Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wikileaks, Whistleblowers, and You

The haymakers levied by the Wikileaks phenomenon and the repercussions that will potentially ensue are obviously not to be taken lightly, but the fact is, most people find the breadth of information both boring and overwhelming. Who am I to disagree with that? I have taken a keen interest in politics, but will be the first to admit I care a lot more about gearing up for a playoff run in fantasy football, or the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. But, I also think it's important that people really understand what is going on with Wikileaks and how it could and probably will impact each and every industry.
So, first and foremost, check out the Forbes interview with Julian Assange, wherein which Assange reveals his plan to unleash a potentially devastating blow to one (unnamed) major American bank at some point in early 2011. In a decade that will be marked most prominently by the prevalence of the internet - the new Wild West - it was only a matter of time before whistleblowers were given a safe haven to dump information leaks that cripple public and private entities alike. In the Forbes interview, Assange claims to have "dirt" on just about every industry you can think of, ranging from governmental agencies, energy, and finance. So, what do businesses do with the new threat of whistleblowing in the form of cyber-dumps? I don't know. Maybe they hope that the public is so inundated with the leaks that they become jaded and don't hold them accountable. Or perhaps, they hope that those who find Assange and other whistleblowers to be scum-of-the-earth types will write off anything they say in the first place. But, when it comes time to answer for their crimes and/or wrongdoings, what will they do? Well, hopefully they'll start to adopt fair and honest practices.
Transparency is always stressed in most every business, Wikileaks is almost forcing the hand of transparency, which, in my opinion, isn't a bad thing. I find Assange to be a self-indulgent, egomaniac more than the rogue arbiter of justice he bills himself as, but at the end of the day, I would have to say that I kind of fall on his side of the debate on transparency. The only real issue is that Assange is basically out of control with his grandstanding and self-perpetuating-hype that he is turning the leaks into a circus and made-for-TV-scandal, instead of a tool for accountability. But, if your company stresses and enforces integrity, then you won't have any issue with Wikileaks' existence.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Well-written. Seriously should have been a jour major.