Since its inception in 2006, Wikileaks has not shied away from making sensitive and critical secrets public, which it obtained from several anonymous sources. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange gives priority to keeping the details of its news providers as secret. Hence, most of the documents published by the organization might have been contributed by journalists working across various sectors.
The development has put the security of millions of internet users under threat. The operation extracted audio and video chats, messages, mails, facebook accounts and much more. When such sensitive information has leaked out and all the major tech companies are involved in this continuing process, it can be termed as a security breech. This has definitely raised concerns regarding how safe the personal information of users is even in their private accounts. Some apps like HBSwiss guarantee 100% privacy.
The usage of icloud and other sharing systems by the digital generation are on the high. Photos, videos, documents and all kinds of data can be now be uploaded and shared on various platforms such as Google drive, drop box, etc. If private accounts are not safe as per the Wikileaks revelation, then sharing platforms are far less safe. There has also been a notice claiming ‘Dropbox coming soon’. Wikileaks has also leaked credit card details and login credentials of several users, which was widely criticized.
Following the release of thousands of confidential data including that of US diplomatic cables (Cablegate), Wikileaks was blocked by several organizations in the US, Switzerland, Australia, China, UAE, etc. Financial institutions like PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America blocked Wikileaks and the Facebook and twitter accounts used by Wikileaks supporters were also closed.
US policy makers have criticized the actions of Wikileaks as the disclosure of confidential documents not only affected government actions, but also negatively affected the normal life of people. The transparency and leak of certain secret information have made many people vulnerable by revealing their identities and have affected the legal secrecy of such data. This may lead to change in the policies of holding secret documents and strict directions regarding sharing processes.
Laws may be defined to curb freedom of expression, intellectual properties and monitor internet traffic. This will put even the innocent civilians under the scanner and the violation of their privacy rights.
Publishing of personal details
Wikileaks went on to publish more than 19000 mails as a part of Cablegate leaks, including credit card credentials, passport and social security numbers of innocent civilians. This came as an unaccepted act, breeching all privacy laws and putting them at high risk.
There is always a risk of credit card getting hacked and the social security is at stake with the identities becoming vulnerable. These make the maintenance of security passwords even more painful. Every now and then, authentication codes have to be changed.
The civilians have to think twice before sending or sharing any personal details or documents through emails and messages. Cloud sharing platforms may no longer be completely trustworthy as before even if the owning authorities assure of complete security, the users will still have the element of doubt.
Changing passwords frequently may make online actions no longer easy and reliable as before.
Possible impacts in a nutshell
The actions of Wikileaks may lead to either of the following changes in the methods of sharing:
- More tight secrecy regulations may come into enforcement, restricting the sharing of data. Civilians may retort to older methods of sharing and storing information and online sharing methods may lose their importance. Every online transaction and activities will be constantly viewed with suspicion.
- Better protection mechanisms may be created to ensure leak proof sharing system, reducing the privacy concerns of users and at the same time encouraging them to continue online without jittery.