Surprise, surprise: WikiLeaks-related headlines continue to explode at the end of the week. Most compelling? The old guard hackers of 2600 magazine condemning Anon kiddies, a Homeland Security employee protesting government access bans, and American spying charges looming over Assange.
If there's anyone who knows hacking, it's the crew behind 2600: The Hacker Quarterly. And not just because it's in their name. 2600 is the Jedi Council of hacking—the wise establishment. They are antithetical to the pimply-faced script kiddie stereotype that hacker has taken on today. They hack on principle. They hack well. They've been hacking for a long time. So when they speak out against the loosely-4Chan organized Anonymous attacks, it rings loudly.
2600 published a statement of condemnation, saying the week's DDoS attacks have done more to harm the WikiLeaks cause than help it: "This will play right into the hands of those who wish to paint us all as threats and clamp down on freedom of speech and impose all kinds of new restrictions on the Internet, not to mention the fact that the exact same types of attacks can be used on 'us' as well as 'them.'" A fair point. The general public rarely rallies behind a DDoS takedown of the credit card company they belong to—even if (or especially if) they don't know what the hell a DDoS is. "It certainly does not help Wikileaks to be associated with such immature and boorish activities any more than it helps the hacker community," 2600's statement continues. In other words: Kids, stop acting like such kids.
An anonymous (no relation) employee at the Department of Homeland Security wants you to know that his employer is hurting itself. And you. Much like the Library of Congress' self-censorship, the tipster says DHS is only hampering its own mission through WikiLeaks suppression. "My grandmother would be allowed to access the cables, but not me. This seems ludicrous," they begin. But looking lame compared to your grandmother is the least of it:
Part of making informed judgments about what a foreign government or leader will do or think about something is based on an understanding and analysis of what information has gone into their own deliberative processes. If foreign government workers know about something in the Wikileaks documents, which clearly originated with the U.S., then they will certainly (and reasonably) assume that their US counterparts will know about it too, including the staffers. If we don't, they will assume that we simply do not care, are too arrogant, stupid or negligent to find and read the material, or are so unimportant that we've been intentionally left out of the information loop.
DHS Person has a point. Access is power, period. We want the people responsible for our safety to have as much access as possible. Suppression based on blind principle alone is nothing but an ICBM to the foot.
The situation for Julian Assange—already locked up—could be getting worse. The only thing more perilous than Swedish rape charges? American spying charges. Assange's attorney says US indictment charges could arrive at any point, potentially pinning Julian under the Espionage Act. Bad news. Whether extradition is on anyone's mind remains to be seen.