This graph by Melanie Chernoff is what the past week has been about – DATA, open and closed.
The graph makes a very clear point as to where the areas overlap for everything out here on the WildWildWeb. As Melanie says:
Simply put, all open data is publicly available. But not all publicly available data is open.
Open data does not mean that a government or other entity releases all of its data to the public. It would be unconscionable for the government to give out all of your private, personal data to anyone who asks for it. Rather, open data means that whatever data is released is done so in a specific way to allow the public to access it without having to pay fees or be unfairly restricted in its use.http://blog.okfn.org/2010/12/10/what-%E2%80%9Copen-data%E2%80%9D-means-%E2%80%93-and-what-it-doesn%E2%80%99t/
By most accounts some 3 million people had access to the data in question prior to Wikileaks, and that is to the shame of the U.S. government. If Assange is tried as a spy he will be the most transparent one in history.
What’s to be done? Adrian Kingsley-Hughes has it right:
The only way to control data is to have properly enforced policies in place. To do that effectively you need to have endpoint security installed on all systems. Yes, that’s right, banning something isn’t enough, you actually have to PREVENT PEOPLE BEING ABLE TO LEAK DATA IN THE FIRST PLACE. Why? Because while sometimes data leakage is deliberate, most of the time it’s accidental. It’s as a result of a rot in corporate policy, or because it’s quicker/easier/cheaper/less hassle to do something in an insecure way, or because you know you shouldn’t do something “the wrong way” but promise yourself ”it’s just this once,” or …
Even without endpoint security, you can take steps to plug some of the holes. For example, in Windows you can make use of Group Policy to disable USB, floppy and optical drives. It still leaves a whopping big hole (the internet), but it’s better than nothing.
Protect your data!