Wikileaks gets ZDNet readers' support

Wikileaks gets ZDNet readers' support

Summary: ZDNet UK readers have broadly supported Wikileaks in a poll, with a majority saying the whistleblower site is right to publish confidential documents. We present the UK results of a global poll of over 11,000 ZDNet readers

TOPICS: Government, Security

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    ZDNet UK's reader poll, which began on Tuesday last week, ran for 48 hours in conjunction with similar polls on ZDNet sites worldwide. In total, 11,329 ZDNet readers around the world sent their responses.

    In the UK, three quarters of readers said that they approved of Wikileaks publishing sensitive documents, and found the documents useful. Wikileaks is in the process of publishing hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables, and in October it released a dossier of documents relating to the Iraq war.

    In the US, only half of ZDNet readers agreed with the publication of the documents, while 59 percent found them useful.

    ZDNet readers in Europe, China and Australia overwhelmingly supported Wikileaks's publication of the documents. In Germany, 88 percent of readers agreed with publication, while in France the figure was 77 percent. A high percentage of readers found the documents useful in both countries. In China, 73 percent of readers agreed that Wikileaks was right to publish the leaked documents; 84 percent of readers in Australia also agreed.

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    ZDNet UK readers thought that Wikileaks was motivated both by a desire to inform and by politics. Wikileaks editor Julian Assange, who faces extradition to Sweden for questioning on sexual molestation charges, has vowed to carry on his work.

    In Asia, over 83 percent of ZDNet readers said that Wikileaks wanted to inform, but only 28 percent thought that the organisation was driven by political motives. By contrast, 62 percent of US readers said that Wikileaks had political motivations, which tallied with China, at 61 percent.

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    UK readers felt that governments should not ban Wikileaks in order to keep sensitive documents secret. However, readers understood that governments may not wish local providers to host Wikileaks.

    A slim majority of US readers said that it was not legitimate to ban Wikileaks, but 76 percent said it was understandable for countries not to want to host Wikileaks.

    In Germany, by contrast, 79 percent of ZDNet readers did not agree that it was understandable that countries would not want to host the whistleblower site.

    At the beginning of December, Amazon stopped hosting Wikileaks on its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). US senator Joe Lieberman said that Amazon had stopped its relationship with Wikileaks after pressure from the US government, a claim that Amazon later denied.

    Payments processors also ceased business relationships with Wikileaks. A PayPal executive said in December that PayPal had stopped accepting donations to Wikileaks after pressure from the US government. MasterCard and Visa also stopped processing payments for Wikileaks donations.

Topics: Government, Security

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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  • I thought the question "Do you think Wikileaks is motivated by politics?" was open to misunderstanding and ambiguity as people understand the word "politics" differently and associate either good or bad with it automatically.

    For example, if you were asking was WikiLeaks motivated by the desire for political change (i.e. more freedom and transparancy), my answer would be yes; however, if you were asking was WikiLeaks motivated by their own political bias, I'd probably say "no"; or if you were asking was WikiLeaks "[using] intrigue or strategy in obtaining any position of power or control" or "[dealing] with people in an opportunistic, manipulative, or devious way" ( I'd definitely say "no".