Welcome to the 21st Century!

Written By: - Date published: 9:11 am, December 3rd, 2010 - 12 comments
Categories: democratic participation, International, interweb - Tags:

Sometimes I find it hard to believe how the leaders of this world fail to comprehend what appears so obvious to me. What is happening with Wikileaks, or more appropriately, what is about to happen, appears to be playing out along the same lines as the rise and fall of Napster.

The 21st Century, or at least the years we have enjoyed so far, should go down in history as the information age. We have seen the rapid expansion of the internet, and along with it the rise of anonymity. Wikileaks created a platform whereby anyone can submit sensitive material without fearing that their identity may be revealed. This platform, in itself not a overly difficult feat for many hardcore programmers, can be compared to the creation of Napster. People got a sniff of the idea, which was then crushed by authorities, but not before the idea turned into a necessity for the masses.

Since Wikileaks released Collateral Murder, it has been swamped with submissions. This trend will only continue to surge, and it is not difficult to see why. The mainstream media has failed in their duty to uphold the virtues that a democracy demands, and now that citizens have seen a way in which they can partake in upholding some of the most fundamental values of democracy, accountability and transparency, they are taking action into their own hands.

Noam Chomsky sums the latest cable leaks best when he stated that it reveals a “profound hatred for Democracy on the part of our Political Leadership“.

When we analyse the response toward Wikileaks by the authorities, it seems logical that they condemn it; just as those who supposedly lost millions from the rise of Napster spoke out. However, if there is one thing that should be learnt from Napster and applied to the current situation, it’s that there will be no stopping the massive flood of sensitive information to the internet.

The authorities in this situation would be wise to tread carefully in the coming months, for them Wikileaks may seem like the enemy, yet in a few years time, Wikileaks could be seen retrospectively as the lesser of two evils. At least Wikileaks attempts harm minimization before they release information, and ensure that those affected by the leak are informed prior. It seems likely that Wikileaks will be brought down at some point, but it also seems inevitable that many similiar sites will pop up to replace it.

The inability to adapt during evolving circumstances seems to be something of a pre-requisite for most of our modern day leaders, with New Zealand being no exception. The situation with Wikileaks is merely one example of this inability, unfortunately it would be too easy to write a much larger list…


12 comments on “Welcome to the 21st Century!”

  1. r0b 1

    The mainstream media has failed in their duty to uphold the virtues that a democracy demands


    Interesting post RiJaB. But is Wikileaks (and similar) here to stay? You compare them to Napster, and where is Napster now? Instead we have iTunes…

    • Bright Red 1.1

      I think that’s the point. Wikileaks has let the genie out of the bottle like Napster did. Eventually the music industry realised it had to change its model by giving the Napster experience (well, an improved experience) while retaining the abiltiy to earn some money – Itunes, Youtube etc. And you can still get non-monetised musi from bit torrent, kazaa etc

      Likewise, smart governments are going to have to react to Wikileaks by becoming open by default because even if Wikileaks goes the idea is here to stay.

    • anarcho 1.2

      Yes iTunes is capitalism’s answer to filesharing, but of course – as suggested in the post – the cat is out of the bag and if you’re stil paying for movies or music then yr a sucker.

      Make sure yr running PeerBlock though… always one step ahead 🙂

    • freedom 1.3

      I believe it is clear RiJab’s referring to the nature of the service not the site itself, and there are no shortages of sites to gather music from, just like there will be no shortage of sites to gather information from.

      Many will pose the same problems as Music file sharing. The risk of a bad file, or a mislabelled download. (Worst ever was thinking i was getting Joy Division and got a bunch of elevator tracks.)

      Some people have a cruel sense of humour on the interwebz. This will no doubt continue to be expressed but one thing that should not be expressed is the global hunger for laws that remove the current freedom of the net. Most western nations have installed, or are in the process of installing numerous laws that heavily restrict the use of the net. It is primarily an attempt to control information which is of course completely necessary to retain complete social authority.

      In the US they are very close to getting a ‘Net Kill’ switch that will not only give it the assumed authority to close sites originating in the US but any site that uses US services in its distribution. Last week for example over seventy sites were shut down including a simple search engine that links to torrent sites, a function that Google also provides yet strangely without penalty.

      Luckily, as is the want of the interwebz, a bunch of clever folk are attempting new ways to secure the future of information freedom.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    Around the time the war memos were being leaked, wikileaks uploaded an encrypted 1 GB archive to their servers called “insurance”. This was subsequently downloaded and distributed throughout the world.

    If wikileaks is taken down, all that needs to come out is the decryption key, and who knows what is in that file. It seems likely all the forthcoming cables and other documents that they’ve hinted at are probably in it.

    So even if wikileaks is taken down, likely they will have one last laugh at the authorities.

  3. prism 3

    I heard media releases about items in the WLeaks and thought that anyone following political activities and attitudes would already know this stuff. Pakistan not being straightforward in its dealings, tempted to use its nuclear capacity etc. Can’t remember the summation by a British journo but something like ‘It tells us that bears live in the wild’ which I thought was an appropriate judgment.

    As for people’s lives being endangered or lost – a USA politician in a malicious fit of pique outed a USA woman agent for CIA or like, which ruined her cover and career and the effects would no doubt have spread to her contacts so they can leak what they like and damn the consequences to the state and the person. Then USA started a retributive war which was supposed to be over by Christmas but is still rolling with a high roll of deaths, injuries and hate on both sides, using USA solidiers who were peacetime recruits expecting just to be called out for Hurricane Katrina events. So do they care about endangering citizens? The words don’t connect with the actions.

  4. Lanthanide 4

    Seems the predictions in this post have already come to fruition:

    “A group of former members of WikiLeaks is planning to launch its own whistleblowing platform in mid-December, according to a German newspaper. The activists criticize WikiLeaks for concentrating too much on the US and want to take a broader approach.”


    captcha: promptly

  5. freedom 5

    Here is what Joe Lieberman wants for the Net
    Lieberman is the Seantor who got Amazon to dump Wikileaks from its servers

    Strange thing about the actions of Amazon is you kind of assume they believe in the right to free speech, considering the number of times they have gone to bat for the right to retain dodgy info on their servers. This buffet of information carried by Amazon includes IED construction, terrorist training manuals even Pedophilia guidebooks, but a site that shares corrupt and damning intelligence on the secret actions of a Government intent on deceiving its Allies and pushing the World into a Nuclear War, shit close that puppy down immediately. Amazon,YOU SUCK!!!

  6. Richard 6

    On the other hand, what wikileaks has leaked (thus far anyway, and including previous leaks) hasn’t really been *very* secret stuff.

    Assorted governments seem to be able to generally keep secret information like live force deployments, nuclear weapon activation codes, high level VIP travel itineraries, and so forth.

    What has been leaked thus far seems to be largely stuff that is “secret” more for bureacratic and face-saving/deniability reasons. There haven’t really been any shocking or operational secrets; it’s mostly stuff that is already more-or-less known, it is just normally unconfirmed.

    I would have thought that the US State Department (probably?) already operates on the assumption that this kind of widely distributed diplomatic cable service is compromised to some extent by foregin intelligence services anyway. It seems to me, that the stuff leaked via “cablegate” is stuff that State Dept. thought they could live with foreign intelligence services discovering; they’re just embarressed by the general public having apparently clear access to it.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Cablegate: US stole Afghan aid

      Back in 2007, they set up a “trust fund” to buy equipment for the Afghan army, and solicited donations from their NATO allies. They then transferred the money to the US treasury, sat on it, and charged a 15% “handling fee” into the bargain. Strangely, the Germans, who had donated 50 million Euro to the fund, weren’t too happy about this…

      No, not too scary yet but it is showing the corruption that exists at the highest levels of government.

  7. Jum 7

    Why can’t I access WikiLeaks?

    Thanks for the numbers; I’ve got them.

  8. Pascal's bookie 8

    This is funny; or as wikileaks tweets it:


    Utterly surreal: Pravda justifiably criticising US for trying to stifle a free press bit.ly/hD2zst How times change.


    They get a bunch of shit wrong, but hey it’s fucking Pravda (ferchrissakes) schooling the US government on the rule of law, human rights and the freedom of the press.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Alfred Ngaro might be sorry – but to whom?
    The fact that the number of people classified as homeless on the Social Housing Register has doubled over the past year alone should be the real reason for Alfred Ngaro’s recent apologies, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “As ...
    11 hours ago
  • Government’s data-for-funding backdown embarrassing
    The Government’s U-turn on their shambolic attempt to collect private client data from social services is an embarrassment for a senior Minister, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “After months of criticism and mismanagement, the Government has finally cut ...
    12 hours ago
  • Overloaded hospitals reach crisis point
      The country’s hospitals have reached breaking point with some hospitals discharging patients to free up bed space and patients with serious injuries having to wait hours to be seen by a doctor, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   ...
    12 hours ago
  • National fails on critical school building needs
    Students are paying the price of the Government’s failure to invest fast enough in school buildings to keep pace with Auckland’s increasing population, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Parents should lay the blame for their children having to put up ...
    19 hours ago
  • Tipping culture is not welcome in NZ
    Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett’s comments about tipping have been in the news and have sparked off a series of furious discussions about tipping in Aotearoa. From our point of view, tipping every time you’re provided a service is a ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 day ago
  • Mental Health a huge cost for Police
      The cost of dealing with mental health incidents for our police was a staggering $36.7 million which shows just why we need Labour’s fresh approach on Mental Health, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “Police now ...
    2 days ago
  • Grant Robertson: Speech to Otago-Southland Employers Association
    Thanks to the Otago Southland Employers Association and Virginia for hosting me this evening.  It is always a pleasure to come back to the city and region that shaped who I am as a person. I believe that growing up ...
    2 days ago
  • Renting a home in the Wild West
    It can be tough renting a place to live, and it could be about to get tougher. Radio NZ is reporting that the American Rentberry app wants to start operating in New Zealand. Rentberry allows landlords to play perspective tenants ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    2 days ago
  • Free West Papua leader in Aotearoa
    Last week I hosted Free West Papua leader Benny Wenda at Parliament and travelled with him to a number of important events. Benny is spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and lives in exile in England. 14 ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    4 days ago
  • Nats unprepared for record immigration
    National’s under-investment in housing, public services, and infrastructure means New Zealand is literally running out of beds for the record number of new migrants, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour opposes Ports of Auckland sale
    Labour would strongly oppose the sell-off of the Ports of Auckland to fix a short term cash crisis caused by the Government blocking the city’s requests for new ways to fund infrastructure, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “National ...
    1 week ago
  • Workers pay the price of Silver Fern’s Fairton closure
    The threatened closure of Silver Fern Farms’ Fairton Plant in Ashburton raises serious questions about the Government’s support of the sale of half of the company to a foreign company, when it appears this outcome may have been inevitable, says ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s answer to the housing crisis: One new affordable house per 100 new Aucklanders
    National’s fudge of a housing plan will make Auckland even more of a speculators’ paradise, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    1 week ago
  • Government can’t be trusted with private data
    The independent review of the Ministry of Social Development’s data breach in April has shown, once again, that the Ministry cannot be trusted with private client information, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “The investigation by former Deloitte chairman ...
    1 week ago
  • Another crisis, another half-baked National plan
    The National Party may have finally woken up to the teacher supply crisis facing our schools but their latest half-baked, rushed announcement falls well short of the mark in terms of what’s required, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you
    Alfred Ngaro’s recent comments have exposed the Government’s ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ approach, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • Breaking news – National admits there’s a housing crisis
    National finally admits there’s a housing crisis, but today’s belated announcement is simply not a credible response to the problem it’s been in denial about for so long, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National can’t now credibly claim ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats lay the ground for housing bust
    Goldman Sachs’ warning that New Zealand has the developed world’s most over-priced housing market, with a 40 per cent chance of a bust within two years, shows the consequences of National’s nine years of housing neglect, says Labour Housing spokesperson ...
    1 week ago
  • Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?
    Property investors’ lobby groups have been up in arms this week about Labour and Green parties’ plans to close tax loopholes and fix the housing market. That’s probably a good thing. Like an investor in any other sector, they expect ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 week ago
  • Alfred Ngaro reflects National’s culture of silencing debate
    Image from Getty Images Community groups must be free to advocate for the people they serve. It’s these people who see first-hand if ideas dreamt up in Wellington actually work on the ground. It’s essential that they can speak freely ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Bill English must reassure community organisations
    The Prime Minister must do more to reassure community organisations after Cabinet Minister Alfred Ngaro's apparent threats to their funding if they criticise government policy which has left a born-to-rule perception amongst many, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Alfred Ngaro ...
    1 week ago
  • Extremism and its discontents
    Another scar on global democracy appeared recently, this time in Germany.It seems that the number of soldiers on duty with extremist political leanings has become a concern to the military leadership in that country. Soldiers were found openly possessing ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • Government’s suicide approach disappoints
    Mike King’s sudden departure from the Government’s suicide prevention panel, amid claims the Government’s approach is ‘deeply flawed’, is further evidence National is failing on mental health, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. “Mental health is reaching crisis point in ...
    1 week ago
  • National backs speculators, fails first home buyers
    National is showing its true colours and backing speculators who are driving first home buyers out of the market, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “By defending a $150m a year hand-out to property speculators, Bill English is turning his back ...
    1 week ago
  • More oversight by Children’s Commissioner needed
    More funding and more independence is required for the Children’s Commissioner to function more effectively in the best interests of Kiwi kids in State care, says Labour’s spokesperson for children Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to end tax breaks for speculators; invest in warm, healthy homes
    Labour will shut down tax breaks for speculators and use the savings to help make 600,000 homes warmer and healthier over the next ten years, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “It’s time for fresh thinking to tackle the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Health of young people a priority for Labour
    Labour will ensure all young people have access to a range of health care services on-site at their local secondary school, says Labour’s deputy leader Jacinda Ardern. “Our policy will see School Based Health Services extended to all public secondary ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratifying the TPPA makes no sense
    The recent high-fiving between the government and agricultural exporters over ratification of the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) is empty gesture politics in an election year. Ratification by New Zealand means nothing. New Zealand law changes are not implemented unless the ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    2 weeks ago
  • NIWA report proves National’s trickery re swimmable rivers
    National have a slacker standard for swimmable rivers than was the case prior to their recent so-called Clean Water amendment to the National Policy Statement (NPS), says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. “The table 11 on page 25 of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • MPS shows new approach needed on housing
    The Reserve Bank’s latest Monetary Policy Statement provides further evidence that only a change in government will start to fix the housing crisis, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is more evident than ever that only a Labour-led government ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fresh approach on mental health
    Labour will introduce a pilot scheme of specialist mental health teams across the country in government to ensure swifter and more effective treatment for those who need urgent help, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little. “Mental health is in crisis. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sallies back Labour’s plan for affordable homes
    The country’s most respected social agency has endorsed Labour’s KiwiBuild plan to build homes that families can afford to buy, and delivered a withering assessment of the National Government’s housing record, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Education is for everyone, not just the elite
    Proposals by the National Party to ration access to higher education will once again make it a privilege only available to the elite, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Speaking at the Education Select Committee, Maurice Williamson let the National ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cancer support changes far too little, certainly late
    Anne Tolley’s belated backtrack to finally allow Jobseeker clients suffering from cancer to submit only one medical certificate to prove their illness fails to adequately provide temporary support for people too sick to work, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kids must come first in enrolment debate
    The best interests of children should be the major driver of any change to policies around initial school enrolments, not cost cutting or administrative simplicity, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.   “The introduction of school cohort entry is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Feed the Kids
    While in Whangarei last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Buddhi Manta from the Hare Krishna movement whose cafe is making lunch for some schools in Whangarei. His group have been feeding up to 1,000 primary school kids at local ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • DHBs’ big budget blowout
    New Zealand’s District Health Boards are now facing a budget deficit of nearly $90 million dollars, a significant blowout on what was forecast, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   Labour believes health funding must grow to avoid further cuts ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt plays catch up on drug funding
    The Government's backdown on Pharmac is welcomed because previous rhetoric around the agency being adequately funded was just nonsense, says Labour's Health spokesperson David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour to build affordable homes in Hamilton
    Labour will build 200 affordable KiwiBuild houses and state houses on unused government-owned land as the first steps in our plan to fix Hamilton’s housing crisis, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “We will build new houses to replace ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Mental Health waiting times a growing concern
    There is new evidence that the Mental Health system is under increasing strain with waiting times for young people to be seen by mental health and addiction services lengthening says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “Following yesterday’s seat of ...
    3 weeks ago