Saturday, January 15, 2011

The WikiRevolution

The President of Tunisia fled the nation, and the PM took over, but now he has ceded power too.  A lot of people are discussing the role that Wikileaks played in this situation.  Obviously there was already a lot of discontent in the nation, but the relevations about the government excesses that were leaked might have pushed things over the edge.

This brings me back to a point that I made about wikileaks a few weeks ago, which is that more access to information for more people is clearly a net gain for the USA.  Secrets leaked about the USA may be slightly embarrassing but secrets leaked about autocratic governments can be lethal to those dictators.

Imagine if Julian Assange exposed leaks about everyone - the US, but also Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, etc.  Imagine the populations can access that information.  What we are seeing in Tunisia is a precursor to what will happen when more people get access to more info, say via wikileaks, and can organize efficiently, by Facebook, Twitter, or whatever.  How is that not a huge net win for American values and interests?

Instead of prosecuting Assange, maybe we should be helping him.  If the US government wants to bring down the Ayatollahs we shouldn't bother with bombs.  We should just develop a version of Twitter that can't be shut down in Iran.

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