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WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and the dark side of Internet freedom

Evgeny Morozov discusses the implications of WikiLeaks on open vs. closed societies, the paradox of attacking state power, and the future of Internet privacy.

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Evgeny Morozov, a visiting scholar at Stanford University, is the author of “The Net Delusion: How Not to Liberate the World.” He spoke with Global Viewpoint Network editor Nathan Gardels on Monday, December 6 about the implications of WikiLeaks.

Assange's main target: government power

Nathan Gardels: The most recent Wikileaks cache is not your father’s Pentagon Papers.

Like a neutron bomb of the information age, it has indiscriminately destroyed good diplomacy and duplicity alike across a broad spectrum of political cultures.
Should there be limits to the kind of extreme glasnost represented by WikiLeaks? If so, by what criteria do we responsibly draw them?

Evgeny Morozov: The more I learn about Julian Assange’s philosophy, the more I come to believe that he is not really rooting to destroy secrecy or make transparency the primary good in social relations. His is a fairly conventional – even if a bit odd – political quest for “justice.”

As far as I can understand Mr. Assange’s theory – and I don’t think that it’s terribly coherent or well thought-out– he believes that one way to achieve justice is to minimize the power of governments to do things that their citizens do not know of and may not approve of if they do.

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