Julian Assange is arguably now the most powerful conduit and clearinghouse of information in the modern world. He is bold, determined, and quite possibly the most controversial “journalist” on the planet.
Allow me to explain. Journalists, scholars, and futurists are beginning to wake up to a profound new altered reality. I would call this Vault 7 dump a moment of singularity for recorded history as we know it. Sounds dramatic, right? But it’s really not. Governments, corporations and global organizations everywhere now know that they, too, are ripe for catastrophic leaks from within their own walls. Vault 7 gives life and legs to every one of our deepest-seeded fears about our own government’s ability to peer into our homes, offices and cars.
But, how does that kill the future of history, you might ask? Well, I would posit to you that this moment is singularity requires the acceptance of knowledge that no created code or encryption will ever be deemed sufficient again. Each, with its very existence, will be subject to the blurry and morally muddled dissemination we call “whistleblower” action. Ah, what a tangled web we weave, when first practice to leak.
My theory to counteract this new reality is, simply put: everything old becomes new again. Don’t be surprised if governments everywhere start going off-the-grid with their communications. Encryption will go back to its “Enigma” roots and will abandon the Sisyphean task of creating new software that will only be subject to the same fate of those compromised before it. Slowly, but surely, the recordable aspects of our present will disappear, and with it, the full understanding of our past. It is a consequence that will take a generation or two to manifests itself, but has significant potential to change our idea of transparency, and not for the better.
In essence, are we trading a future of knowledge for all the secrets of now? I remain philosophically and academically torn about what Wikileaks brings to the table of keeping tabs on our government. We know, for instance, that America has been laid to bare by the likes of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. What we don’t know is what happens in the shadowy halls of the Kremlin, or the underbelly of Beijing. I can’t tell for certain if it’s Assange’s covert goal to even the playing field of technology and military advancement between us and them, but I can tell you that is the undeniable result.
Americans should regard Assange with a wary eye and a healthy dose of suspicion. He now sits on the most explosive pile of political dynamite in human history. In the military it is a common axiom that it’s not the size of your enemy’s weapon, but his ability to use it that matters. Assange’s ability to “assist technology sectors” with providing code for solutions to breached software, is just a hair removed from providing our enemies with weaponized code that could result in calamity. We are at the mercy of Wikileaks to be the owner and arbiter of this weapon’s usage. A thought that has some in our government awake all night.
Not to be an alarmist here, but we are counting on the judgment of a man cooped up in a small two room Ecuadorian Embassy for years, and is staring down eviction from that safe harbor on April 2nd when Ecuador holds it elections. Not scared? You should probably reassess the situation.
Regardless, the future of information storage has changed. How government records are stored, shared or created will now shift to a more protective mode. Open records laws and freedom of information acts have triggered the unintended consequence of making our government more clandestine over time. Now, Vault 7 will put that model on steroids. All I can deduce with any certainty now, is that the future of history has changed. We just don’t know it yet.