Pre-show notes for Rebooting the News Dec. 6, 2010

In Podcast on December 6, 2010 by Jay Rosen

Rebooting the News #75 will be recorded today at noon ET. (UPDATE: The show is now available for download here.)

I am publishing some of the notes I made for the show as a kind of preview. Who knows where the discussion will go?

As Dave said Dec. 3rd, “We’re having a Rebooting The News moment here with WikiLeaks.” Indeed. Now we now how the open Net comes crashing down.

* First came the denial of service attacks.
* Next, Amazon Web Services kicked Wikileaks off its cloud servers.
* Then it was, which stopped serving the domain
* Then Tableau Software removed data visualizations Wikileaks had running there.
* Then PayPal started choking off the air supply: donations.
* The U.S. Library of Congress got into the act.
* You know who’s not on this list? Twitter.

Reporters Without Borders statement on Wikileaks: “This is the first time we have seen an attempt at the international community level to censor a website dedicated to the principle of transparency. We are shocked to find countries such as France and the United States suddenly bringing their policies on freedom of expression into line with those of China. We point out that in France and the United States, it is up to the courts, not politicians, to decide whether or not a website should be closed.”

Dave at Scripting News: “When does the situation reach equilibrium? What’s the best outcome for the people of the planet? It seems to me that at the end of this chain is BitTorrent…. when WikiLeaks wants to publish the next archive, they can get their best practice from, and have 20 people scattered around the globe at the ends of various big pipes ready to seed it. Once the distribution is underway the only way to shut it down will be to shut down the Internet itself.”

@xenijardin writes on Twitter: Great idea “@hrana: surprised @wikileaks hasn’t set up utorrent compatible RSS feed to automatically distribute updated #cablegate archives”

Wired in July:

“In the wake of strong U.S. government statements condemning WikiLeaks’ recent publishing of 77,000 Afghan War documents, the secret-spilling site has posted a mysterious encrypted file labeled ‘insurance.’ The huge file, posted on the Afghan War page at the WikiLeaks site, is 1.4 GB and is encrypted with AES256. The file’s size dwarfs the size of all the other files on the page combined. The file has also been posted on a torrent download site.”

Assange is quoted as follows: ““We have over a long period of time distributed encrypted backups of material we have yet to release. All we have to do is release the password to that material, and it is instantly available.”

Dave looks to the Berkman Center: “Is it time to ‘do something’ to create a haven for the free web?”

Stowe Boyd, commenting to Cloud Computing Journal, looks to the Greenpeace model:

“I think ultimately WikiLeaks should become a global non-profit like Greenpeace, specifically organized to accomplish certain goals for the sake of the world, like exposing who is funding political action when laws allow it to be concealed (as in the US), or exposing the inner workings of unregulated or barely regulated industries… It should be organized like Greenpeace, as a federation of non-profits in the various countries, supported by activists in the member countries. Wikileaks is not organized in that fashion today, and it should be.”

Hal Roberts at the Berkman Center site on Distributed Denial of Service (ddos) attacks:

“Independent media sites are not capable of independently defending themselves of large, network based ddos attacks. There are many things an independent site can do to protect itself against smaller ddos attacks that target specific application vulnerabilities (including simply serving static content), but the problem with a large, network based attack is that it will flood the link between the targeted site and the rest of the Internet, usually causing the hosting ISP to take the targeted site down entirely to protect the rest of its network. Defending against these large network attacks requires massive amounts of bandwidth, specific and deep technical experience, and often connections to the folks running the networks where the attacks are originating from…”

Simon Jenkins in The Guardian: “Disclosure is messy and tests moral and legal boundaries. It is often irresponsible and usually embarrassing. But it is all that is left when regulation does nothing, politicians are cowed, lawyers fall silent and audit is polluted. Accountability can only default to disclosure.”

Time’s Joe Klein: “If a single foreign national is rounded up and put in jail because of a leaked cable, this entire, anarchic exercise in ‘freedom’ stands as a human disaster. Assange is a criminal. He’s the one who should be in jail.”

New York Times public editor: Assange is scum, and the Times did a great job publishing the documents he gave to the press.

Jay: A journalist I know wrote to me today: “I’ve thinking about your wikileaks posts – the project I’m working on now concerns a large government database that was leaked to us. We’ve been doing months of reporting to find the personal stories, connect the dots and get photos. A dilemma we face is how to release as much of the information as possible, and allow users to add to what we have, without putting the source or the newspaper in greater legal risk. It’s not a new problem, but wikileaks — and the imperative of getting as much of the info out as possible – is on everyone’s mind.”

Jay: still the best thing I have read for understanding Assange and Wikileaks. Alan Bady (zunguzungu) Julian Assange and the Computer Conspiracy; “To destroy this invisible government”.

Dave at Scripting News: Boycott of Amazon? Not doing it.

At Jay’s Posterous, Dec. 4: Julian Assange Ducks the Question A Lot of Us Have About Wikileaks. 12,000 views and 130 comments as of showtime.

Jay’s video, Dec. 2: The watchdog press failed; what we have is Wikileaks instead.

Jay’s PressThink post from July: The world’s first stateless news organization.

3 Responses to “Pre-show notes for Rebooting the News Dec. 6, 2010”

  1. […] schlägt zurück. Jay Rosen, The Watchdog Press Died (Video, 14 min). Jay Rosen/Dave Winer, Rebooting the News #75. David Samuels, The Shameful Attacks on Julian Assange. Micah Sifry, Freedom of the Press is […]

  2. […] Pre-show notes for today’s Rebooting the News, starting in 21 minutes. […]

  3. I see Assange as a social activist, much like Gandhi or MLK Jr., but instead of passive resistance, he’s leverage the multiplier that the Internet technology now allows for. He is in effect the Amazon of social activism. The problem for him is that he’s not as public-conscious as and the public is indifferent.

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