Dec 8, 2010

World Wide Mobbing

Everything is said about Wikileaks (and one face behind it).
We know now: they are the incarnation of Evil - or the saviour of free speech. No shades of gray.
The debate is pure hysteria - on both sides.
Imagine a second platform for whistleblowers popping up. That platform, let's call it TheNakedTruth (TNT), co-publishes wikileaks data. It gets tremendous media-attention as it then goes on to reveal a treasure trove of classified cables on international business-connections that some anonymous insider compiled - with rich personal detail on well-known business leaders, evidence for dark paths into government... and documents demonstrating the manipulation of the western free press by shadowy interest groups with ties to rogue states in the east.
Just imagine! Some would be shocked, others less surprised by the revelations.
But what a discovery! What a public service! A victory for free speach, a glimmer of hope for democracy! Let there be a thousand Wikileaks!
All becomes strange, however, as TNT publishes evidence that the Wikileaks informant was manipulated, that parts of the diplomatic cables were omitted, altered, others completely made up. So, TNT has an agenda, right? Either their information is wrong, or Wikileaks stuff is indeed invented.
But wait, invented compared to what? What did we check the Wikileaks' 'information' against? Not even Wikileaks claims to have corroborated their facts (how could they?). They did not check the validity of their sources. Julian Assange believes "As long as they [the documents] are bona fide it doesn't mater where they come from". Well.
The hysteric reaction of the political caste lends some credibility to the documents. But is this enough? Will it be enough if destructive pseudoinformation is launched in a similar way by interest groups of various kind? The doors are open for world-wide-mobbing.
The validity of 'data' can not be deduced from it's popularity or click-rate. A fundamental difference between factoids and facts lies in the corroboration of sources and information. There is nothing like that in Wikileaks to date. While there is reason to believe that the wikileaks-folks are the 'good guys' if information is not validated there remains ample space for bad-guys to use selective and tailored information for their goals.

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