A lot of talk has been around WikiLeaks concerning what should and what should not be kept secret, about privacy of Powers That Be, about perceived hypocrisy surrounding WikiLeaks (aaah, you ask for openness and you're all secret yourself!)...
Now, lemme tell ya somethin' bout the government. Well, not exactly about the government, but about all of these issues i've mentioned in the first sentence. You see, people keep confusing privacy with secrecy. Privacy is what i do in my backyard, what porn i jack off to, what music i like - this is privacy. If i killed somebody and didn't tell anyone and no-one found out - that's secrecy, not privacy. This is not my private matter, for fucks sake, i killed a man (or a woman)!
Now, does WikiLeaks need secrecy? Of course it does. It is a media outlet. It needs to protect its sources if they wish to remain anonymous, so that the government (or anyone else) couldn't take action against them. Does Julian Assange need privacy? Of course he does - just as i do, you do and everyone else does. But do not confuse privacy with secrecy.
When you are on duty, there's no such thing as privacy. You have your corporate email, CCTV's on site, strict code of conduct, timetable and everything is being monitored from up above - and that's how it's supposed to be. Because you are at work. You're not at home - home is a private place, work isn't.
When someone in the government is on duty - they fall exactly under the same category of "work". They are serving people, and they have to be held accountable for what they do. Everything needs to be transparent. They have no right for privacy while they are on duty. They have their right of privacy when they come back home after a long day and fuck their wives or jack off to horse porn - i have no problem with that, but why people keep confusing privacy and secrecy is beyond me.
The difference between corporations and government though is in case of corporations, there is management and all these people who run the show. They can be held accountable for what the corporation does, or can punish their employees for violating corporate rules or doing something illegal. In case of government, the "management" is me, you and any other voter who chose them. The government must be held accountable by us, and people doing shady stuff should be punished by government on our behalf. When corporations (or government) are doing shady stuff in a coordinated fashion - this is called conspiracy.
Diplomatic cables are like corporate email. It is sort of a private conversation, but when the need arises, it can be made public. No one should use corporate email for private stuff, that's why we have private email addresses. If your corporate email exposes some stuff you shouldn't have said or done - well, it's not my problem. You're supposed to do your job, not fucking little boys dressed in girl's clothes. If these cables revealed guys just doing their jobs - no one would ever say a word and i would be all for prosecuting Assange for sharing private information without the need for it.
Now, do we need secrecy? Of course we need some secrets. Some things are meant to be kept secret for a while. The primary point of secrecy is to gain strategic advantage, so your enemies are not aware of what you are up to. So when you did gain it, when all is said and done - why secrecy? No one would be afraid of declassifying secret or top secret information if there was nothing to hide.
The problem is that there is. The mechanism of secrecy is long since being abused to cover up fuck-ups and shady stuff the government does. That is why the government is so outraged at WikiLeaks - because it can expose something that shouldn't have been a secret but been under criminal investigation. Tortures, spying, bribing one government and putting pressure on another, covertly transporting prisoners - the list goes on and on. This has nothing to do with privacy and confidentiality, this is criminal activity hidden by the cloak of secrecy. Do we need that kind of secrecy? I doubt it.
Now, the curious case of WikiLeaks. Some may argue that WikiLeaks got the documents as a result of criminal activity (sharing confidential and top secret government information with third parties). What did WikiLeaks do? Buy this information? No. Sell it to someone? No. What they did was send the data to newspapers and let them do the job they are meant to do. There's certainly nothing criminal in WikiLeaks action.
Some may argue that sharing top secret information is still a crime. OK, valid point, but there must be common sense applied to that. First of all, WikiLeaks' cables and documents disclose information that shouldn't have been secret in the first place. Tell me one reason why people should not know when government is spying on them. Tell me one reason why people should not know that USA is pressuring Germany not to bring a criminal case against CIA agents. Tell me one reason why people should not know that their government killed 15'000 more civilians in Iraq. Are these legitimate secrets? You decide.
Second, whistle blowing is a noble activity. It is OK not to share corporate information with third parties, but what if your corporation (e.g. government) does something it shouldn't do and gets away with it? If you expose this information, who should be prosecuted - you or the government? For me, the answer is obvious.
This brings up a curious question - who is supposed to decide what is good and what isn't? Well, don't we have laws for that? Isn't murder illegal? Isn't bribery illegal? Isn't influencing justice system of a foreign country illegal? Not wrong, but illegal. So why exposing illegal activities is illegal?