WikiLeaks is not just about WikiLeaks

Monday - 12/20/2010, 3:40pm EST

The attention devoted to the latest WikiLeaks release of 50,000 diplomatic cables and to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, have overshadowed a larger question of the State Department's role in online diplomacy.

In January this year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech that introduced the concept of 21st Century Statecraft.

In that speech, Clinton said internet freedom was the new human right of the 21st century, researcher Roy Revie blogs in The Pulse.

Revie quotes Clinton saying, American stands for "a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas."

However, in the face of the WikiLeaks incident, the State Department is seeing "cracks" in its general support of internet freedom, Revie writes.

Even if Assange is put away in jail for what he claims is a smear campaign, and even if WikiLeaks shuts down, a new age of "guerilla transparency" has emerged, reports The Economist. Already one of Assange's former colleagues has started a site called OpenLeaks.

The WikiLeaks story raises another debate: The need to know vs. need to share. The Economist states that a bigger figure than Assange and WikiLeaks is Bradley Manning, the Army private who allegedly leaked the classified information.

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