Last week, the DNC saw thousands of emails leaked. It led to angry Bernie supporters protesting at the convention and accusations that Russia was attempting to influence the U.S. elections using WikiLeaks as a catspaw. Now another leaker, Edward Snowden, has taken on WikiLeaks on Twitter, and it opens the door to looking at the ethics of leaking.
When To Leak And What To Leak?
Snowden, famous for working with journalists to unveil the NSA’s domestic surveillance program, took to Twitter to, however gently, criticize WikiLeaks. In response, Wikileaks did not take it well:
Snowden’s criticism likely stung because, after the sound and fury surrounding the emails, the results were less than impressive. Aside from a spitballing email about whether Bernie should be asked about his faith, which was quickly shot down elsewhere in the email chain, most of it is, at best, personally embarrassing instead of politically scandalous. What little scandal there was fell on the head of the already embattled Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the unpopular chair of the Democratic Party. Otherwise, we’ve learned that Ariana Grande lost out on a White House gig for licking donuts and that DNC officials make up silly Craigslist ads about their opponents.
This isn’t exactly compelling information the public needs to know, and it doesn’t appear that the DNC voicemail leaks, which WikiLeaks put up on Wednesday, have anything of much interest, either. Included among the voicemails were a former ambassador checking his dinner invitation, an angry Hillary supporter who thought the party was doing too much for Sanders, and in the first posted voicemail, you can hear a child speaking on the phone.
And WikiLeaks’ refusal to curate anything may have some larger consequences for innocent people. The biggest problem in the DNC email leak was uncensored donor information, including credit cards, passport numbers, and Social Security numbers. Earlier in July, the site leaked what amounts to the personal data of almost every female voter in Turkey for reasons which remain unclear. And all of it adds up to a larger issue: Why did they leak this in the first place?