Wikileaks finds a business model

1Within minutes of the electrons drying on my last column about the Wikileaks CIA document drop called Vault 7, Julian Assange came out with the novel idea that he and Wikileaks would assist big Internet companies with their technical responses to the obvious threats posed by all these government and third-party security hacks. After all, Wikileaks had so far published only documentation for the hacks, not the source code. There was still time! How noble of Assange and Wikileaks!

OR, Wikileaks has found a new business model. When organized crime offers assistance against a threat they effectively control it’s called a Protection Racket and is against […]

The CIA, WikiLeaks and Spy Versus Spy

Spy_vs_SpyAs pretty much anyone who reads this column already knows, WikiLeaks has dropped a trove of about 8700 secret documents that purport to cover a range of CIA plans and technologies for snooping over the Internet — everything from cracking encrypted communication products to turning Samsung smart TVs into listening devices against their owners. Two questions immediately arise: 1) are these documents legit (they appear to be), and; 2) WTF does it mean for people like us, who aren’t spies, public officials, or soldiers of fortune? This latter answer requires a longer explanation but suffice it to say this news is generally not good for anyone, not even for spies unless […]

How To Plug a Leak: Don't

If the United States is so upset with Julian Assange and Wikileaks for continuing to expose its stash of 200,000+ purloined U. S. diplomatic cables, why aren’t they trying to extradite the guy to face trial in the U. S.? I can think of at least four reasons.

First there’s the problem of actually convicting the guy, which is doubtful. While the Department of State might well be able to extradite Assange, either before or after his date-rape trial in Sweden, they are unlikely to gain a conviction in most U. S. courts. What’s the charge? Violating the Espionage Act outside the United States as an Australian citizen who isn’t accused of having stolen anything? That […]

By |December 20th, 2010|2010|60 Comments

Cyber Rumble

There’s a global electronic battle going on, we’re told, between those who support Wikileaks and those who oppose it. Mastercard, PayPal, and Visa are under attack for refusing to process contributions to Wikileaks, their web sites periodically unavailable because of a massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack by thousands of zombie PCs all over the world.  Nothing about this makes any sense to me. It’s stupid.

The so-called cyber war (more of a cyber rumble, really — one posse against another) is stupid because neither side can win as they are playing it and neither can lose. Pain can be inflicted, but mainly on innocent bystanders, rather than combatants. And those who caused the war […]


I spent eight years at InfoWorld working as a gossip columnist and know a thing or two about news leaks. So here is the gossip columnist’s view of this week’s huge Wikileaks story about U. S. diplomatic cables. It comes down, frankly, to a squandered opportunity.

Wikileaks is a garbage dump for embarrassing information. When it is about truly bad guys or even just the other guy (not us) most see some value in the site, but those in power really hate it and so do the media, which might surprise you.

Maybe an example will help. Back in the early 1990s I got a call one day from someone at Apple who wanted to […]