Even if you supported the publishing of the NSA documents on the grounds that it was whistle-blowing, and thus aided in uncovering a greater crime, there's no such possible justification here. (Certainly not in publishing them in bulk.)
We have due process for the discovery of private communication, and that process protects all of us. In fact, our personal freedoms depends on our consistent application of those protections, regardless of whether they're being use to protect you, me, our best friend, or someone we don't even like.
If we decide that it's up to thieves to decide what we do or do not get to keep private in our own lives, then we'll have fallen so far as a society. Good luck when they come for you next.
(Personal request: since this is obviously a polarized topic, consider posting your rebuttal as a comment, so everyone including me can learn more about the nuances of the debate.)
So there are a few nuanced points that I think we disagree on. Together they add up to a lot.
First, you seem to object to this leak on the grounds that "due process" forbids it. I agree. I just don't think due process should apply. The press is not the judiciary, they don't have the same responsibilities and duties.
Second, and (I think this is something wikileaks consistently fails to clarify) Wikileaks is press. They are publishing information from a confidential source. The source may be a data thief, the data owner or a whistleblower (terrorist or freedom fighter?) but that's a judgement about whoever leaked the data, not wikileaks. There are some laws and a lot of ethical concerns regarding what the press should and shouldn't publish. There are also laws protecting and empowering the press.
You might berate them for insensitivity, irresponsibility but you can't accuse them of theft, IMO.
The ethical considerations of the press are about balancing things like privacy with newsworthiness and the public's right and need to know. There are definitely emails in here that do not meet that definition. Wikileaks' model is pretty scattergun, but realistically it's the only way to get that kind of volume. I'm not sure where I fall on balance but I would be more wholeheartedly pro-wikileaks if they did a better job of selecting only relevant documents for publication.
I think this is where we disagree the most.
Third, I don't buy the idea that corporations have all rights. A violation of a corporation's right to privacy is not as bad as a violation of an individual's. That'a a whole can of worms in itself, but perhaps we can leave this as a moral disagreement.
Incidentally, press doesn't default to being for the net good just because it's press (which is a broad classification, and an amoral one). It still has to act on behalf of good, and on a case by case basis.
As far as corporate rights go, it's not black and white, but we shouldn't lose sight that corporations are made of up people, and those people should have rights, and it's probably better not to just throw those rights away just because something was done in the context of work (since work is such a huge and generally unavoidable part of all of our lives).
Thanks again for thoughtfully debating. I appreciate that.
WikiLeaks publishes information. It's not a force for good or bad, but a resource that can be used to change the world. They didn't steal the information, but they collected it. They've done no wrong in presenting it this way. I understand why you're angry - people were deceived and their (believed private) conversations were made public. But blame the hackers, the internet, Sony's infosec team, or the executives that prompted this breach. WikiLeaks had nothing to do with it.
By using their megaphone to give these documents publicity, by making them easily accessible and searchable, Wikileaks is absolutely complicit and has done wrong.
Did you just claim that Wikileaks committed a "gross violation of privacy" by publishing the emails, and then unironically admit, in the very next sentence, that you looked at them?
It's possible that I could have obtained these emails when the Sony hack was in the news (I think there were some archives on bittorrent). But that takes a lot of time and effort and at least some skill, and I was never interested. By making these emails findable via a mouse click (not to mention indexed by google) Wikileaks ensured that large numbers of people would look at them.
Certainly there's an argument to be made on the optimal outcome for the individuals concerned. Which is worse? Their stolen information being traded invisibly on a darknet, or publicly visible on Wikileaks?
However, as a separate argument, I'd hold very strongly to the idea that Wikileak's publication of information is good for society as a whole. (Aka the no-public-release vs full-disclosure security debate of the 90s)
As the Target and Home Depot breaches demonstrated, corporations don't give a damn about their customer's privacy - only the revenue that might be lost by losing goodwill.
And only by keeping these incidents in the news for long enough will it hurt severely enough to be taken seriously.
If the front door is unlocked and you walk in, you still chose to walk in.
Under this analogy, WikiLeaks is putting up billboards detailing all homes with open doors, as well as providing a full searchable inventory of the contents of all homes.
"We're just providing the information" they say. "Just a middle man!"
EDIT: Instead of silent downvotes, can you respond with why you disagree? WikiLeaks took stolen private documents and made them easily accessible and searchable by people who otherwise would not have accessed them.
Please be respectful and engage in conversation, not downvotes.
If you want email and privacy, you need to encrypt.
Email is as secure like a postcard; at least that is what we use tell the people that wanted to append long email disclaimers.
For WikiLeaks to be doing what your analogy is saying then they would of had to have figured out what systems were vulnerable on the whole of the internet, downloaded all of the contents from those servers, and then made them available.
Verifying that no intruders are in the house because some num-nuts left the front door open is a pain in the butt.
Privacy-rights are quite upside-down in the US right now with personal privacy being almost non-existent and our Government almost totally lacking in transparency. Clearly a discussion about Fair-use should be happening transparently in public - not hidden in emails.
Security (and privacy as a result) is something hugely important to customers, whether they know it or not, but not so important to corporations except for how it might damage their bottom line from backlash.
If we don't show them how they can also suffer from bad security practices, then nothing will ever be done to fix it. I am 100% certain that Sony and many other large organizations are now spending a hell of a lot more money on their security teams.
If I go to your house and break a window and steal a bunch of stuff, am I justified because you needed to learn a lesson about security? If I go up to you and beat you up, is that ok because you should know how to defend yourself better?
I don't understand this self righteous hacker mindset that if you're able to exploit someone somehow then they deserve it. How about respecting people's boundaries in the first place? Recognize that as a company a&r, finding new talent, marketing existing projects, managing key relationships, etc etc are probably seen as where they should actually put their money rather than security?
"This hacker guessed a password for their Unix system. From there, he became super-user by planting an egg in the systems area, then sliding into my computer.
A couple days later the SOB called me. Said his name was Dave. From Australia.
"I broke in to show that your security isn't very good."
"But I don't want to secure my computer," I replied. "I trust other astronomers."
Dave had other reasons for breaking in, too. "You think that hackers are bad. This proves otherwise."
"Huh? You break into my computer to show that hackers are good?"
"Yeah," Dave replied. "We're helping you out by finding your security faults."
Clifford Stoll, The Cuckoo's Egg
In that sense you could say, in the same way that the US populace has allowed for the Fed to steal trillions from Americans over 100+ years, this same US populace sometimes picks "private" individuals and companies for targeting its complicitness. This time they picked Sony. Why do you seem to be more angry about this small choice the US populace made, when the bigger choice they made causes a lot more harm overall?
If I complain about business regulations people tell me I'm in the wrong and I should move out of the country, because people here have decided they will be complicit in regulating companies.
Same with Sony, I say. The people have decided to be complicit in leaking company data. Sony was the target this time. If companies don't want to ever have their data leaked they can leave the country.
Don't the people decide the price companies must pay to do business here? We force them to comply with regulations, and now the populace, acting as informal lobbyists, are forcing companies to be OK with leaks once in a while as part of the cost of doing business here.
Actual lobbyists make much worse things happen than to cause some company to leak some data. But when the population lobbies, through tacit, implicit compliance, then everyone is suddenly holier-than-thou. I guess you need a lobbying license to avoid being judged by the HN crowd.
>If we decide that it's up to thieves to decide what we do or do not get to keep private in our own lives, then we'll have fallen so far as a society. Good luck when they come for you next.
You're assuming that you can't keep your private life secure. The longer people try to hide and minimize the damage of data leaks the longer we'll have insecure systems.
Wikileaks and "thieves" are creating an incentive for the tech sector to become more secure so that things like this don't happen. By continuing to sweep these things under the rug we're just leaving our selves open for another attack. Wikileaks is forcing people to take this seriously.
I don't always agree with Wikileaks stance, however I do believe that for the larger good, releasing information about the corrupt and unjust can only be a good thing. However, that shouldn't be done at the cost of all that is right and just... so it's a bit grey. I believe in the principle for which they stand, I just find it hard to agree with the process they follow. They're kind of like the Boondock Saints for information... except they don't appear to care so much about the innocent that get hurt by the fallout - making them more like the U.S. Government in their "war on [enter trending reason of the day for going to war]"
I think that you can have organizations like Wikileaks or you can have personal privacy and the protection of legal due process, but you cannot expect to have both. The former exists to render the latter obsolete.
If a corporation sends an email back to me, that email should also be defacto public?
I have a lot of emails coming to and going to corporations with very private information in them.
Pedantic, but I expect you really mean "(FERPA? HIPAA?)" here.
(The first is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and the second is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.)
EULAs, DRM, Super PACs - corporations are our rulers and we should not lay down and quietly submit.
If Wikileaks had reviewed these emails and released only the ones that are of genuine interest to the public (or did not disclose sensitive personal information), as it did with the Manning leak, that would be one thing. But I can't agree that it's responsible to release the entire trove of emails simply because they were sent to and from corporate email accounts.
And whose servers were they on? Sony's.
When your correspond with someone, the only rights you can claim are on your end.
Would it be appropriate for all YC funded companies to have all of their emails published on WikiLeaks tomorrow?
If not, what's the difference, and where do you draw the line?
"If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men,
I will find something in them which will hang him."
Sony has been engaged in some questionable activity with questionable organizations making questionable deals. The reason is transparency so illegal activity can be exposed.
Or MR X has a medical condition - congrats your insurance premiums just went up 100% - and possibly your kids in the future if its genetic
The whole idea that business email (and email in general) isn't already essentially public is a farce - the business itself has at will access to any employee's mails, and it can all be subpoena'd without warrant.
At best we should feel sorry for the employees not understanding this and treating their employer as a benevolent and trustworthy party.
Do you think we should do that? Where is the line?
If you get your email stolen and the people who got access to it found out you were doing some illegal activities, then it would be irresponsible not to publish your email to expose those illegal activities, especially if you are a Fortune 500 company.
Until the government protects the privacy of digital correspondence this should continue until we know all of the dirty little secrets our governments and corporations are hiding.
And as other commenters have said, none of the individuals caught up in this should have had an expectation of privacy anyway. The IT dept of Sony could have already accessed this info, and it's theirs anyway.
Like if your money gets stolen out of the bank.
The cognitive dissonance in this thread is astounding.
Note that there is also a due process for whistleblowing; there are Inspectors General whose entire professional careers are based on handling allegations of misconduct. The leakers in previous cases chose not to follow that process.
The so called "due process" is a joke. Whistleblowers are often ignored, harassed, lose their job, or even jailed in some cases.
If you look at historical whistleblowing (e.g. 1980s, 1970s, etc) and even today, nothing has improved. A whistleblower's life will still be "ruined" by whistleblowing.
Remind me again, is Snowden back in American living free and clear? Or is he still effectively excommunicated into Russia of all places with the threat of a jacked-up criminal prosecution looming over his head?
> The leakers in previous cases chose not to follow that process.
If they had have followed "that process" they would have been fired, and the general public wouldn't have heard a peep about any of this.
Give us an example of a whistleblower who did follow the process and that it worked out just fine.
The US Department of Labor says otherwise: http://www.whistleblowers.gov/whistleblower/wb_data_FY05-14....
> Remind me again, is Snowden back in American living free and clear?
Snowden isn't a whistle blower. He didn't report any wrongdoing to his superiors, personally stated that he took the Booz Allen job in order to get access to more information to leak, stole more documents than he possibly could have read and left the country with intent to release them and evade law enforcement. Whistle blowing is seeing something wrong and reporting it, not pulling as much information as you can get and handing it off to reporters. Regardless of whether or not you think there was benefit to the NSA leaks, what Snowden did is not whistle blowing.
> Give us an example of a whistleblower who did follow the process and that it worked out just fine.
After blowing the whistle on Abu Ghraib, Sergeant Joe Darby was personally thanked by Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of his unit (the ones that weren't arrested). Ironically, he claimed that it wasn't until his name was released to the public that he started to receive any harassment; and it wasn't from his employer, but regular civilians that were angry about the news. I think that says something about blasting people's personal information out to the world like Wikileaks just did.
Yes he did.
> Whistle blowing is seeing something wrong and reporting it
So, like Snowden did?
> not pulling as much information as you can get and handing it off to reporters
After following the internal process failed multiple times.
> Regardless of whether or not you think there was benefit to the NSA leaks, what Snowden did is not whistle blowing.
According to your own definition it is. Also he received the biennial German "whistleblower prize." The New York times described him as a Whistleblower and talks about why contractors aren't granted the same legal protection. He also appears on Wikipedia's "List of Whistleblowers."
> Joe Darby
He wasn't blowing the whistle on the US Government. He was blowing the whistle on other soldiers. Not comparable to someone going against a large and powerful organisation.
These are Snowden's actual words on the subject:
"What did you report?" Williams asked. "What was the response?"
"So," Snowden said, "I reported that there were -- real problems with the way the NSA was interpreting its legal authorities. And I went even further in this -- to say that they could be unconstitutional -- that they were sort of abrogating our model of government in a way that empowered presidents to override our statutory laws. And this was made very clear. And the response more or less, in bureaucratic language, was, 'You should stop asking questions.' And these are — these are recent records. I would say one of my final official acts in government was continuing one of these — one of these communications with a legal office. And in fact I'm so sure that these communications exist that I've called on Congress to write a letter to the NSA to — to verify that they do. Write to the office of general counsel and say, "Did Mr. Snowden — ever communicate any concerns about the NSA's interpretation of its legal authorities?"
When you go to the legal bosses, typically what they’ll do is they’ll not respond or they’ll give a general response, or they will say basically ‘call me… don’t go through this in writing but call me, let’s do this verbally.’
Now go and read the actual e-mail he sent:  It's clear he's referring to the same one in those two interviews. It was one of last acts - right before he took off to Hong Kong and five months after he first contacted Glenn Greenwald. It does talk about interpretations of legal statutes. The response was general and did tell Snowden to call if he wanted to discuss it further. The only thing missing is any actual report of wrongdoing. If Snowden really did sent dozens of e-mails to report wrongdoing, why hasn't he produced one yet?
> So, like Snowden did?
Depending on whose numbers you go by, Snowden took between 50 thousand and 1.7 million documents. He said in an interview that he "carefully evaluated every single document [he] disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest". According to the NSA, he began taking the documents from NSA servers in the summer of 2012. Assuming he started on June 1st, stopped on May 19th (he arrived in Hong Kong on May 20th) and is getting 8 hours of sleep a night, that means if he was working non-stop over the course of those 352 days he would have to have fully evaluated each document within the span of 10 minutes (if he only took 50k) or one document every 17 seconds (if he took 1.7m). This is something that dozens of reporters (some dedicated exclusively to the Snowden documents) haven't been able to fully evaluate over the course of two years, but Snowden did all this while simultaneously working his 9-5 job, eating, commuting to work, living in general, etc. Of course, we don't even really need to go over how ridiculous his claim is anymore since he finally admitted in his interview with John Oliver that he didn't actually read all of them. So how exactly can you blow the whistle on something you haven't even read?
> After following the internal process failed multiple times.
As far as I can tell, he never even tried the internal process. He claims that he sent dozens of e-mails, but has yet to produce a single one to back up his claims.
> Not comparable
You're right - Joe Darby, while already in a war zone, reported the illegal treatment of prisoners at the hands of people working for the US Government. He was already in dangerous place, and he faced physical retaliation from other soldiers and disciplinary action from his superiors. His family was put in physical danger when angry citizens learned his identity. Snowden risked losing his job at worst. Darby risked significantly more. Instead of following Darby's example, Snowden decided to flee to another country, almost immediately hand over details of NSA offensive operations against China in order "ingratiate himself to the people of Hong Kong and China", and is now apparently living a quaint little dacha with his girlfriend under the protection of the Russian government.
He hasn't tried to placate people like you for the same reason Obama didn't both answer the birth-cerificate Truthers even if it would have been easy - you're trolling. Don't feed the trolls.
You couldn't write so many words and quote so many articles without reading about previous NSA whistleblowers and knowing how they were treated. And to know that it's not the whistleblowers duty to change the system from inside - when they're rebuffed by a broken and hostile system they're advised (by past whistleblowers, lawmakers, etc) to stop trying.
> Depending on whose numbers you go by, Snowden took [...] finally admitted in his interview with John Oliver that he didn't actually read all of them.
You're mad someone gathered the NSA's data in bulk?
Because he's never claimed he "read every word of" every document, he said he carefully evaluated - which in my mind is looking at the grep context and skipping the file if it's a false positive. I've scanned literally hundreds of thousands of torrent links, carefully selecting individual ones to download...
You know, I'd have been happy to have the leaks even if Snowden had to bulk post everything on 4chan to get it out. That he seems to have done an actual good job is a bonus since he's the one doing us the favor.
Yeah, because it would have worked great for them, and the public would have learned the facts if they used those procedures...
The damage is done. All Wikileaks is doing is making it available, with the intent that journalists will peruse it.
I don't agree with releasing these emails, I certainly wouldn't want my private correspondence published or intercepted. But in this case blaming Wikileaks is erroneous.
Nice, forcing the execs to chime in to a $50.000 bribe
It definitely seems to circumvent the law - but is it clearly criminal? Have such abuses been prosecuted successfully in the past?
"The law is clear: Under the Federal Election Campaign Act, making campaign contributions in the name of another person or otherwise concealing the true source of the funds is a felony if the contribution exceeds $2,000. In fact, both the person soliciting the contribution and the person who agrees to be reimbursed for it could be investigated. Even if neither is aware of the law."
>>"What's the actual legal status on this? It definitely seems to circumvent the law - but is it clearly criminal?"
The email indicates that they were planning to structure their donations "by making this a focus of our individual giving from execs" ie: 'fundraising'.
>>"$50k is a heavy lift since most of it needs to come from individual contributions (only $5k can come from corp.), but I recommend we do it. Cuomo has been a strong protector of the film incentive – even amidst recent criticisms of the program. Also, given the shows we’ve got there and your relationships I think it would look a bit odd if you weren’t on the host committee."
>>"I think we can get to the 50k commitment by making this a focus of our individual giving from execs this year (versus the federal PAC)."
If you want to argue about what "fundraising" means in this context, be my guest; but, I've probably heard it before, and I'll probably think you're either naive or deliberately obtuse. Are you expecting a single email that perfectly implicates the entire board of a multinational corp. in a crime? Do you expect a contract for illegal services to be included as an attachment or something?
It's perfectly legal to email your coworkers about a political campaign and to ask them to donate. Does this kind of suck? Maybe. Is campaign finance a mess? Definitely. But would you really want a federal law that restricts what you can say about political campaigns while at work? I'm not even sure the Constitution would permit such a restriction on speech.
because we need your help.
we have a great production incentive environment in NY
Because of all of this, I think it’s important to significantly support his reelection efforts and NY law only allows corporations to give him $5,000
we are trying to raise $50k overall.
Like I said, I'm not sure where this falls on the legal-side of things, but this clearly goes further than merely:
> It's perfectly legal to email your coworkers about a political campaign and to ask them to donate.
I'm actually glad to see that they cared about the law at all, and there was some level of effectiveness to it!
IE, there is a 5k limit for corporate donations. No problem, lets have $50k of private donations directed by a corporation. He laid it out pretty plainly. We need to get this guy 5k, but that's illegal so lets do it this sneaky way.
It may be illegal (probably not, but maybe). If it isn't illegal it should be. It's a practice that renders the practice ineffective.
Imagine you are a in corporate sales. IBM buyers are allowed to accept up to $500 worth goodies from any one salesman, but no more. So, you get all your buddies to chip in. If their manager found out, they would assume that this buyers is compromised, unethical and should be fired and investigated for possible prosecution. The policy needs to be updated, but there is an obvious workaround at play here.
Honestly, I don't even see how this is controversial. How can people see massive political donations (which are crucial to getting elected) in such circumstances as anything but a circumvention of democracy. This is not just, I really am shocked.
Too often wikileaks is compared to the Snowden leaks, which triggered a rightful outrage.
Well. From an early version of wikileaks website:
"Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interests are oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations."
> Most documents were, at most, of interest to diplomats and historians. But no major scandal came out of these leaks.
What people don't seem to get is that the cables wasn't about the US. But about what every other government where doing with or saying to the US behind their own peoples back. E.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contents_of_the_United_States_d...
It might turn out that because of some quirk of law that intentionally getting around donation restrictions isn't illegal (which is presumably should be, just like the banking regulations...) but even if so it's still pretty clearly an end-run around the intent of the law and that's a pretty scummy thing to do.
Especially because I think it's pretty easy to see the easily coercive nature of this. After all, donations are publicly visible... I wouldn't expect to be fired for not, but I would expect not to be promoted unless I did.
So that Taylor Swift has a new boyfriend is somehow "a matter of public interest" judging from the tons of classic and new media that report such BS, but the "nasty side" of a huge industry that caters to billions of people is not?
You will be aware of the damning evidence. They intended to donate $50k. They are subject to a $5k donation limitation. They are deliberately skirting the law.
It would be one thing if the emails amounted to "hey, you should donate to this guy because he's a cool dude". That's not the case here, though; it's instead a case of "hey, you should donate to this guy because the company you work for wants to donate $50k but can't because of legal restrictions, and this guy's been really good to us", which - legal or not - is (in my opinion at least) morally deplorable and certainly skirting around the intent of the existing law.
> The email implies a specific intent of soliciting individual donations toward a cause (in this case, a politician) which is directly beneficial to the interests of the organization as a whole.
Sure, agreed. Makes sense to me. Why is this "deplorable"?
I founded a startup. Is it wrong to email my employees and ask them to support tax breaks for startups? Or to contribute directly to the politicians who implement those tax breaks?
It's not wrong, per se, but since you're the founder it does skirts rather close to this statue in the California Labor Code, so be very careful how you word that email. (Many other states have similar laws if you are not in California.)
California Labor Code § 1102: No employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge
or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity.
Because the intent is to circumvent a limitation imposed by the organization as a whole (Sony) by soliciting from its execs with that listed as the reason to donate bypasses the limits imposed upon organizations to prevent them from subverting the democratic process.
It's one thing to convince the execs to donate out of the goodness of their hearts. It's another to ask them to donate for the sole reason of such donations benefiting the company they work for.
> Is it wrong to email my employees and ask them to support tax breaks for startups? Or to contribute directly to the politicians who implement those tax breaks?
Yes. Your intentions are certainly better, I'm sure, but it's still subverting limitations on the political influence of corporations - limitations that were imposed in order to prevent American democracy from just devolving into "who has the most money and/or shouts the loudest?".
Granted, that's already a major problem anyway, but just because factories dump billions of gallons of industrial waste into rivers doesn't make someone any less of a jerk for pouring bleach down a storm drain.
The email is asking for personal donations from the execs. I can see using Sony's email addresses for these execs as a potential issue, but honestly, the writer of the email could have just used other personal email addresses.
Yes, the money will come with a message: we like you because you vote xxx on yyy. But I don't see how this is illegal (or even immoral). And I don't see how this is information you couldn't get from public data.
Publicly they were individual donations. This shows the intent of the group to donate a sum of $50k along with detailing how they were going break their donation up to skirt the law.
They deliberately structured their donations to sidestep the $5k limitation to campaigns they're subject to.
If that doesn't happen, this seems silly to me. It's basically entertainment gossip and of no real news value.
And if anything, I feel like this detracts from the story because there are so many superfluous emails in there. I'm not going to go through them and most people won't, so why don't Wikileaks review them and release the ones that are actually newsworthy?
"As a result of lobbying, Norway implemented a specific law"
It's scary that a company in effect can write and pass laws, without the public being involved.
Government ties, connections to the military industry and support for politicians? How is that a scandal? And how is that worth violating people's rights. Nothing is redacted. Nothing is explained in context. This is awful.
If something is worth a scandal, it's the chutzpa of Wikileaks.
Take this example (pointed out by randomname2):
"NY law only allows corporations to give him $5,000 (which we’ve done)… and, with Michael’s support, we are trying to raise $50k overall. This means I need to ask individual senior execs for support… ..consider contributing $5,000 to Gov. Cuomo?"
This is at the heart of how a lot of our democratic systems work, the money-in-politics question, the corruption of our systems of government. Surely that's something that is important to bring into the light, no?
The criticism I've had with wikileaks from the start is still somewhat valid. Wikileaks are press. We have a culture of protecting, empowering & respecting the press. We have legal protections for the press. There are cultures within the press for balancing need to know against other considerations. But wikileaks (mores earlier on) never really saw or projected themselves this way, free press. To most people, including their supports they always seemed more like activists than journalists.
When Assange was originally targeted I stopped to sign a petition in Melbourne. I read it. A Caricaturized synopsis might be "Free Assange! Free Gaza. Troops Out of Iraq! Fuck America! Abortion! Gays! Aboriginal RIghts! Like I said, caricature. But I don't think these guys were a million miles away from how wikileaks saw (or at least presented) themselves. Activists more than press.
I think that's part of the problem you are sort of pointing to. Activists stealing documents sounds different to journalists with secret sources. The latter is an important part of democracy.
Wikileaks are most assuredly not the press.
"WikiLeaks is an international, non-profit, journalistic organisation, which publishes secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources.."
Based on the number of references for that sentence, I think we can conclude you are not the only one disputing this. What's your definition of press or what disqualifies Wikleaks?
But here my point is, the press instead dumps whole swaths of radioactive waste pretending to be "information" on public that is definitely not in the public interest.
(True story - while I was working for desktop support at Netscape, one of my fellow technicians ended up having one of his emails end up in the New York Times - and he had sent it to our internal lawyers. Turns out even that can't protect you).
Sony probably has strong grounds to come after whoever breached their security, and send them to prison for many, many years - but I don't know if their are specific individual "rights" being breached by wikileaks here.
There is no "greater interest" here other than people wanting to stick it to Sony because they won't let you download their movies for $1 the day they hit the theater.
Is this coming from the HN crowd that registers domains with contact information anonymity enabled, loves to incorporate in Delaware and complains about privacy and NSA spy programs?
Could you please turn your emails public so we can review them in case you might be doing something wrong? No? Thought so.
It's for the courts to decide if Sony is doing something wrong. Wikileaks is a nice idea and I've supported them for a while, but they can't help but shoot themselves in the foot with dubious behavior like this.
Private individuals don't have to file audited accounts, for one thing, just a tax return.
Personally, I wouldn't have a problem making my work emails public.
"Electronic discovery" is a huge process where lawyers will read all the email in a company that hit certain search terms.
It's a fucking boring job, but more than a guys are messaging their mistresses from their work account.
What both of them are doing is distasteful.
To some degree, though, I compare this behavior to that guy who walks up to people with a video camera, a couple feet away, and just points it at them. They become very uncomfortable, and upset, and yell at him.
What he's doing with this "performance art" - as annoying as it is, is making people realize that they are already under constant surveillance.
Anybody who previously didn't understand why privacy is so important to individuals, making them claim, "Oh, I have nothing to hide." - certainly is probably aware now how important it is to them after the Sony Dump.
And, while not defending WikiLeaks (much), can we at least agree that there is a difference between dumping people's personal emails/photos (which is 100% unjustifiable) and exposing corporate machinations of Sony?
You mean, corruption ?
Yes, this is worth publishing. Even if this corruption has become mainstream.
Again, there is no reason for violating people's rights even when they can be _accused_ of wrongdoing. It is for courts to decide.
There are laws. Those laws have intent. Then, there is the actual behavior of individuals and corporations in practice. Loopholes, perhaps intentionally left open. There is a law limiting corporate donations. There is a practice for circumventing it. Without reveals like this, it looks like lots of private individuals donated money but in reality, a corporation effectively got around the legal restriction placed on it.
Those restrictions are there to prevent auctioning off legislation and policy. This is no joke.
These are not pictures of your wife in lingerie. This is squarely in the public interest. It's in the pubic interest to have the law updated so that this will be illegal, so that courts can do something about it.
How do you fix a broken process, if the only way to do it is going through the same broken process?
Promoting an anti-donation message directly benefits Cuomo and the parties of big business and finance. Their backers are not going to hear that message, and their opponents' backers are more likely to act on it.
Corruption has been legalized thanks to... corruption.
You see the problem ? When the law is written by lobbyists, lawful does not bear anymore any meaning.
This doesn't make things better.
Compare the recent rise of public video documenting US police shootings. There's no way the alleged wrongdoing would be seriously investigated if there wasn't video widely available to the public.
Turnabout is fair play? I don't know, but that's the sentiment behind this sort of action.
Look at the positive: I bet loads of corporate execs are now going to give their IT teams extra money to "not end up like those Sony guys".
The problem with the NSA is that they're a government entity doing something very dangerous from a democratic point of view and of dubious value overall. It's a totally different problem from private citizens publishing stuff they may or may not be entitled to.
There is definitely a difference between the two, but I don't think it matters much in these particular cases.
The archive is made public to enable us to find out exactly that.
Edit: so many angry reactions. I was answering to a post that seem to hold the point that it wouldn't be a scandal, if a multinational company buys influence from politics. With this I indeed disagree.
What your comments suggest is that I think it is ok to publish illegally hacked material. I don't and I did not write that.
On the other hand I have some trust in wikileaks that they don't publish the data just for everybody to sneak into private affairs. I expect it to contain proof of illegal action. That's now for journalists and investigators to find out.
But there is still the issue of illegally acquired data. Where I come from, this must not even be used in court and thus would be worthless.
With a private entity, that's not the case. If you don't like Wikileaks, you're free not to support them, or even fight them in court if you want. Wikileaks works under the umbrella of journalism/free speech laws, if there is a public interest in the matter then they should be left free to continue doing it.
Ah, so if the government had just contracted out the NSA's services and had them act as a private corporation rather than have the NSA be a government entity, then their actions would have been 100% a-ok.
If the NSA was a completely privately-owned corporation without any ties to the government, yeah, the judgement would be different (likely still negative, since no private actor can legally compromise networks like they do).
So if the government passed a law saying it was ok for them to hack private entities and make their records public, it would be ok?
It doesn't matter anyway, bringing in the NSA on this is a red herring.
But there's not. Public interest is not the same as a public being interested.
I don't see a problem here. It's not like private communication was leaked, it's a business communication from a mega corp that happened to reveal a lot of dirty details from inside the industry, so public should know that. If you used business email for personal communication, well then, next time you should know better.
Remember, openness and transparency has many levels. You may be at different level than Wikileaks. If this level of openness is uncomfortable, so be it but there may be many who feel, this level is ok. Look at how some Govt's point at others as closed societies. Just in this case, there is some one who took more higher level of openness than traditional ones.
It's stolen documents of a private company. Most of the information is nothing more than embarrassing.
>> "If this level of openness is uncomfortable, so be it but there may be many who feel, this level is ok."
So you publish your communications openly then? Seriously, one minute HN is complaining (rightly so) about government invasions of privacy and the next it's congratulating theft of private communications from someone it doesn't like.
Wikileaks has lost what little remaining credibility it had in my eyes. This is little more than stolen documents to satisfy the kinds of people that read gossip sites.
But, if you believe we don't have a legitimate government specifically because some big corporations have bought the government, there really is no barrier between those corporations and the government they bought, and there is no difference leaking government or corporate documents.
Evidently, the people at Wikileaks think the latter.
If we see history, there are no absolute boundaries of privacy and it changes with time and it may feel outrageous now but if we see multiple similar incidents, then it becomes natural,common and after few years, it becomes standard of life and I won't be surprised if future generations in these societies feel proud of that level of transparency and make fun of those who lack that level of openness.
In many cases, people act without consensus based on their decisions. Did you take consensus before posting above message? Just like you did what you thought as right, some one else make other decisions w.r.t wikileaks. Always, there will be initiative and later on consensus comes into picture.
Of course they are. Information that wasn't supposed to be public was stolen and made public against the will of the creators/owners.
People have an inherent right to privacy, and they don't (generally) forfeit that right when they decide to coordinate their actions with other people (within or without the context of a corporation) that also have a right to privacy.
The court of the people have subpoenaed this corporate information. Anyone knows that the corporate veil will be pierced in discovery.
Besides, it's /Sony/, who put rootkits on our PCs in the name of copy protection, and who have never respected individual privacy in the past.
You raise a good point: at what point do you draw the line. I don't have an answer for you, but this example is nowhere near it.
Yeah, right. Some of is of public interest, sure, but then find it, edit it and publish the results. Ah, I forgot, it's not how wikileaks operate. For them making everything public is good in itself (except, of course, when it's about themselves).
What we do have from this time though are a huge number of private journals written/kept by very powerful and influential people. We also have huge troves of their mail correspondence that, without a doubt, was intended to be kept private.
We have since made these things public, written books about them, published the letters reprinted, etc.
So perhaps the release of such correspondence is merely a function of the time since its authorship, or the time since the author (and recipient?) died. The way things operate today though, the future historians are unlikely to get such content.
Such an archival strategy will lead to us never learning from the successes and failures of the past, because they've all been exaggerated into a series of unreachable highs and lamentable lows.
The actions of the hackers who tried to blackmail Sony and stole the documents are wholly unjustifiable. But now that the damage has been done, there is incredible historic and sociological value in seeing what "normal" means inside of a major media corporation.
I find it odd that there is a large overlap in people who support "Transparency" and those who are very big into "privacy."
They are contradictory principles in my mind.
So it would seem Scott Forstall (of Apple) is now an advisor to Snapchat, and owns 0.11% of the stock... I'd been wondering what he'd been up to after Apple.
Great long long long read.
> "Subject: SPE Email Retention Policy
> Email Retention
> SPE’s email retention period is two years."
They might want to rethink that. Or perhaps use encryption.
> "There should be no expectation of privacy when you use SPE’s email system"
I don't condone this leak. But it's explicitly stated in their policy that these emails should not be considered private. They might want to rethink that one too.
Gotta love the "Yikes!" on the part of the guy who presumably handles Sony's relationships with governments.
Other than that. Sony can freely use HTTPS Everywhere, Tor, Switzerland[software], etc., which are supported by EFF. Would be great if they did.
It also cropped up some goodies:
"They mention that it was a sony executive that told them to not use a fictitious name, but to go with kim jong-un - They mention that a former cia agent and someone who used to work for Hilary Clinton looked at the script - this might all be fine, but this is all info that the journalists have at this time."
"This was the first of the important article re; the subject for our doc that appeared in the British press this summer during the Gaza crisis. I think we will get full cooperation from the impt media in europe, the eu, the current conservative govt. in the uk, the current govt in france, angela merkel in germany, many academics ( def at Oxford, Cambridge, LSE ) and of course, major jewish orgs in the uk france germany and in most eu countries ..........
during the high holidays this year, no synagogue in britain or jewish school did not have police protection and private security provided by the cst ( the community security trust, an organization created to report hate crime and provide security to synagogues etc ...... kind of an armed ADL ...... funded by Sir Gerald Ronson ) The same for synagogues in every major European city.
The threat here is very real ....... in certain parts of London ....... even an American accent is commented on ........ negatively, since thebombing of Isis has begun.
This documentary is an essential tool for spreading our message. Ron"
There has been no invasion of privacy. These are all work emails. And if some corporation that is member of MPAA and RIAA gets destroyed - the better.
In 15 minutes of reading I've found personal communications, medical issues, people confiding in a friend over marital problems, etc.
This is 2015. People use their work email for personal communications. Should they? Probably not. However, any reasonable person knows that most people do this.
Sony isn't going to get "destroyed" over this, sorry. A bunch of innocent mid-level employees just trying to support their families just got wrecked, though! Woo, we did it internet!
As someone who considers himself far-left leaning, this shit just embarrasses me.
HN is so hypocritical.
NSA accused of spying on peoples private data? Get out the pitchforks!
Tons of innocent peoples private lives leaked by Assange? Woo! We did it Hacker News! We showed them!
Get a grip, guys. You sound like a bunch of insane people.
Sony CEO Michael Lynton was already pitching press secretary Jay Carney on his last day at the White House
Searched of course: https://www.google.com/#q=site:wikileaks.org+download+sony+a...
Seems that Wikileaks is bearing unnecessary cost in hosting the search interface in addition to publishing.
To: Amy Pascal
From: GC <firstname.lastname@example.org> [note: George Clooney]
Subject: "Re: knowing this email is being hacked"
And so you know... According to Scotland Yard....
We are being hacked. So I'll give you a secure address...
Now this is gonna be fun.
But Hollywood screwed Assange with The Fifth Estate so now they are fair game. He would have prefered to publish Disney emails, but this leaks plenty of conversations about Disney, or that reference Disney, so I guess its good enough.
I thought Wikileaks jumped the shark with "Collateral Murder", but this just about puts them in the same league as the worst elements of the NSA. If Sony broke the law, they could have selectively published those emails.
Yesterday is was the military, todays is large corporations, next I guess Wikileaks will publish the accounts of prominent individuals they don't like.
For the record, I think any mainstream media that republish these emails are just as bad as Wikileaks.
The problem is the role of press and activists as a sort of citizen's law enforcement branch. The rule of law is not strong enough that crimes committed by powerful individuals, companies, militaries, and so on will be actually investigated. So scandals must be uncovered from the outside. But the public is also quite hungry for non-illegal scandal.
WRT "Collateral Murder", what do you think is the correct way to investigate war crimes when you know the military involved will not punish them internally?
Pointing at other corrupt organizations and saying they also have done wrong that went unpunished (although as far as I know the UK hacking did not go unpublished), does not justify doing wrong. The irony of course is that Assange is hiding in London precisely to avoid appearing in court.
But I also acknowledge we all have a different set of morals. For some the ends justifies the means. I personally believe the ends never justify the means.
The ends justifies the means is usually what war criminals claim to be their justification.
A better example from the UK might be the widespread allegations of uninvestigated child abuse by members of the establishment that I'm not going to name for fear of libel litigation.
LOL good luck! They're behind seven proxies. </meme>
But seriously, if someone pulled a WikiLeaks on WikiLeaks that would probably go over well. Hats off to great exploits and whatnot.
I think the point is to not be selective. Release the info, and let people do with it as they may.