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Reader riposte: Secrecy in the information age

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This post is part of the Unisys forum on the future of secrecy debate thread. To read other posts in this debate, click here.

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9 March 2012 10:17


This post is part of the Unisys forum on the future of secrecy debate thread. To read other posts in this debate, click here.

Anna Madeleine Solar-Bassett writes:

Social media is going to be a major issue of the secrecy debate moving forward. As Kony 2012 and Wikileaks show, governments that support open and relatively free internet systems (save for IP protections such as copyright in favour of economic incentivisation of creativity) are going to have to deal with the increasing openness of high level government, commerce and finance moving forward (unless you want to institute China/Iran/Kyrgystan/et al's  ideas about creating national 'intranets': completely filtered and blocked internets). 

Indeed, moving forward, a key distinguisher between states will be, as many commentators have noted, not about left and right, but open or closed. Australian, American, European, etc governments that purport to believe in liberal democratic ideas such as free speech, expression and internet are going to have to accept that, once information is out there on the net, it is very hard to redact, whether or not you can criminally prosecute post-facto. 

Secrecy in this environment is going to get a lot harder, and specifically for Australia is highly linked to the education debate — as less and less local students are interested in studying science, math and importantly ICT, upon what basis will our security establishment (ASIO, ASIS, Defence etc) recruit persons they can trust to help us build cyber-defence capabilities? In other words, Geek ICT students plus correct motivations — a dash of nationalism, patriotism or sense of adventure — are becoming increasingly scare to find, just as Chinese countries manically ramp up their training of their own nationals in cyber-security and cyber-warfare capabilities, often at international institutions such as our top-tier Australian Universities.

Why not also reform, whilst one is at it, migration law, so that people with such training who want to migrate to Australia and become involved in governmental positions can do so (this would obviously require clear guidelines on security clearances as well - itself a nefariously but necessary secret policy process!)

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