Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Automic Blog, Dan Blacharski, Sematext Blog

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, Cloud Security, Government Cloud

@CloudExpo: Article

[Update 2] WikiLeaks & Web 3.0 - A Commentary

What does Cablegate teach us about Cloud Computing and the New Web?

[Further updated to include advance word of Jay Rosen/Dave Winer "Rebooting the Media" podcast - #75 coming Monday Dec 6]

[Updated to include PayPal announcement of the closure of WikiLeaks' PayPal account.]

Is Web 3.0 maybe going to be less the utopia we've been envisaging and more like the real, physical world, with all the real-world limitations that follow along with it...?

The latest WikiLeaks ("Cablegate") affair, coming as it does at the very end of the first decade of the 21st Century, comes at an appropriate moment.

An undoubted political and diplomatic hornet's nest, the swirling discussions surrounding the organization's drip-drip release of (so far) 612 of the quarter of a million or so diplomatic cables in its possession are all grist to the mill of an "awakening" that in my view is likely going to mark the difference between the Web of 2000-1010 and that of 2011 onwards.

Viewing the world through the prism of Cloud Computing may seem to many to be a little arcane, but actually it is highly à propos. Because the same people who are failing to suppress the WikiLeaks documents are also in charge of U.S. cybersecurity in general. So one crucial thing we have learned - if for a moment we leave to one side the ethics or unethics of making the cables public - is that, if the rumors/allegations are true, a certain US private Bradley Manning somehow obtained access to far too *much* information for someone of his rank, in one go, before we even go into the question of its potential political and diplomatic sensitivity.

PAUL FREMANTLE has been very outspoken about this. "I place the blame directly on a lack of Governance and poor IT systems," he writes, adding:

"And the measures that have so far been announced - things like removing CD drives from classified systems - are simply the wrong approach. The real problem is why any one person - whatever level of clearance they had - should have access to all 250,000 cables."

Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at WSO2, Fremantle chairs the OASIS WS-RX TC that is standardizing WSRM. He knows his way around XACML, too - eXtensible Access Control Markup Language, a declarative access control policy language implemented in XML - and offers this piece of technical advice to the powers that be:

"Without going into the details of XACML and policy-based entitlement models, suffice it to say that the right approach is to base access not only on the person, but the reason they have for accessing the data. Using policy-based entitlement, it is possible to have a well-defined Governance model where a person is given access to just the right data at just the right time for just the right purpose, and that this can be managed in a process-driven, auditable and controlled manner."

But let us move from the question of the original security breach itself to the broader questions that have been snowballing since, as the authorities have sought to shut stable door after stable door, even while the rest of the Net-savvy world was fully aware that the horse would be on its way to a country like Switzerland.

But the very nature of distributed computing is such that "doors" can be closed ad infinitum with very little effect on the flow of information through the system.

As Java expert and Cloud Computing pioneer ALAN WILLIAMSON puts it: "ThePirateBay is a classic example of a site that just won't die - they have even tried jailing the founders, yet it still happily serves up content every day, growing daily."

As Williamson points out:

"They keep moving their content to secure locations, and keep aligning themselves with bandwidth suppliers who believe in net neutrality."

ThePirateBay though is not cloud-related. In the case of WikiLeaks, it is. When Amazon's AWS team pulled the plug on its service to WikiLeaks - citing Terms of Service breaches - WikiLeaks had to scramble fast and suffered an outage.

"I think this highlights how important cloud neutrality is," says Williamson. "Vendor lock-in is now a major issue. How quickly can I move my enterprise to another vendor? Do I have to align myself with the political viewpoints of my cloud vendor in order to ensure a happy co-existence?"

This is merely a hoster-client relationship problem that existed long before the likes of Amazon/Google/Rackspace got into the cloud-hosting game, Williams reminds us. If your ISP didn't like what you published, they could turn you off. They were under the gun of their upstream bandwidth supplier too. So there was always accountability.

But for Williamson there is a bigger consideration:

"The Internet is open, we have to embrace that. I for one, am proud there are secure silos around the world that can host material and get it out to the people. Yes we have to take the rough with the smooth, and while we do not agree with what they publish, if we live in a free society then this is what we have to swallow if I am to be able to stand up to be heard without fear.

The Internet can keep governments honest...or at least more honest than historically allowed. We have to keep things open."

As WS02's Paul Fremantle expresses it:

"Here is a situation where the world’s biggest superpower wants to have a website erased from the face of the Web. Who will prevail? Given the distributed nature of the Internet, I know where my money is."

STOWE BOYD, self-declared social philosopher and "webthropologist," takes Williamson's "We have to keep things open" stance to another level.

"What WikiLeaks represents is civil disobedience channeled through an agenda of radical openness," declares Boyd. "The individuals involved on a personal level are deciding that laws that may or may not designate their activities as illegal are illegitimate, that our obedience to the state is coerced, and therefore can be morally opposed and countered."

Boyd goes on to explain this in more detail as follows: "Wikileaks is an example of direct action, like Greenpeace activists attempting to shut down the Knightsnorth power station, claiming that the laws against trespass and destruction of private property were outweighed by the need to counter global warming to prevent far greater property damage around the world. They were acquitted, the first time such a claim was used as a 'lawful excuse' for committing a crime (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenpeace)."

One form of "direct action," Boyd continues, is to expose secrets, especially when governments or large corporations are saying one thing publicly and doing another clandestinely.

"In some cases these exposés might involve criminal wrong-doing, or simply duplicitous behavior," says Boyd.

"Amazon or other hosting providers that opt to decline support for WikiLeaks or other activists may be acting because of alternate moral viewpoints, or through coercion, or fears of future repercussions when governments may decide that the hosts are culpable in some way," he adds.

For Boyd, the world needs WikiLeaks to be widened and strengthened, not abolished or suppressed:

"I think ultimately WikiLeaks should become a global non-profit like Greenpeace, specifically organized to accomplish certain goals for the sake of the world, like exposing who is funding political action when laws allow it to be concealed (as in the US), or exposing the inner workings of unregulated or barely regulated industries.

For example, it would have been great to have known prior to the Deepwater disaster how lax the regulatory agencies were, and how great the risks were. Had some whistle blowers disclosed that information to WikiLeaks, and it had been made public, we might have averted the disaster.

The world needs an omsbudsman, and the UN is not the answer, because it is used a tool of nationalist politics by the member countries. It is theater, not a check on the nations' excesses.

We need WikiLeaks - not necessarily as currently configured, and not necessarily with Julian Assange in control of it - but we need something like it to exist, as a counter to the architects of power."

In a follow-up note to Cloud Computing Journal Boyd pointed out that, since WikiLeaks is already an international non-profit, what he meant was that "it should be organized like Greenpeace, as a federation of non-profits in the various countries, supported by activists in the member countries."

"Wikileaks is not organized in that fashion today, and it should be," Boyd asserts.

If you accept - which many commentators evidently do not! - that someone can support the idea of government transparency outside of the context of the binary view of "conservative" or "liberal," then the Cablegate affair seemingly confirms the contention that the more secretive a government is, the less it serves the people. Because otherwise why are there so many ordinary law-abiding people, and not just Julian Assange's lawyer - whose hackles have been raised by the attempt to apprehend him and shutter his organization once and for all?

No fewer than 511,205 people "like" the WikiLeaks Official Facebook Page, and between 3AM and 11AM eastern time Friday morning, the #WikiLeaks hash tag was used in more than 7,304 new tweets on Twitter.

Let us not forget either that five highly reputable news groups accepted the chance to be the first to republish cables from the WikiLeaks cable-horde - The Guardian, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and El Pais. These are not underground radical pamphlets, these are world-class newspapers. It seems unlikely that Joe Lieberman's staffers will be telephoning them all asking them to close down the presses.

I am going to give the last word (for the moment, anyway) to the BBC. Or, rather, to BBC Technology Correspondent Rory Cellen-Jones. Without taking sides on whether or not AWS had discontinued its service to WikiLeaks because of pressure from American politicians - for the simple reason that "I've tried repeatedly over the last 24 hours to speak to the firm, with no success" - Cellan-Jones wrote a piece published this morning on the BBC's news site on the subject of what he called "the end of web innocence." Here was how he concluded the article:

"The innocent days when young web firms could pretend that they were simply agents of free expression based on neutral technology seem to be coming to an end. They have grown up into giant media empires, so they can expect every lobbyist, every politician and every pressure group to want to shape the way they do business."


On Monday Dec 6, 2010, "Rebooting The News" - a weekly podcast on news and technology with Jay Rosen and Dave Winer - will be covering the latest twists and turns in the WikiLeaks story. Winer needs no introduction to most readers of Cloud Computing Journal - or any other online journal for that matter.  Rosen teaches journalism at NYU, directs the Studio 20 program there, critiques the press and tries to grok new media. Their joint take will be fascinating to hear.

What do you think? Let me know via Twitter (@jg21) or in the Feedback form below.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
While some vendors scramble to create and sell you a fancy solution for monitoring your spanking new Amazon Lambdas, hear how you can do it on the cheap using just built-in Java APIs yourself. By exploiting a little-known fact that Lambdas aren’t exactly single threaded, you can effectively identify hot spots in your serverless code. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, David Martin, Principal Product Owner at CA Technologies, will give a live demonstration and code walkthrough, showing how to o...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Judith Hurwitz is president and CEO of Hurwitz & Associates, a Needham, Mass., research and consulting firm focused on emerging technology, including big data, cognitive computing and governance. She is co-author of the book Cognitive Computing and Big Data Analytics, published in 2015. Her Cloud Expo session, "What Is the Business Imperative for Cognitive Computing?" is scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, at 8:40 a.m. In it, she puts cognitive computing into perspective with its value to the busin...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Building a cross-cloud operational model can be a daunting task. Per-cloud silos are not the answer, but neither is a fully generic abstraction plane that strips out capabilities unique to a particular provider. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Wolf, VP & Chief Technology Officer, Global Field & Industry at VMware, will discuss how successful organizations approach cloud operations and management, with insights into where operations should be centralized and when it’s best to decentraliz...
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long developm...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of DevOps Product and Solutions Marketing at CA Technologies, has been named co-conference chair of DevOps at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the USA and Europe, we work with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
Automation is enabling enterprises to design, deploy, and manage more complex, hybrid cloud environments. Yet the people who manage these environments must be trained in and understanding these environments better than ever before. A new era of analytics and cognitive computing is adding intelligence, but also more complexity, to these cloud environments. How smart is your cloud? How smart should it be? In this power panel at 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, pane...