Internal Threat: The WikiLeaks Incident Should Concern Everyone

Sue Marquette Poremba

I've been following the story of leaked military documents via WikiLeaks with interest. At odds are the differing opinions that military information must be kept secret versus citizens having a right to know.


I am personally concerned at the vast amount of military data that is now in public view. But in terms of this blog, the leak should be a warning to all organizations that even the most confidential information is fair game for disgruntled employees or bad guys looking to make a lot of money -- and here they have a legimate site to anonymously release that data into the wild. As Andrew Rasiej, cofounder of the Personal Democracy Forum, said in an article at TechNewsWorld:


The real issue, however, is that the Internet plays a role in collecting the information, distributing the information, and allowing the millions, if not billions, of eyeballs to check the information's veracity. WikiLeaks has expanded the idea of the town square to an exponential level.

When I first heard of WikiLeaks, it was in terms of a site for whistleblowers to safely reveal wrongdoings by a particular enterprise. But at what point does whistleblowing end and the desire to release "the truth" of an organization begin? How much do you trust those within your company to not reveal the business's deepest secrets?


Social media has provided an ever increasing number of ways to put confidential or harmful information out to the public, but despite attempting to put strict regulations into workplace policy, it is hard to control what happens off the company network. Themilitary just relaxed its stand on the use of sites like Facebook, but even if it didn't, those who want to share the confidential data will find ways to get it out there. As an article in The Christian Science Monitor reported:


Is the likelihood rising that someone with access to information will feel a moral obligation to "get the truth out"-as the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq grind on and as many debate controversial practices such as waterboarding and secret prisons?


The existence of WikiLeaks, of thumb drives, and of thousands of young soldiers recruited for the wars every year supports answering that question with a "yes."

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