What’s Wikileaks really selling us? Access to information we deserve to see or the chance to participate in something that piques our curiosity? How many people have actually read the Wikileaks files – and at the end of the day, does it actually matter? Is Wikileaks important for what it says, what we’re told it says or what it claims to represent?
Julian Assange has done a masterful job of linking his ‘product’ to some powerful and highly emotive causes: freedom of speech; censorship; government secrets, and of course persecution of the individual by the state. Big causes; global causes; causes that attract a committed audience; causes that broaden and deepen the Wikileaks’ brand story.
In the process, of course, the brand has deftly snookered the authorities. If governments don’t express outrage at what Wikileaks has done, then they may encourage other persons with access to such files to release more leaks. If they do condemn the brand’s actions, that merely strengthens Wikileaks’ brand story as the modern day Robin Hood of free speech.
In a world of open information, “right to know” brands are the harbingers of today’s dirty little secrets … And Wikileaks is a master of the modern-day peep show. Snippets of what goes on behind the scenes at an international level … and all the press coverage a brand could ever want. A little bit here … and a little bit there. Buy a T-shirt or a mug, and in between court battles, Wikileaks will tell and show you a little more.
What does all this mean for you? It’s further proof that privacy the way we’ve always had it is a has-been. Your brand is probably findable, searchable, leakable. That makes the brands that find, search and leak potentially very powerful indeed. Same for the brands that stop the finding, searching and leaking.
Secrecy is the new pornography.