Thursday, November 14, 2013

Could Wikileaks be a Destructive Tool?

Wikileaks have gotten hold of the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement)! Brilliant. Except... well... if you want to negotiate something in secret, and you're adamant that it HAS to be done in secret, then the best way to throw people off is to "leak" documents. Given that they're leaked, there's absolutely no real requirement to authenticity.

So while we may be able to read it and get some sort of indication where things are going, are the points of argument that are ascertained by reading it valid to the actual agreement?

Given that this agreement is going to effect every single one of the participating country's residents, we need transparency. None of this crap about things of this nature having to be done in secret. What's currently happening is just not right.


  1. What was it that this happened with last time? ACTA maybe? The leaks actually lead to more transparency from the governments involved and gave some leverage to NZ's bargaining position, which was often in opposition to the US's, as also seems to be the case with this leak. So, I'm hopeful the TPPA leak will be a net positive for us all.

    1. I'm absolutely sure it will be. I was thinking "thankfully we have something to base our concerns on" - and then realised... if you wanted to mess with protesters and the like, you would "leak" a document.

      I did have a quick look at the document and it would seem to be authentic with notes about which countries support and oppose various positions and I'm quite happy to take The Fair Deal Coalition's take on it in that the NZ negotiators are fighting from a sensible position. ( Also I met Susan Chalmers a few years back when she first came to New Zealand (she's an American) so it always helps to have the context of a person i.e. it makes it easier to read between the lines.

    2. That isn't to say that I don't find the idea of "economic rights" frightening... The idea is that if have made a profit off people for a certain amount of time then you should be able to continue to make a profit - despite changing circumstances, laws put in place etc.

      We've seen this happen - technology being used in ways to try and limit the use of technology in aid of protecting older business models (region locking on DVD's, DRM etc.).

      My main concern in this area is around sovereignty. If EVERYTHING comes down to an economic argument i.e. "we can't pass this law because, despite it being better for the population in general, it'll cost us because X company is likely to sue" - then morality will no longer have a meaningful place within government.

      While people seem happy with the idea that capitalism has no concept of morality, I'm concerned that the distilling things down to a monetary value (like the share market - if a company poisons citizens in a developing country and says they're going to clean it up, they punished on the share market. See "The Yes Men Fix the World" will effectively remove any concept of morality and public good.