I wonder if life will ever be the same on this side of Wikileaks. If you ask me, Wikileaks may just prove to be a game-changer, not just in politics but in all of society. Let me explain.
Just about a year ago I told you that God Watches You Google, showing how search engines never forget what we search for. They know things about us that we have long since forgotten—those embarrassing searches, those immoral questions—they are all there, recorded forever. Would you be prepared to have your search history revealed to the world? Not many of us would. And most of us have assumed that there is little reason to fear; what happens between me and Google stays between me and Google, right?
This is where Wikileaks comes in.
Julian Assange is the man behind the leaks. He is the one who has gathered all of the information that is now coming to light and he is the one who has made it publicly available on the Web. And, of course, he is the one who insists that this is just the tip of the iceberg and there is far more he can reveal. These further revelations could be the most devastating yet. These leaks will impact governments and big businesses. And along the way they will doubtlessly also impact many individuals (since what is government and what is business but a collection of individuals?).
Here is what Assange says about business in a Wikileaks world:
WikiLeaks means it’s easier to run a good business and harder to run a bad business, and all CEOs should be encouraged by this. I think about the case in China where milk powder companies started cutting the protein in milk powder with plastics. That happened at a number of separate manufacturers.
It just means that it’s easier for honest CEOs to run an honest business, if the dishonest businesses are more effected negatively by leaks than honest businesses. That’s the whole idea. In the struggle between open and honest companies and dishonest and closed companies, we’re creating a tremendous reputational tax on the unethical companies.
What Assange believes is that the inevitability of exposure will compel businesses to be more ethical. How will this happen? Because leaks will not just show end results, but also the means a company used to get there. We will not just know that a milk powder company began to cut the protein in milk powder with plastics, but we will also see how the executives came to that decision, what their rationale was, who they told and who they didn’t tell, how they justified themselves. Suddenly everything will be exposed. Everything will be brought to light.
The whole purpose of Wikileaks is to reveal correspondence that was meant to be private. It destroys privacy, laughs at it, regards it as a quaint vestige of the past.