Morning Wrap: Is There Any Expectation of Privacy in the 21st Century?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 12:47 PM

The sunrise from The Takeaway control room on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010 The sunrise from The Takeaway control room on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010 (Sitara Nieves)

You’re still weighing in on the Wikileaks document dump:

The thing about these leaks is how little important information is here. Embarrassing to us and our allies? Sure. But who doesn't think North Korea acts like a spoiled child? Who isn't aware of how China has little impact on North Korea? If WikiLeaks acts like they're doing investigative journalism, they're wrong.They're just another example of tabloid journalism. (Andy on Facebook)

Here’s New York Times executive editor Bill Keller's take this morning:

 Within the cables, you see the limits of what we know.  This story we published this morning on all the neighbors of North Korea trying to figure out what goes on in that country shows that even the Chinese, their closest ally, is clueless about what makes North Korea tick…And sometimes cables are just cables.”

And this comment by Keller started a conversation between John Hockenberry and the control room after the end of the four-hour live show:

“This is a one-time window. It’s quite extraordinary, it’s amazing to read, and I joke to colleagues that I sometimes feel like this must be what it's like to work at the NSA's eavesdropping section: it's so strange to have this intimate access to events. But this isn’t going to happen again is my bet.”

In our post-show conversation, we weren’t so sure whether this actually was a one-time window. It seems like this could be the start of a transformation of U.S. intelligence gathering and high level diplomacy.   

Yesterday, former Amb. Ronald E. Neumann made it very clear that he believes this kind of leak is damaging and dangerous because it limits diplomats’ ability to get people to talk honestly and openly.

But in 2010, how many of us have an expectation of privacy, even in our most private conversations? (See Brett Favre; workers who have been fired for what they say on Facebook; or public figures like Gadhafi, as revealed in these documents.)

It’s possible that secret talks and secret diplomacy simply can’t have the same kind of role in the 21st century as they have in the past.

To be clear: there are communications that need to remain secret to protect lives and to maintain national security. But the WikiLeaks document dump may just expose the reality of the often uncomfortably open century we live in.

More on this as the week continues. As always, let us know what you think. Call 877-8-MY-TAKE or reach us on Facebook.

Today’s show playlist:

  • Bob Mould – Again and Again
  • Stereolab – Equivalences
  • Minus the Bear – White Mystery
  • Akido – Mrchf Thftr
  • Mum – Green Grass of Tunnels
  • Medeski Martin and Wood – Where’s Sly
  • Waterboi – Hurting Myself
  • Manu Chao – Je ne T’aime plus
  • The Sea and Cake – Earth Star
  • Tristeza – Harmonic Sea
  • HIM – Third Wish
  • Redneck Manifesto – Hex
  • The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil



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