. In a sense, the “colossal” WikiLeaks disclosures can be explained as the consequence of the dramatic spread of IT use, together with the dramatic drop in its costs, including for the storage of millions of documents. Another contributing factor is the fact that safekeeping state and corporate secrets – never mind private ones – has become difficult in an age of instant reproducibility and dissemination. WikiLeaks becomes symbolic for a transformation in the “information society” at large, holding up a mirror of things to come. So while one can look at WikiLeaks as a (political) project and criticize it for its modus operandi, it can also be seen as the “pilot” phase in an evolution towards a far more generalized culture of anarchic exposure, beyond the traditional politics of openness and transparency.

 

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