After the recent sharing of information by the website Wikileaks there has been an all-out assault on the website and the founder. It’s been fascinating to see the US try to react in an environment where they can’t directly control the actor. However, they have started a broad and thorough campaign of cutting off the site by proxy, by shutting down funding, servers, domain names and even promoting prosecution and closing bank accounts. All of this points to an important and fascinating battle of the US’ ability to act by proxy. How much power does the US actually wield when it comes to a diffuse system like the internet? In the mountains of Afghanistan, the diffuse network of informants seem tough to crack, but they’re doing pretty well on the diffuse network of the internet.
My favorite thought leader, Clay Shirky, has had a number of posts and recommendations talking about the subject. He’s on CNN talking about it while Crooked Timber points out the tension of US control. Important questions of the future of “openness” are now being answered under the spotlight of real life.