Wikileaks under DDOS attack on eve of new revelations [Comment]

Mike Halsey MVP
Nov 28, 2010
Updated • Nov 29, 2012

Tomorrow WikiLeaks is set to reveal a new series of classified US documents that have been sent by United States Embassies around the world.  The revelations set to shed new light on the country's relations with friendly and unfriendly states alike, and now the site itself has come under a distributed denial of service attack.

Despite reports that hackers are responsible for the attack there's no actual evidence one way or another, but it's raised important and pertinent questions about the information that's in the public domain and if there really is such a thing as "too much information".

Most people will agree that sometimes it's just better not to know a fact, and to live in ignorance of it.  The Human brain and conscience is only capable of processing so much which is why we choose to blank out certain events.

This was the case with the previous WikiLeaks revelations of documents from the Iraq war.  Most people chose to ignore the event and, as such, it went away.

Revelations about private discussions and thoughts from US Ambassadors and envoys from around the world though could have a much more serious impact.  This time it won't matter if the public choose to ignore the documents, other countries, friendly or otherwise will be pouring over them and you can be certain that there will be ammunition in there for everyone.

Extracts from the revelations, to add fuel to the fire, are also set to be published in tomorrow's papers  including El Pais in Spain, Le Monde in France, Speigel in Germany, The Guardian in the UK and the New York Times.

The latest round of leaks covers diplomats confidential views on countries including Australia, Britain, Canada, Israel, Russia and Turkey and, according to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange "covers every major issue in every country in the world".

Most heads of state will be sensible enough to take such matters on the chin, but it's the responses of fringe elemants in both friendly and unfriendly countries, and the roll on effects for years to come of the revelations that should cause the people of the world concern.

WikiLeaks has made its point, that the freedom of the Internet cannot be removed.  Now Julian Assange needs to stop, and stop quickly before his actions, and the actions of his staff cause an incident that will cost even so much as a single life.

It's all too easy for those of us who sit behind a screen making a living from the Internet to think only of ourselves, cocooned in our own safe little world.  It's harder to think that anything we say or do, or write, can have consequences for other people and perhaps even cause bloodshed... or worse.

This situation comes about because we've had the longest period of western peace in history and every day we see more and more countries working together towards common goals.  People like Assange have never witnessed first hand the horrors of war or suffering.  Consequently [we] they have no way to properly relate to it or understand it.

Some of the documents from Iraq exposed corruption and aided democracy.  That's great and I'm sure some of these documents will too, which is also great but you need to be careful. The information about the Saudi's wanting the US to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities neither exposes corruption nor aids democracy.  It's just salatious information that can only have the effect of making any such move to disarm Iran less likely.

This is why people like Assange are dangerous.  Power without responsibility is always dangerous and it is us, the people of the world, who will have to accept responsibility for this one man's actions.

I don't care tonight whether it is hackers or the US government that is trying to bring down this website.  I can only hope that they succeed.  Our freedoms, and the freedom of the Internet, do not need to come at such high a price as a person's life.


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