Sunday, December 05, 2010

Positive transparency II

The leaks from Wikileaks just keep on coming. Today's news: China's infowar against Google, and the UK Tories promising to be good little suck-ups to America and buy lots of guns. Meanwhile, the US is stepping up its own infowar against Wikileaks, with PayPal cutting off its account for "illegal activity" (embarrassing the hegemon apparently being a crime), the US government warning its employees not to read secret leaked documents in the hope of getting them to ignore what the rest of the world knows, and the Australian police desperately looking for something to charge Julian Assange with so they too can show their loyalty to the US.

Meanwhile, while everyone is looking at Wikileaks, there's been another interesting leak close to home, of a New Zealand negotiating paper on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership FTA. And surprisingly, this shows that our government is not selling us out, and that it is resisting US pressure to gut Pharmac and inflict US-style intellectual property laws upon us. This is reassuring, but it rankles that we have to learn about it via a leak. Shouldn't we be able to know that our government is not betraying us? Again, more transparency would be positive, both in reassuring us that our government really is acting for us, and in allowing us to hold it to account if it is not.