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With “Operation Leakspin,” Anonymous Vows to Help WikiLeaks with Crowdsourced Journalism

This probably won’t get nearly as much media coverage as Anonymous‘ DDoS attacks on the likes of Amazon, Mastercard, PayPal (which has since released WikiLeaks‘ funds) and Visa, but it’s arguably a lot more productive than shooting packets at businesses that weren’t kind to WikiLeaks, and a lot more in keeping with the embattled whistleblower site’s mission. With “Operation: Leakspin,” a faction of Anonymous has vowed to further WikiLeaks’ original cause by shifting attention away from revenge tactics and back to the leaked US diplomatic cables.

The text from an image macro call-to-arms that’s been going around since yesterday, above: (incongruously made with roflbot)

Gentlemen,

we have, at best, given them a black eye. The game has changed. When the game changes, so too must our strategies.

Operation: Leakspin

Begin searching through Wikileaks. Find only the best, least exposed leaks  you can get your hands on. Post summaries of them, along with the complete source. Encourage the reader to read more. Make one-to-two-minute YouTube videos reading the leaks. Use misleading tags, everything from “Tea Party” to “Bieber”. Post snippets of the leaks EVERYWHERE. News comments, fan forums, etc.

They don’t fear the LOIC.

They fear exposure.

The fun begins, at 9:00 P.M. EST

One might disagree with the tactic of YouTube-flooding, but it’s a more legitimate form of culture jamming than illegally attacking businesses online and it’s better than flooding YouTube with porn, in any event. Making blanket statements about Anonymous that refer to it as a cohesive entity are almost always wrong-headed — As TechDirt’s Mike Masnick observes, it’s the definition of a “distributed and open system” online — but the emergence of this strain of thought in Anon is almost certainly a turn for the better.

Whether or not one agrees with the ethics behind WikiLeaks’ release of the diplomatic cables, that genie has been unbottled, and as WikiLeaks continues to mete out more of the 250,000 cables it says it has in its possession (only 1,269 have been released by WikiLeaks as of posting), supporters of WikiLeaks’ mission of transparency will need more eyeballs to sift through the data. Bieber-tagging aside, this isn’t terribly different from Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail’s project to crowdsource the plotting and sifting through of WikiLeaks’ most revealing diplomatic cables worldwide, or The Washington Post’s “Top Secret America” project this past summer, which supplemented a two-year investigation by seasoned investigative reporters with reams of accessible data.

Of course, yet another few pairs of eyes will be necessary to ascertain that the summaries of the cables are legit; consider that Pakistani newspapers were recently embarrassed when they reported on WikiLeaks cables about the Indian army which turned out to be fake. But this, for journalists and citizens interested in the contents of the cables, is the advantage of WikiLeaks’ data-dumping approach: It’s all out there for everyone to see who wants to see it. It’s certainly more transparent than the newspaper reports of the past, citing confidential sources and documents in reaching major conclusions, but denying readers or other journalists the opportunity for peer review and increasing the danger of slant or misrepresentation.

Reddit is aiding in the effort with a /leakspin subreddit, which describes itself as “a collaborative effort to sort through the Wikileaks cables and find the ones that have the greatest public interest and positive impact.”

(via Reddit)

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