Labour is committed to a strong policy on open and transparent government based on core principles. One of those principles is that sunlight can, and should be, the best disinfectant.
In 2010, OpenLabourNZ was NZ’s first attempt to develop policy in an open way using online technology.
It would be foolish to say that all matters to do with policy-making and governing should be conducted in the open or available to public scrutiny. But Wikileaks has cracked open many issues that beg the question; why not be more open?
A disturbing new development reveals ongoing attempts to shut down WikiLeaks now involve an Icelandic member of parliament.
Salon, a US online news and entertainment website and the Guardian newspaper have reported that Birgitta Jonsdottir, Icelandic MP and former WikiLeaks volunteer, is fighting a US justice department attempt to get hold of her private messages on Twitter.
DOJ subpoenas Twitter records of several WikiLeaks volunteers
Last night, Birgitta Jónsdóttir — a former WikiLeaks volunteer and current member of the Icelandic Parliament — announced (on Twitter) that she had been notified by Twitter that the DOJ had served a Subpoena demanding information “about all my tweets and more since November 1st 2009.” Several news outlets, including The Guardian, wrote about Jónsdóttir’s announcement.
What hasn’t been reported is that the Subpoena served on Twitter — which is actually an Order from a federal court that the DOJ requested — seeks the same information for numerous other individuals currently or formerly associated with WikiLeaks, including Jacob Appelbaum, Rop Gonggrijp, and Julian Assange. It also seeks the same information for Bradley Manning and for WikiLeaks’ Twitter account.
The information demanded by the DOJ is sweeping in scope. It includes all mailing addresses and billing information known for the user, all connection records and session times, all IP addresses used to access Twitter, all known email accounts, as well as the “means and source of payment,” including banking records and credit cards. It seeks all of that information for the period beginning November 1, 2009, through the present. A copy of the Order served on Twitter is here.
The sunlight in this case is on the DOJ’s intention, regarding the individuals named in the subpoena, and re Twitter, one of the world’s leading social media outlets.
I myself follow the WikiLeaks Twitter account and discovered this story a short time ago on Twitter.
My concern is whether there is an attempt to shut down, restrict or compromise the ability of a social media outlet to exist and for people who use Twitter to communicate freely.
I don’t think it will work. And I think that the attitudes of those in government regarding openness don’t necessarily reflect the attitudes of the people they represent. And it’s time for change.