WikiLeaks: The Illusion of Transparency

International Review of Administrative Sciences, 2012

29 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2011 Last revised: 5 Jul 2015

Alasdair S. Roberts

University of Massachusetts Amherst - School of Public Policy

Date Written: June 2, 2011

Abstract

It has been said that the 2010 WikiLeaks disclosures marked "the end of secrecy in the old fashioned, cold-war-era sense." This is not true. Advocates of WikiLeaks have overstated the scale and significance of the leaks. They also overlook many ways in which the simple logic of radical transparency - leak, publish, and wait for the inevitable outrage - can be defeated in practice. WikiLeaks only created the illusion of a new era in transparency. In fact the 2010 leaks revealed the obstacles to achievement of increased transparency, even in the digital age.

Keywords: government secrecy, transparency, right to information, national security, diplomacy

Suggested Citation

Roberts, Alasdair S., WikiLeaks: The Illusion of Transparency (June 2, 2011). International Review of Administrative Sciences, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1801343 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1801343

Alasdair S. Roberts (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts Amherst - School of Public Policy ( email )

Thompson Hall
Amherst, MA 01003
United States
6175999029 (Phone)

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