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Friday, September 2, 2011

It's Out There: WikiLeaks US Cables Published... Unredacted

[Update here.]

The entirety of the WikiLeaks cache of US diplomatic cables has apparently been released on the Internet, unredacted and sans encryption.

(Click through here to read Kevin Gosztola's report and to view his appearance on The Alyona Show as well: Cablegate Swings Open Forever: All US Cables Now Published by WikiLeaks.)

The concern here is the real and imminent danger this puts many reporters, activists and bloggers in. They are now, in effect, exposed. However, as Kevin notes (I added the link in this excerpt - h/t joe6pac):
While all cables were published by WikiLeaks for the first time, they had been available for a number of days in a file out on the Internet. Passwords for decryption were linked up to the file in the past few days. WikiLeaks’ high profile and the way the release of cables has had such an impact on governments should lead one to presume that some regimes wasted no time. If these intelligence agencies were able to look at US State Embassy cables from their country, they could have been going through the cables to search for names of bloggers, dissidents, human rights activists and informants.
In other words, the recent encryption passwords disclosure by journalist David Leigh had made this data effectively available to any "interested" parties, meaning in particular repressive governments and their agents. The extra effort involved in downloading the encrypted cables, then applying the passwords to get at the contents, is a time-lag-creating barrier for those activists, etc., who wished to discover if they are exposed.

So it is best that they have been released completely now. Kevin again:
If the information was only on the Internet in an encrypted file that one had to pair up with a decryption password and have the technological literacy to open, the majority of the world would probably not be able to get in and look at whose names were exposed (especially human rights and press freedom groups). This publication of cables in searchable form gives all activists, bloggers, dissidents, human rights advocates, informants and anyone else who may not have the financial or political power to protect themselves from this leak the ability to get on the Internet and search for their name...
This is fast-moving, hot stuff.

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