Wikileaks will lead to security crackdowns, say readers

A majority of ZDNet UK readers have said in a poll that governments will try to clamp down on employee access to data as a result of Wikileaks's publication of documents
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

Wikileaks's publication of sensitive US diplomatic cables and documents will cause a tightening of government security around the world, many ZDNet UK readers have said.

In a global poll conducted by ZDNet last week — which received more than 11,000 responses from around the world — over a hundred UK readers said that there will be stricter governmental security controls as a result of Wikileaks's activities.

"There will be increased surveillance of all employees and their computer activity," wrote one reader. "It's probably a good time to be in the 'insider threat detection' business."

Many readers said that governments will begin to enforce stricter access controls, and reduce the amount of data available to employees.

The US government is in the process of restricting access to military and diplomatic networks. The US has charged an army soldier, Bradley Manning, with the disclosure of classified information to Wikileaks.

Organisations must also consider the likely impact of leaked documents and conversations, some readers pointed out.

"Whether you agree or disagree with what Wikileaks has done, organisations, governments and individuals will be forced to consider what the impact may be to them if their private conversations were made public," wrote one reader. "Ultimately the question is whether this will change the way people communicate knowing that what they say privately may one day be public."

Readers pointed out that Wkileaks had managed to survive various setbacks, including the loss of a domain name.

"Trying to stop the flow of information simply spreads the information further," said one reader.

The majority of ZDNet UK readers indicated that they did not approve of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks by pro-Wikileaks supporters against organisations including PayPal, MasterCard, and Visa, which refused to process Wikileaks donations.

The internet community has garnered a bad name for itself.
– ZDNet UK reader

"The internet community has garnered a bad name for itself," said a reader.

However, a significant minority of readers — around 37 percent — felt that the attacks were justified.

"[Attacking sites] is a justified necessity," said one reader. "DDoS attacks are to hacking what picketing is to breaking and entering."

One effect of the leaks on governments has been to weaken people's belief in government public relations pronouncements, readers said.

"We often suspect that politicians lie to us, now we have this confirmed by reading their private communiques," wrote one reader. "I'd be a lot happier to find that their private thoughts agreed with their public utterances more frequently."

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