wikileaks

You are currently browsing articles tagged wikileaks.

Back in February I spoke at the “Freedom of Information? panel held in Redfern by Recordkeeping Roundtable. I’ve previously posted the audio of my contribution. Here’s a transcript.

Recordkeeping Roundtable’s website has the raw transcript as supplied, but I’ve decided to edit it up a little to make it more readable. Enjoy.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Recordkeeping Roundtable panel “Freedom of Information?” held on 29 February was recorded, and here’s the audio.

The promo, as I told you earlier said:

In a connected world where information sharing is easier and has more impact than ever before, is the current framework of FOI, information security, privacy and archives laws and practices delivering the information society needs in a timely and appropriate way? This panel discussion will be about:

  • assessing the effectiveness of current information access and security laws and methods — are they hopelessly broken?
  • the culture of secrecy and withholding by government agencies
  • how technology and activism offer those with the skills and motivation some alternative and very powerful ways to access and reveal information, and
  • what can be done to address the current state of things and move to better ways of making information available when and where it’s needed.

I was the first speaker, talking about the new, disorderly ways of liberating information, using the Anonymous crack of Stratfor as an example. Since then, though, we’ve discovered that the whole thing might have been an FBI sting operation against WikiLeaks!

Recordkeeping Roundtable has posted the audio of the entire event: opening remarks by moderator Cassie Findlay; me; the speech by former diplomat Dr Philip Dorling, who now leads the journalistic pack in FOI stuff; the speech by Tim Robinson, Manager, Archives and Records Management Services at the University of Sydney; and the question and answer session.

Here, though, is a tweaked and slightly less bandwidth-hungry version of my speech.

Play

[The original audio recording by Cassie Findlay was sampled at 44.1kHz. This version has the audio levels compressed and normalised, and re-sampled to 22.050kHz. It's posted here under a Creative Commons BY-SA license.]

[Update 26 May 2012: A transcript of what I said is now available.]

If you were planning to attend the Recordkeeping Roundtable panel “Freedom of Information?” on Tuesday 22 February, well, it’s now on Wednesday 29 February. See my original post for the rest of the details, which remain unchanged.

17 February 2012 by Stilgherrian | Permalink

On Tuesday 21 Wednesday 29 February 2012 I’m on the panel for “Freedom of information?”, presented by the Recordkeeping Roundtable.

The promo sayeth:

In a connected world where information sharing is easier and has more impact than ever before, is the current framework of FOI, information security, privacy and archives laws and practices delivering the information society needs in a timely and appropriate way? This panel discussion will be about:

  • assessing the effectiveness of current information access and security laws and methods — are they hopelessly broken?
  • the culture of secrecy and withholding by government agencies
  • how technology and activism offer those with the skills and motivation some alternative and very powerful ways to access and reveal information, and
  • what can be done to address the current state of things and move to better ways of making information available when and where it’s needed.

I think I’ll be rabbiting on about the internet and stuff. Information security, digital distribution, authentication of records, WikiLeaks, Anonymous. That sort of thing.

My fellow panelists are former diplomat Dr Philip Dorling, who now leads the journalistic pack in FOI stuff; and Tim Robinson, Manager, Archives and Records Management Services at the University of Sydney. The moderator is Cassie Findlay, Recordkeeping Roundtable co-founder and digital archivist.

It’s at the Australian Technology Park, Redfern, Sydney, and doors open at 5.30pm for a 6.00pm start. It wraps at 7.30pm for dinner. Admission is $5 and you should probably register.

[Update 16 February: Date changed to 29 February, as Dr Dorling must alas attend a funeral on the original date.]

On Wednesday afternoon, LulzSec and Anonymous joined forces to encourage people to boycott PayPal by withdrawing their money and closing their accounts.

The back story is that PayPal has cut off WikiLeaks’ account, meaning that people could no longer donate money to WikiLeaks via PayPal. Anonymous launched distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against PayPal. Last week the FBI and others arrested people alleged to have been responsible for those attacks. So this week, the boycott of PayPal.

The joint statement by LulzSec and Anonymous makes for interesting reading. It describes DDoS attacks as “ethical, modern cyber operations”. Such things are actually a criminal act, despite what Anonymous may imagine the law to be. “Law enforcement continues to push its ridiculous rules upon us,” they write, when it’s not law enforcement who makes the laws, but governments.

The call for the boycott was unfolding as Triple J’s current affairs program Hack was going to air, and I phoned in a report. Here’s the audio.

Play

I found it interesting that presenter Tom Tilley responded to my comment that DDoS is a crime by saying “Yeah I imagine there’d be people with lots of different points of view about what they’re doing and whether it’s indeed lawful.”. Personally I reckon the law in this is pretty clear. Pandering to their audience?

The audio is ©2011 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It has been extracted from the full program audio [MP3].

A couple weeks ago I wrote that Andrew Fowler’s biography of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, The Most Dangerous Man in the World, was failing to impress. I persisted reading, however, and things got better.

My main gripe then was that just 41 pages into the narrative I was getting the distinct impression that Melbourne University Press hadn’t assigned an editor who had the faintest grasp of internet technology, history and culture. I listed a bunch of what, to me, were glaring errors.

However once we get past Assange’s earlier hacker life and into more recent material, which is more about interpersonal relationships and international politics, the book is significantly stronger. Indeed, The Most Dangerous Man in the World does a good job of tying together the various threads of the Assange and WikiLeaks stories, and even buries on page 217 an important revelation — if it is a revelation.

I have been reliably told that ASIO played an active part in the investigation into Assange, trawling through his life and activities in Australia. But what must be just as worrying for him, and has also never been revealed before, is the fact that the inquiry also included officers from ASIS, Australia’s overseas intelligence agency, which has strong links with the US.

Personally I’m not surprised by that news one bit. That’s just the intelligence organisations doing their jobs of investigating perceived threats to national security, as should be expected. But given how some folks get all frothed up whenever they discover that spooks are involved, I’m wondering why this wasn’t given more prominence.

The book still has some curious wording, such as on page 147 where WikiLeaks is described as “a child of the anarchic blogosphere”. I’m not sure that’s the right heritage to stress and, as I wrote before, Robert Manne’s free-to-read essay in The Monthly does a much better job of capturing Assange’s and WikiLeaks’ cypherpunk roots. On page 165 there’s a reference to “what’s known as the DefCon conference”, as if there’s some doubt as to the name of one of the longest-running and most-respected hacker events on the planet. And there’s still plenty of that sloppy editing I referred to, such as the Chaos Computer Club being explained twice.

Nevertheless, reading The Most Dangerous Man in the World will give you the core narratives. Just be aware that the technical and cultural descriptions are wobbly, and use it to get the timelines straight in your head.

Warning! I bought Andrew Fowler’s biography of WikiLeaks front man Julian Assange, The Most Dangerous Man in the World, ‘cos it’s a bestseller with good reviews. But just 41 pages in, I’m feeling like I’ve done my dough.

If I’m paying money for a book — especially when it’s written by someone billed as an “award-winning investigative journalist” and published by a prestigious imprint like Melbourne University Press — I have two basic but very simple requirements. The book should tell me more than I already know. And it shouldn’t tell me things I know to be wrong.

Quite frankly, after the first 41 pages I’m wondering whether MUP had assigned to this book an editor who had the faintest grasp of internet technology, history and culture. Shall we run through some of the problems?

Read the rest of this entry »

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. This time I’m making up for the recent slow weeks with a whole bunch of material from the RSA Conference on information security.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 76, “The end of the open internet?” “I think the age of the deeply competitive internet is over,” says author and telecommunications lawyer, Tim Wu. “The next five years is going to be a story of the big four or big five.” This podcast contains the complete interview with the author of The Master Switch: The rise and fall of information empires, sections of which were quoted in the stories below.
  • The next episode of Patch Monday is all about the RSA Conference, cyberwar, and Microsoft’s call for what referring to as “collective defence”. I’ve already completed that episode, and you’ll be able to grab it late Monday morning Sydney time over at the Patch Monday podcast stream.

Articles

Corporate Largesse

  • My trip to San Francisco for the RSA Conference was paid for by Microsoft.

Elsewhere

Most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

[Photo: Cincinnati nerdcore act Dual Core performing at the Electronic Frontiers Foundation’s 21st birthday party in San Francisco on 16 February 2011.]

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. It’s a bit thin this week, thanks to the Australia Day holiday, clearing junk out of the house before moving, and the ridiculous heat Sydney is experiencing at the moment.

Articles

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 73, “Inside Intel’s second-generation core”. My guest is systems architect Benno Rice.

Media Appearances

  • On Sunday I was a guest on the Parity Bit video podcast. At least the recording was on Sunday afternoon. It’s likely to be the early hours of Monday before the episode appears online. I will update this post to link directly to the podcast once it’s online. And here it is.

Geekery

Corporate Largesse

Elsewhere

Most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

[Photo: Assange's Truth is Out There, a paste-up on the old post office on Enmore Road, Enmore in Sydney, featuring WikiLeaks' Julian Assange and the old X-Files slogan, photographed 28 January 2011.]

[Updated 8.40pm to link to the Parity Bit podcast.]

[Updated 31 January 2011 to link to the Parity Bit podcast on the program website rather than YouTube.]

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets — which actually covers two weeks because of various distractions.

Articles

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 71, “Avoiding Vodafone’s Wikileaks moment”. Paul Ducklin, who is Sophos’ head of technology for the Asia-Pacific region, reckons Vodafone’s problem is much like the US government’s with WikiLeaks: too many people have logins which give them access to too much stuff. Our conversation covered what organisations should be doing to avoid a disaster like Vodafone’s happening to them.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • Donations to the Artemis Medical Fund included $100 from online accounting software provider Saasu and $50 from an elected NSW politician from the Australian Labor Party.

Elsewhere

Most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

[Photo: Apparently Not, a no-stopping sign demolished by a vehicle that didn't stop. Stanmore Road, Petersham, on 6 January 2011.]

« Older entries