>Can the internet ever overpower Government?

>VN tends to focus on politics and the developments in the world wide web, and the two worlds have collided head on courtesy of Wikileaks’ Kabul War Diary. The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, is clearly driven by pacifism, and a deep sense of distrust of authority, but can an extremely tech savvy person ever truly take on Government? If they could, do we really want to know the truth anyway?

The internet is a fantastically democratising force, the ultimate in liberty and free speech.  That a man can challenge superpower Governments’ so directly, so publicly, and so effectively truly shows its power. Assange is to be praised for his bravery and determination to bring out the truth.

However, ‘with great power, comes great responsibility’. Today it has transpired that The Times newspaper has found details of Afghan informants fathers’ names and villages in the documents. This is despite Assange’s promise that such documents had been removed. Highlighting Government or military error is one thing, putting the lives of Afghani’s who are trying to help Coalition forces at risk is quite another.

Only time will tell if the Kabul War Diary becomes the Pentagon Papers of our time. The incidents are of course very similar, but the Kabul War Diary could actually be more important, as they have emerged while the war is ongoing. Furthermore, the internet has meant that these documents are far more accessible than their Vietnam predecessors. 

The game has moved on, and Governments need to take heed. Only disclosing the truth will prevent direct digital challenges that in the future could be even more damaging. 


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