This is part of a NYT op ed piece.
I keep wanting to be pro-Assange, despite thinking he's a **** personally, because I approve of whistle blowing. This piece nicely sums up my concerns re Wikileaks.
Interested in other's thoughts, especially in relation to the US election and the impact the leaks may have had....especially with the vague threats that there was much more and much worse to come.
Legitimate leaks or chilling misuse of knowledge?
"I once asked Daniel Ellsberg — who in 1971 leaked the secret history of the Vietnam War known as the Pentagon Papers — if he had any regrets. He told me, as he told many others, that he regretted only that he had not leaked them earlier, when they might have had more impact and perhaps shortened the war.
Whistle-blowing, as Mr. Ellsberg did, is a time-honored means for exposing the secret machinations of the powerful. But the release of huge amounts of hacked data, with no apparent oversight or curation, does the opposite. Such leaks threaten our ability to dissent by destroying privacy and unleashing a glut of questionable information that functions, somewhat unexpectedly, as its own form of censorship, rather than as a way to illuminate the maneuverings of the powerful.
The latest example of these data dumps comes from WikiLeaks, which is releasing the emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, in dribs and drabs going back to 2008, when Mr. Podesta was the co-chairman of Barack Obama’s transition team.
“Wait,” you might think. John Podesta is about as far from dissident politics as you can get. These leaks have produced genuine news. We finally got to see the text of Mrs. Clinton’s paid speeches to Goldman Sachs, for example. What’s wrong with that? Doesn’t that serve the public interest?
The hacked emails did provide the public with some notable information. But any benefit of such mass data releases does not undo their harm. And that harm is relevant whether or not the data was stolen by a foreign government seeking to influence this election.
The victims here are not just Mr. Podesta and the people in his contacts list who are embarrassed or compromised. The victim of leaks of private communication is the ability of dissidents to function in a democracy.
Demanding transparency from the powerful is not a right to see every single private email anyone in a position of power ever sent or received. WikiLeaks, for example, gleefully tweeted to its millions of followers that a Clinton Foundation employee had attempted suicide; news outlets repeated the report.
Wanton destruction of the personal privacy of any person who has ever come near a political organization is a vicious but effective means to smother dissent. This method is so common in Russia and the former Soviet states that it has a name: “kompromat,” releasing compromising material against political opponents. Emails of dissidents are hacked, their houses bugged, the activities in their bedrooms videotaped, and the material made public to embarrass and intimidate people whose politics displeases the powerful. Kompromat does not have to go after every single dissident to work: If you know that getting near politics means that your personal privacy may be destroyed, you will understandably stay away.
Data dumps by WikiLeaks have outed rape victims and gay people in Saudi Arabia, private citizens’ emails and personal information in Turkey, and the voice mail messages of Democratic National Committee staff members. Dissent requires the right to privacy: to be let alone in our vulnerabilities and the ability to form our thoughts and share them when we choose. These hacks undermine that crucial right........"