Saturday 19 August 2017

Medb Ruane: Where's the democracy in hunting Wikileaks off the Net?

Most wanted: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested this week in London
Most wanted: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested this week in London

In January, Hillary Clinton celebrated the power of new technologies to challenge tyrants. Speaking soon after China's alleged cyber attack on Google, the US Secretary of State championed the internet as "the iconic infrastructure of our age" and warned about attempts to target "independent thinkers who use these tools".

She quoted President Obama's words that even in authoritarian countries, information networks were "helping people discover new facts and making governments more accountable".

Clinton's joy turned full circle when Julian Assange's independent website WikiLeaks began to publish more than 250,000 classified documents about Iraq, Afghanistan and various US diplomatic interests.

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