Wikileaks threaten military "playbook"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

As new journalists, we're in the beginning to learn what kinds of journalism could end us in some trouble. On Friday, October 22, a journalist tested the limits of privacy, possibly putting the nation in danger.

A constant inflow of chatter on the topic of Wikileaks in all the major newspapers and social-media platforms is causing creator Julian Assange to search for cover.

Assange, described as having a "near genius IQ,"  has recently globally exposed almost 500,000 classified documents pertaining to the Iraq conflict on the site.

His justification for the act is in that the public has the right to know what the government is doing in terms of warfare. He argues that a transparent government is essential to a proper democracy. By knowing, the public is able to protect themselves and act in accordance to what each person feels is necessary in order to sustain personal welfare.

The government greatly disagrees with this logic, however. One angry blogger speaks for the government saying "The harm is in providing a whole bucketful of looks inside our operations, movements... basically giving the enemy bits and pieces of "our playbook!"

The website is considered to be highly dangerous because governments are unable to access the site in order to remove it.

This is no surprise consider that Assange has proven his extensive knowledge of computers.. In one instance, he escaped jail-time on 25 charges of computer hacking.

The information about the Afghan conflict was gathered from Private Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old former Army intelligence operative.

Assange and  Pfc. Bradley Manning are both in danger of facing legal consequences.

The debate among the public is whether Assange was really helping out the public or the nations at conflict more. The blogger mentioned previously made this statement, "Sorry "Mr. Assange" but you are NOT qualified to judge whether or not the information you released is in any way, shape or form harmful to any group or individual."

Assange is considered by Swedish citizens as the "James Bond of journalism." It's because of this that he is being "hunted down," as The New York Times puts it.

 This is a real example of how the power of press can lead to serious trouble with the law. Journalists can enjoy  limited freedom when it comes to what they say and how they say it.

Assange has committed one of the seven deadly sins of journalism: theft. The government did not give him permission to uncover those confidential documents on the Internet, but he did anyway and that's illegal.


Social Media Privacy Is A Problem

It was discovered last week that Facebook apps have been leaking user profile information to third parties on the web.

According to the article by Samuel Axon, when users would click on an ad on Facebook, or also on MySpace because the same happened there not too long ago, the site would leak profile information of the users who accessed the ad to that ad's company.

Axon points out that not only are Facebook and MySpace vulnerable to this problem but almost any social media site could be vulnerable.

The problem is an issue of privacy. Many social media sites will say that they offer their users a great deal of privacy protection yet there are still problems like this occurring.

People who do not want their private information going out to people they do not know can have a tough time controlling it. Mainly the reason they have a problem is that they do not know how to go about setting their privacy to correctly hide their information.

Also as the article points out the Internet is set up in a way that it allows companies to know the exact web address from where users click onto their ads. It is a problem that has been around forever but nobody really knows about it.

However in light of the social media boom and more personal information being displayed on the web it is becoming a more prevalent problem.

How do we go about fixing privacy on the Internet? That is a question that I cannot answer. I would love to see some sort of safeguard put into place to protect people's privacy, especially with social media outlets, but the odds of that happening are a long shot.

For the time being users just have to be smart. Take the time and read through the privacy rules and settings on your social media pages. Make sure you know the sites rules and you can then set your page to the setting you want. That, for now, is the only way you can help protect your personal information on your social media pages.


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