Wikileaks created waves for revealing sensitive information about governments the world over and most notably cables from US diplomats and the collateral damage video which detailed the killing of American journalists in Iraq. A few spinoffs have been created such as Open Leaks but now news organizations are taking a stab at crowd sourcing scoops.
Students at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs were warned by a State Department employee this week that discussing the controversial secret leaking website WikiLeaks on Facebook or Twitter could bar them from future employment options.
The message, sent by an alum of the school stated that:
“engaging in these activities would call into question [a student's] ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.”
Here’s the full email that was sent to students: read more
Despite being a nation known for heavily embracing freedom of speech as well as the press, it looks like the US government has now decided to charge the founder of Wikileaks with breaking the law (as soon as they can figure out what to charge him with that is).
Federal authorities are investigating whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange violated criminal laws in the group’s release of government documents, including possible charges under the Espionage Act, sources familiar with the inquiry said Monday. [...]
Former prosecutors cautioned that prosecutions involving leaked classified information are difficult because the Espionage Act is a 1917 statute that preceded Supreme Court cases that expanded First Amendment protections. The government also would have to persuade another country to turn over Assange, who is outside the United States. (Washington Post)
For those who have not been paying attention to the news, Twitter or even the political blogosphere, Wikileaks has been publishing classified information leaked to the organization from the Pentagon as well as the US State Department.
While leaking classified or private information to the digital world is nothing new (after all, bloggers have been doing it for years), the fact that the US government is once again going after digital citizen while ignoring the journalists who are also leaking the same info is rather troublesome.
Although its understandable why the US government is upset with the leaks, the US authorities would be better off at going after the individual(s) passing the info to Wikileaks, instead of trying to shoot down the messenger who is (ironically) performing a job once done by journalists.