When I first started working at the University of Minnesota over ten years ago, just when the WWW as we know it today was starting up, I found that Teh U had an interesting set of rules that were so crazy that it made me volunteer to be on the committees that made IT related rules so I could end the insanity. The insanity continued, of course. I remember asking the appropriate unit, at the time I was creating my first U-related web site, about the rule that said “If you link to an outside site you are responsible for whatever happens on that site.” Does this mean, I inquired, that if I am walking by a bank and glance at it while it is being robbed, that I’m a felon?
It too over six months for the appropriate unit to respond to my memo (which had about 20 questions on it). The answer was inadequate. But I digress.
Peter Van Buren, author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People has a blog, and on his blog he linked to a WikiLeaks disclosed item. Therefore, apparently, he is a bad person and must be fired.
As summarized by Wired:
Van Buren said he was under investigation for allegedly disclosing classified information â€” even though he had merely linked to documents that were already widely available on the internet. The cable was just one in a cache of more than 250,000 State Department cables that WikiLeaks allegedly obtained from former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning last year and has been posting piecemeal online with media partners in the U.S. and Europe since last November.
â€œIn other words, a link to a document posted by who-knows-who on a public website available at this moment to anyone in the world was the legal equivalent of me stealing a Top Secret report, hiding it under my coat, and passing it to a Chinese spy in a dark alley,â€ Van Buren wrote this week.
I have no opinion of Van Buren or his work, but you can follow the links above to open more than one can of worms. Or can of something. Enjoy.