The United States government is diligent -- some might say to the point of obsession -- in defending its borders against invaders. Now we are told that a small, international band of renegades, armed with nothing more than laptops, presents the greatest threat to the US regime since the close of the Cold War. WikiLeaks' release of a massive trove of secret official documents has riled politicians across the spectrum -- even free-speech advocates.
Welcome to the uncomfortable Age of Transparency. Political analyst and writer Micah Sifry argues that WikiLeaks is not the whole story: it is a symptom, an indicator, of a generational and philosophical struggle between older, closed systems, and the new, open culture of the internet. Despite the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the publication of secret documents continues around the world, and citizens are demanding greater accountability from those who wield power. As Sifry shows, this is part of a larger movement for greater governmental and corporate transparency: 'When you combine connectivity with transparency -- the ability for more people to see, share, and shape what is going on around them -- the result is a huge increase in social energy, which is being channelled in all kinds of directions.'