Wikileaks: Information Messiah or Global Terrorist?
SPOOKED: THE TRUTH ABOUT INTELLIGENCE IN AUSTRALIA, D. Baldino, ed., UNSW Press, 2013
18 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2014 Last revised: 25 Oct 2016
Date Written: 2013
This article interrogates some of the common legal claims circulating about WikiLeaks. It first examines claims that WikiLeaks has broken the law, endangered security, and risked lives. In doing so it shows how the law both goes too far and does too little in the name of security. It is well accepted that it is legitimate for governments to protect the confidentiality of a range of information, including personal information, law enforcement details, legally privileged material, diplomatic communications, and intelligence. However, the leaks reveal that some information over which governments claim confidentiality is genuinely in the public interest. Any restrictions on freedom of information must be necessary in pursuit of a legitimate aim and proportionate not excessive. Further, the correlative of media freedom is the responsibility not to abuse it to do harm, and WikiLeaks has gone too far in pursuing a vision of near-absolute freedom of information that has not only endangered the lives of those on the frontline fighting human rights violators or terrorisms, but has jeopardized global cooperation against shared security threats and hard human rights problems. This article equally queries whether Assange is so threatened that he deserves asylum – or should face justice for abusing women.
Keywords: Julian Assange, Wikileaks, freedom of information, asylum, confidentiality, intelligence, security, human rights, international law
JEL Classification: K10, K14, K30, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation