Recently, the site of WikiLeaks has been capturing quite some attention. First of all for publishing all the secret Afghanistan documents, but last week also about threatening to publish security information about human rights activists around the world, causing a real security issue for people who are defending human Rights. Not only that, WikiLeaks mentioned to not publish the information if the Human Rights Organizations paid up $700,000.
Now, I am quite clear in my position over this; if it is up to me, WikiLeaks would be taken down right this same day. The reason is not even only the ‘right to know’ information that is published, but because it is absolutely unimportant information to practically all of us.
First of all, we do not always have the right to know. Even if we think we have, just like many people think they have the right to copy all the music for free, and share the rips of DVD’s on the web. There is no right in the world mentioning that. Also, claiming to have that right is useless. And, the right to know is different to have the right to share. WikiLeaks biggest problem is that they publish information that they do not have the right to publish for. The information is not theirs. It is honestly a form of illegal file-sharing, but then on an information scale. So, there goes the ‘right’ issue.
But who cares even about that, the information serves us no purpose. And this is why I say that:
You really do not want to know how a lot of things work. If you do, buy the book ‘How Things Work’ on Amazon which reports to you how a dishwasher works, how hard-drives store their data and how a camera can put a visual source into a picture. But other than that, believe me, you want and need to know the things that involve your daily life.
For example, you don’t want to know how the company is run and how the code is programmed of security companies. Simply, because if you would know, you would not trust it anymore. You don’t want to know how Homeland Security is run, or what happens behind the screens with the senator, governor or president we all love or hate. It would give us a whole different perspective in life.
For example, take you tax dollars. Add all our tax-paid-dollars a year up, and see the huge amount it will turn into. Then, take a look what you get back for it… you do not want to know. The technical level of your hospital? Don’t want to know. Worse, why is it that one department in your hospital has the newest technology, and the next department in the same hospital cannot even afford decent staff? You really do not want to know.
Why haven’t we got Bin Laden yet? What happened in Roswell and where is Area 51 and what’s in it? Really, don’t want to know.
Or closer to home; What happened with the bail-out money that the banks received? Who is actually keeping track of your money at the bank? Who holds your current mortgage?
All these things you do not want to know. Why? Because they simply would make your life miserable. I have seen many things behind the screens during my time as a technical consultant and even now. And elements we completely rely on, that we think are so stable, so good, are doing mostly good at upholding that image. Look at Sun Micro-systems, when they were bought by Oracle, it suddenly became clear how inefficient the company worked, how absurtly expensive the machines were compared to what they did, and how bad the company was run. Sun was long time seen as the most innovative computer company in the world.
Really, believe me, you do not want to know all the things. It is not important. How bad do you want to know where the human-right-activists in China are? What is it to you? And what were you planning to do with this information? That information is with a reason not made public, because your need to ‘know’ this information is causing major security issues and most probably will cost lives.
So one final time, believe me, you don’t want to know.
And you are not on a need to know level.