Saturday, March 12, 2011

Is greater information transparency (e.g., Wikileaks, etc.) a good trend for the future?


Imagine a world where governments operate in a fully transparent manner. A world where those that govern have no where to hide. What they do and how they do it is known.

What would the world be if dictators, strongmen, powerful corporations, corrupt governments, authoritarian regimes, despots, and religious fanatics could no longer control, manipulate, and alter the flow and/or content of information to their intended victims. The governed and the governing, the strong and the weak, suddenly, on a more equal footing.

Wikileaks, and those like it, are having a fundamental impact in the relationship between those in power and the general public. When information is immediately available, and verifiable, all that remains for those in power is transparency, truth, and ... the need to exhibit true leadership.

What about a “good” government? Do they have a legitimate need for some level of secrecy? Are governments and/or powerful entities inherently something we should always be worried about? Something we should constantly monitor? Something we should be able to change and correct on a timely basis? The founding fathers of the US thought so -- separation of powers, democracy, “for the people”, the right to bear arms, etc. All principles defined to ensure that our government remains accountable to the people. The new information transparency only becomes one more tool in this arsenal.

There will always be a need for some things to remain confidential. However, the bar will have to be high, the case for secrecy very strong, and the process for moving the bar carefully managed.

Imagine a world where governments, corporations, religious leaders, and those in power are closely monitored and held accountable. A world focused on “good” things and not on how best to get away with “bad” things.

Maybe this is the beginning of a world less focused on the few and more focused on the many : )

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