Xeni on Rachel Maddow Show: Wikileaks and "Afghan War Diaries"

Last night's episode of The Rachel Maddow Show (solidly guest-hosted by Chris Hayes of The Nation) focused largely on the Afghanistan war documents leaked on Sunday by Wikileaks.

I joined for a segment about the tech side of that story. As I said during that segment, if you zoom out beyond this specific leak, if you zoom out beyond Julian Assange (Wikileaks' highly public and highly polarizing figurehead), and if you zoom out even beyond Wikileaks—that's where this gets really interesting.

The incident marks the same kind of historic turning point in power distribution as when the music industry flipped out over Napster in the '90s, and the movie industry flipped out over BitTorrent in the early '00s. This moment feels like the same kind of apple-cart-upset, but for information control by military and political powers which, before this moment, we perceived as "in control." (It's no accident that the copyright maximalists and secrecy maximalists are often in agreement regarding internet restrictions and issues like net neutrality— and I'd expect to see new laws and controls soon proposed in that regard).

Did you see the Washington Post "Top Secret America" series (blogged on BB here)? Spend some time with it. This moment is the natural counterpoint to the massive, unprecedented buildup of secrecy and surveillance documented in that investigative report.

Do Wikileaks and other "distributed anti-secrecy networks" that will surely follow have the power to topple governments, or set into motion massive political change?

Wikileaks is a big story. But the story is bigger than Wikileaks alone, and it has just begun. What happens next, whether there's a backlash and a doubling-down of attempts to exert control, is one of the next big questions. Dan Gillmor digs into that here, a must-read essay. Jay Rosen's thoughts in this piece were referenced in the Maddow Show broadcast. Another meta-analysis piece worth reading today by C.W. Anderson at Nieman Lab. And another from David Carr, of the New York Times (one of the three news organizations that received early access to the "Afghan War Diaries" data-dump.)

Watch the video:
"Wikileaks: BoingBoing.net's Xeni Jardin joins The Rachel Maddow show." (MSNBC)

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