By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Wikileaks and the Age of Transparency
By Micah Sifry (Scribe, $22.95, softcover, 217 pages)
Life is rife with examples of people suffering the consequences of duplicity and hypocrisy by government and institutional leaders.
The WikiLeaks phenomenon and how it fits into the much larger global movement for transparency is an informative and engaging read.
When it comes to interaction between politics and revolutionary media technology and the resulting changes, no one is better qualified than Micah Sifry to explain the new realities in this age where political and corporate transparency is keenly sought.
This is only a small part of a larger picture about how the powerful and the people relate to each other: which is essentially what WikiLeaks is all about. While we live in an uncomfortable age of transparency, this author and political analyst puts forward arguments about WikiLeaks not being the full story: it’s a marker about the generational tussle between older, closed systems and the modern forthright culture of the internet.
Despite the woes of WikiLeaks’ embattled founder, Julian Assange, the publication of confidential documents continues around the world and citizens are demanding greater accountability from those who wield power.
As Sifry shows, this is part of a larger movement for greater governmental and corporate transparency: “When you combine connectivity with transparency - the ability for more people to see, share, and shape what is going on around them - the result is a huge increase in social energy, which is being channelled in all kinds of directions.”
Sifry understands the issues and with lucidity and forethought examines the hot spot where politics and the internet intersect.
WikiLeaks is the tip of an information iceberg that has grown since the advent of the internet. Sifry demonstrates how the development of political networks has impacted on western democracy and investigates the transparency movement in the US.
Wikileaks and the Age of Transparency points out that for pragmatic reasons, hoarding information can no longer be justified. In the new order, institutions that are interested in the new expectations of accountability and participation will be the ones to succeed over those that say no.
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.