WikiLeaks and the Age of Transparency
By Micah L. Sifry
This is a fascinating read which is correctly introduced as being a presentation on information transparency from a guy with a highly pro-transparency bias. It’s not a manifesto, per se, but there’s no real attempt to present a balanced discussion of the issues or present even a straw target of the counter arguments. Instead, there are a lot of examples of both successful and failed attempts to achieve transparency in government and reporting. Examples come from the United Kingdom, the United States, various countries in Africa and in Europe.
Sifry is describing the world of information and of government responsibility as he sees it and I think it’s a very useful perspective to understand. I even agree with him to a large extent. Not completely though.
The title is also a bit misleading. I had originally intended to read it to gain an understanding of WikiLeaks specifically. I’d only vaguely followed the WikiLeaks situation in the news and want to know more. In this eight-chapter book, however, only the first and last chapters are actually about WikiLeaks. The majority of the book provides a much broader presentation on information transparency in general.
It was an engaging and informative read. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in politics, or journalism, or just information issues in general. It is, however, very subject specific so if you aren’t interested in the subject, it’s unlikely to transcend that disinterest. Since I find the subject fascinating, it was a good book and well worth reading.
I am definitely with the author on being highly pro-transparency, which I’ve found is often at odds with most companies at which I’ve worked, so this probably would be interesting to me, but I agree with you that I’d also enjoy a book that really delves into WikiLeaks in particular. Maybe you could suggest that he write a sequel?