Wikileaks has gone from being an annoyance to the US government to public enemy number one in a matter of months. We now have various top law makers are talking about legislation that would severely cramp their style. Not content with annoying world leaders, the site has now said it will turn its attention to big business. A year ago, few would likely have worried about what may appear on the site but given Wikileaks’ apparent attitude to risk it would appear ‘business’ may have a lot to worry about. Commercial secrets of all manner would appear to be fair game. After all, the site is prepared to leak military classified information that puts lives of innocent people at risk. If so, then the damage extend to cover the lives of people in the middle east to damage to brands that could cause thousands of western economy jobs to be lost. Of course, the argument to support Wikileaks is that they are only letting people know what governments and businesses are up to behind their backs. In some cases it has real merit. Corruption and other unlawful acts should be named and the people responsible shamed. But simply revealing secrets because they are a) interesting and b) secret isn’t a great argument. I’d like to see Wikileaks survive this storm but I’d also like to see it act more responsibly. Without sensible self regulation it will receive harsh government regulation and all its efforts will have been in vain.
I’m pretty sure the owners of Wikileaks have secrets they’d rather not reveal. These secrets may be fascinating and if revealed could be acutely embarrassing to the people responsible. Perhaps they could give that some thought the next time they dump someone else’s laundry on the internet.