WikiLeaks: are we witnessing Cyberspace’s Siege of Leningrad?

This question never seems to go away. When is a freedom fighter not a terrorist?
Well, the answer of course depends on your perspective – or who the gun is pointed at.
Do they have a right to tell us and who has the right to stop them?

And nothing is crystallising global social opinion more than the WikiLeaks battle. But its only when we look beyond this that we see the real battle lines.

Think hard before deciding. Because what is being done is done in your name.

The Seige of Leningrad played out in Cyberspace

We enjoy a free and unregulated web. Anyone who’s followed the Internet story will understand that inflicting censorship onto a global entity is impossible.

Significantly, those countries who’ve tried hardest to suppress a free Internet – China and the Arab World – are hardly bastions of free speech and tolerance.

Given the cyber-nature of sites like WikiLeaks, the only way to attack them is where they touch down. Payment portals, web hosts, etc. They are talking in a public place so they can’t simply bomb that or they bomb us.

These equally unregulated guardians of our sensibilities try to starve them out. Like the Nazis in Leningrad.

The weapons available to those wanting to stop us hearing what they don’t want us to hear are the Earthbound touchpoints, payment portals, web hosts, etc.

A clandestine army without a mandate

Now lets be clear about this. Some faceless, shadowy group, without asking me, has decided that I shouldn’t hear what WikiLeaks has to tell me.

I’m pretty sure I gave no one any such mandate. Nor would I ever consider it.

Clearly, what they are doing is being done in my name but without my sanction. And that scares me – and it should scare us all.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Or are they?

Battle has been met by another group I don’t know. Global, but with no affiliation. United in a common cause, Anonymous.

This skirmish is being called the first information war. A social battle, the first ever. A social network as a battle group.

And while this is a cause I support, I’ve no control over what they may chose to do or the extent of those actions.

And so they worry me as much as those laying siege to WikiLeaks.

An uneasy war

This war is making me uneasy. I’m uneasy about the restriction of free speech. I’m uneasy about releasing a genie from a bottle we won’t be able to put back in. Above all I’m uneasy about the fact I can’t influence this.

If the Internet is a social web, then these actions and reactions aren’t social ones and have no place being fought-out within my space.

Everybody, get your tanks off my lawn and go home.