Keying in on anonymity

One of the means by which some attempt to rationalize the wikileaks support efforts is to try to conflate them with civil disobedience and then elevate that activity to a moral righteousness. The Economist takes a look at The rights and wrongs of hacktivism to qualify this rationalization.

in a free society the moral footing for peaceful lawbreaking must be an individual’s readiness to take the consequences, argue in court and fight for a change in the law. Demonstrators therefore deserve protection only if they are identifiable.

Of course, the publication having the bias it does, there is a caveat so as to make both sides just as evil.

This applies to those attacking WikiLeaks too—a point American politicians calling for reprisals against Julian Assange’s outfit should note. Posses and vigilantes, online and off, mete out rough justice, at best. That is no substitute for the real thing.

As far as what is in evidence, there is no posse of vigilante committee out to wreak the havoc cautioned about. There are some folks who have expressed individual opinion, some businesses who have decided their interests lie elsewhere, and a rape accusation but these are not an extra-judicial action as some wikileaks apologists try to assert.

The immoral or perhaps illegal behavior is only one issue for debate. A more interesting one is that noticed in the column – anonymity. What wikileaks is all about is removing anonymity from selected targets. It does not consider itself one of those targets so it protects its own anonymity. Those who commit reprisals against supposed wikileaks enemies also depend upon a veil of anonymity to protect themselves. What they are saying is they the should not be held accountable for their actions. That does not bode well for a proper responsibility accountable to any standards. The name for that is anarchy.

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