Wikileaks and Confucius

Two big stories at the moment in relation to publication on the Web.

The Guardian losing its fight (for now) with Barclays over the publication of leaked memos: the reporting is very confused in some places, but I gather that Barclays has successfully obtained an interlocutory injunction, despite the Guardian’s argument that the material was no longer covered by the first element of breach of confidence (that the information has the necessary quality of confidence) due to its circulation on the Web. It appears that the Guardian was the first to publish it, but an interim injunction was issued shortly after publication, though not before others had saved/republished the documents. There’s a surprise. I look forward to seeing the full reasons for judgment, if they emerge.

In Australia, the already-contentious question of Internet filtering has a new dimension. A list (though probably not ‘the list’) of sites due to be filtered has made its way onto the interwebs: Nic Suzor‘s coverage (such as this round-up here) is excellent. There is a lot of chatter over whether publishing the list (or linking to it) is itself an offence; I’m watching that closely, given that one of the reasons against transparency for ‘filtering’ authorities (whether governmental or self-appointed) is that this would provide a directory of illegal sites, of value to undesirables – if the information is going to be made available through other channels, we may have to revisit that argument! (Past criticism of the IWF here).

Our old friend Wikileaks is the link between the two stories, with the documents in both cases being published there. I had trouble with accessing Wikileaks earlier, as did others, but I was able to put away my censorship radar, as it seems to have been no more than technical difficulties on the part of the hosts, and should be working now. Of course, Wikileaks itself may be engaging various types of legal provisions in theory by publishing these documents – but that’s to be expected. Interesting times in all sorts of ways.

One Reply to “Wikileaks and Confucius”

  1. Wikileaks responded to the threat of investigation with reference to Sweden’s constitutional law protecting anonymous sources and threatened Conroy with extradition, which is pretty ballsy if unlikely to get that far. Also, they extracted a copy of the current list from a filter after its maker issued an update, presumably because ACMA realised filter makers weren’t removing removed sites from their lists when the first list (with 2000+ entries) was leaked.

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