On the question of WikiLeaks (which I have been more than happy, until this point, to feverishly avoid), I am of the view that there are legitimate reasons for the State to keep secrets from its citizens, for reasons of national security
. This is the driving rationale behind the Security of Information Act
(formerly the Official Secrets Act
) in Canada
. This Act, though, provides that breaches of such security can be defended where it is proven that it can be established to have been "in the public interest" (as per s. 15(1)). This has no bearing of course, in relation to the work of WikiLeaks, but it is a judicial principle to keep in mind.
As interesting as some of this information has been, the release of special operational information of our own nation, or of other nations, should be enthusiastically condemned, and prosecuted to the maximum extent possible. It does raise the bigger issue, though, of whether much of this information--and let's be clear, a lot of this does not have any relevance to national security--should have been made secret in the first place. It raises questions of accountability and transparency.