Friday, December 31, 2010

Is Wikileaks a Collective Action?

I don't think Wikileaks is exactly an Internet collective action. But it is very loose-knit and relies on volunteers around the world to feed it information.

Another interesting aspect is noted by Clay Shirky, at

"This is what is freaking people in the US government out — not that the law has changed, but that the world has, and the industrial era law, applied to internet-era publishing, might allow for media outlets which exhibit no self-restraint around national sensitivities, because they are run by people without any loyalty to — or, more importantly, need of — national affiliation to do their jobs."

Shirky's main point in this article is that Wikileaks is not bound to a country, and therefore has no restraints normally applicable to a particular nation. The Pentagon Papers case, which is probably the best precedent for Wikileaks, is a U.S. national case. Wikileaks has no connection nor allegiance to any country. Even Julian Assange has almost no connection to one country, other than his history and his passport. He seems to have no particular home other than airports.

So when an Internet collective Action that is done globally commits some action that might be seen as breaking a law in one particular country, is THAT country able to go after the perpetrators of that action, if they can be identified? Interesting stuff.

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