cover image WikiLeaks and the Age of Transparency

WikiLeaks and the Age of Transparency

Micah L. Sifry. Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-58243-779-8

While WikiLeaks is discussed at some length, Sifry (co-author of Is That a Politician in Your Pocket) is more interested in the big picture of government transparency that Julian Assange's organization has come to represent. Sifry declares that "secrecy and the hoarding of information are ending; openness and the sharing of information are coming," and begins by discussing the leaked Collateral Murder video showing U.S. Apache helicopters killing Iraqi civilians. Sifry undertakes a historical account of "networked politics," from Howard Dean's first online town hall meeting to the web presence of Barack Obama. He notes that there is a "growing pool of networked citizens who want to do more than just consume information, they want to help create it and shape it, too," and he examines these issues in a global context, telling the stories of people like Marko Rakar of the Croation blog and Ory Okolloh of, both working for more openness from their governments. Finally, Sifry calls out the Obama administration for failing to make good on campaign promises of greater transparency. "This is not a treatise," Sifry states early on, and he's right; it's an absorbing, comprehensive examination of one of the most vital issues of our time. (Mar.)