The wikileaks label ticks off Wikipedia cofounder

Note from Lewis: I have commented on the latest Wikileaks outrage elsewhere (Facebook, Twitter), making clear my thoughts for what they’re worth.  Briefly, they summarize in pointing out that the U.S. Government has now allowed a dynamic to emerge without challenge: an “acceptable” intermediary between Traitor and Public. The original insider-threat individual who ripped the 251,000 cables and all the other previously leaked Iraq war data would likely not have been able to simply provide that to the New York Times personally and have it immediately published; they might have turned him in themselves. But the miraculous creation of a self-appointed, self-sanctified group like Wikileaks has allowed motivated groups like the Times & the UK’s Guardian to proclaim that their hands are clean. I find it outrageous. But the government did not press the point after the first major release (Iraq war data) with any forceful intent, so now we’re simply going to see this continue – until an Administration gets serious with criminal charges including treason for anyone involved, right up the chain of those stealing/mediating/publishing classified information.

 An online friend, Larry Sanger, today posted some very thoughtful remarks from a unique perspective – as a cofounder of Wikipedia who obviously is offended among other things by the misleading use of “Wiki-” in the Wikileaks name.  But he makes some other profound points as well. He offered to have them reposted, which I have done below. Reader comments are welcome, either below or as always by email.

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Walled-Garden Wikis and Candlepower

Fact: Last night the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) announced it has “moved its C2Pedia Registry to the unclassified network enabling more potential users to access and edit the site, hoping it will ultimately improve the quality of data.”  C2Pedia is a MediaWiki-driven online knowledge base of information about Command and Control (C2), with specific information about more than 200 C2 systems used across the Department of Defense and the armed services.

Analysis: The profusion of wikis in official government circles is an interesting expression of the value of social media for enterprise knowledge management, but for the most part inside agency or network firewalls, denying access to the public at large and therefore incorporating only the wisdom of “the inside crowd.” The State Department’s Diplopedia sits on their intranet (ironically called “OpenNet”), as the New York Times pointed out in a story a few weeks ago (“An Internal Wiki that’s Not Classified“), implying a distinction (without a difference to my mind) between Diplopedia and the IC’s Intellipedia, which has an unclassified version as well – but it also sits on a firewalled network!

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, testified to Congress recently about the value of wikis and social media within enterprises, and pointed out the distinction between “within-the-agency” verticalized information sharing, a la Diplopedia, and horizontal sharing across organizations as exemplified by the IC’s Intellipedia, which as I mentioned has a firewalled unclassified version as well as its classified-network versions, all accessible from any of the intelligence community’s sixteen agencies and beyond.

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CIA 2.0: The Agency’s CIO and Change

Fact: CIO magazine is running a big story on the CIA’s Chief Information Officer Al Tarasiuk and his IT operation, and their online site is breaking it up into a four-part series running this week.  Below I analyze the series.

Analysis: By the halfway mark in the series, the magazine’s reporter Thomas Wailgum had only accomplished a fairly rote recounting of what CIA is, what its CIO does, and how both those factors have changed since the good ol’ spy days amid the challenges of a post-9/11 world.

Part Onedescribed “a business-IT alignment project like few others,” although it mainly served to introduce CIO magazine’s broad readership to the unfamiliar world of a walled-off intelligence agency, waxing on about the hyper-security at Langley.  Part Two similarly was background on the bureaucratic culture of the agency and its relegation of IT to backwater status – until 9/11 came along.

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“Legally Blonde 2.0″ – SoCal Spook at Harvard

Shout out to Chris Rasmussen, a former colleague in the intell biz who emails that he’ll be speaking on uses of Web 2.0 approaches in the Intelligence Community at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in June…. as he put it in his email, “I’m pretty sure Danish dudes from southern California have been legallyblonde2.jpgblacklisted from Harvard for hundreds of years. Well the times are changing.”

Chris has been involved in social-networking and other 2.0 efforts in the IC, both at the enterprise level and in grass-roots form — accomplishing the latter and encouraging the former (strongly).  The Kennedy School program, “Web 2.0: Taking Action in Government”  is advertised as “examining the lessons learned from first movers in both business and government and distilling what actions government leaders must now take to harness the power of these new tools and business models.”  (more info here

I especially like that the conference is being organized with the help of Don Tapscott, co-author of  an excellent book: Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything.

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Google’s Argument to Enterprise IT: “Trust Us”

FACT:  Yesterday, Google’s Dave Girouard, VP of enterprise sales, gave a keynote speech on “The Evolution of Cloud Computing” at FOSE, a Washington trade-show focusing on federal government and military IT customers.  According to a Washington Post reporter’s blog account afterwards:

[Girouard said] “Google will have to do things differently” to work with defense and intelligence agencies, where data security and privacy are held to the tightest standards. But he argued that having information spread across hundreds of different servers is actually more secure than housing data on a few servers at a specific location. “Security is now more virtual than physical,” he said.

ANALYSIS:  The Google salesman (Girouard is VP of enterprise sales) was speaking at FOSE on the same day I made an April Fools blogpost featuring a lame “Cloud Computing” joke (see it here, come back when you stop laughing).  

This year I’m at FOSE as neither buyer nor speaker; the past couple of years I spoke at FOSE, as a DIA official, and I always enjoy walking the exhibit floor, plus I was curious about Girouard’s take on Google’s current move into the federal space.

To be honest I’ve met him before when he was with Virage and he’s a fine fellow, a good salesman.

The rhetoric of his main pitch, though, seems to be battling uphill, and I’m not sure he gets a nuanced distinction.

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The Future of Enterprise Computing – and Social Computing

I wrote the other day about how highly ranked the University of Virginia’s undergrad business school is (a close second in BusinessWeek’s annual ranking), and mentioned that one reason is the creative research and programs they sponsor.

In fact, thanks to UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce, I enjoyed a great day recently exploring some of my favorite topics with leading experts.  I was an invited speaker at their one-day conference on The Future of Enterprise Computing on March 14th, presented by McIntire’s Center for the Management of Information Technology (CMIT).  It was a fascinating day….

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Expect Some “New Thinking” on Cyber Security…

FACT: Department of Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff last week: “I am pleased to announce my appointment of Rod Beckstrom as the first Director of the National Cyber Security Center. Rod will serve the department by coordinating cyber security efforts and improving situational awareness and information sharing across the federal government.”

ANALYSIS: There are people who think inside the box, those who think outside the box, and those who ask: What box?

Then there are “the anti-box people.”  They see the box, shove it on its side, stomp on it to squeeze it flat, and consign it to recycling where it belongs.

One of those kind of people is Rod Beckstrom, a well-known Silicon Valley successful entrepreneur and author. I knew him at Stanford, aeons ago, and like others recognized his leadership drive when he ran successfully for student body president, and he left with both a BA and MBA on the way to forming his first successful software startup.

I was surprised when I read last week that Rod is moving to Washington to take a high-level government job.

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