Saturday, December 11, 2010

Avoiding Conversations

I'm sitting here in a pub still avoiding the whole wikileaks conversation. I've been avoiding it since the whole story broke out.

The problem for me is that it's a very polarising issue. The world doesn't work in this way. You don't pick a side. You question the validity of both sides of the argument.

This is true for all sorts of things. When looking in the case of Free/Libre/Open Source software (FLOSS) vs. Proprietary, I weigh up the value to me. There's a lot of inherit value, to me, in FLOSS so I'm more likely to select FLOSS. But that doesn't mean that I rubbish someone else's choice of proprietary software where that software makes sense. (Kitting out a school's email system with Outlook when it's only serving a minimum of people - just the teachers for example - is not a place this makes sense).

So when looking at the whole wikileaks saga, I find myself sitting on the wall. While I strive for transparency, particularly when the government is dealing with commercial deals that have a bearing on our lives. For example, the government's broadband dealings. More transparency here would help to offer some assurance that we're looking at the good of the public rather than the commercial interests of the big telcos.

On the other hand, information has power. Denying this fact would be like denying that the Internet has made huge differences to our daily lives. It's all information. Some information has more power than other information.

Learning the opinion of some analyst in the back rooms of another building probably near the white house, while it would appear it probably doesn't have THAT much power, has been exaggerated to become "America's opinion".

So my opinion? It's that not only has the release of that information been irresponsible, but also the way the information is being perceived and the way it's being handled.

The way it's being handled is a completely different matter. Mixing these two issues a bit like asking "Do you like gherkins and ice cream?". Sure I like gherkins. I like ice cream. I don't like the two together. The question is muddied.

So my position? Stop giving it the attention it doesn't deserve! It's a bit like dealing with kids. If kids learn that you're going to come running whenever they start crying, then the crying just becomes a means to get your attention.

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