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February 28, 2012

Comments

alle

Agreed. Everything I've seen from Stratfor has struck me as approximately 50% conventional wisdom, 25% relevant details which interested readers are likely to have found elsewhere already, 25% grandiose, unlikely and mostly erroneous assumptions.

On the other hand, it's kind of creepy that Wikileaks thinks it is appropriate to mass-publicize e-mails to/from/within a private company, which do not as far as was previously known touch upon some relevant court case, moral issue or political controversy. How is that in the service of democracy and freedom of information, or indeed of anything except rival firms?

Perhaps not so surprising that Assange would do it anyway, but most of the media should know better than to treat this the same way as the US diplo telegrams and other actual state secrets. I accept that legitimate whistleblowing and violating people's right to privacy may often overlap, but this seems to fit squarely in the latter camp.

BenSix

Friedman actually doubles down on the threat of a future Japanese empire in The Next 100 Years.

If ever a phenomenon was intended to pollute our precious bodily fluids it's manga...

Sam Dodsworth

On the other hand, it's kind of creepy that Wikileaks thinks it is appropriate to mass-publicize e-mails to/from/within a private company, which do not as far as was previously known touch upon some relevant court case, moral issue or political controversy.

Really? Why?

Barry Freed

"One of the authors has published several works of fiction and the other is a national security expert at the Heritage Foundation."

That is a great line and I was thinking it sounds like a punch-line to a joke I'd once heard and then I remembered this old gem from the Kung Fu Monkey;

-- There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

Cian

How is that in the service of democracy and freedom of information, or indeed of anything except rival firms?

If you can explain to me how a private firm is democratic, I make take this criticism seriously.

ajay

Irrelevant, Cian: right to privacy. Publishing private emails without permission is inherently bad. If justified by public interest, it may be good overall. But what's the public interest here?

skidmarx

@Barry - Not the only such joke based on reversal of expectations.

Richard J

Stewart Lee has a long rant of moderate amusiness [1] about the laziness about of this joke form. Which he then goes and ruins by saying that you can't do that in German, with its rigid and logical sentence structure. This statement has to me slight concerns about his knowledge of German grammar given.


[1] Collected in How I Avoided My Certain Fate, IIRC.

Richard J

'amusiness'? Dear oh dear.

alle

Sam & Cian - see Ajay's response. That's exactly my line.

Barry Freed

My ex's dad was a famous comedian back when. She said that he used to say there are only 12 jokes.

Cian

Will nobody stick up for the poor widows and children corporations. I dunno, after 30 years in which corporations have basically declared war on democracy and the public space I'm finding it hard to give a damn about their poor violated rights.

But even granting that. Stratfor? For real? I mean if they were shy and retiring corporation, that was not regularly pimping itself out in the media as an expert on matters security, or trying to influence the US political process I might see the argument there. But that would be a whole other company.

john b

Irrelevant, Cian: right to privacy. Publishing private emails without permission is inherently bad.

Should emails sent from work accounts be viewed as private? Only a raving idiot would use their work account for personal email rather than work-for-hire, so it then comes down to whether you think corporations should enjoy the same rights as people. I know the USSC does believe that, but I certainly don't.

Strategist

>>>She said that he used to say there are only 12 jokes.

...and Jackie Mason has the copyright on three of 'em.

NomadUK

If justified by public interest, it may be good overall. But what's the public interest here?

I think this might count. And fuck Stratfor's 'right' to privacy, anyway.

ajay

Should emails sent from work accounts be viewed as private? Only a raving idiot would use their work account for personal email rather than work-for-hire, so it then comes down to whether you think corporations should enjoy the same rights as people.

Well, in this area, I rather think they should. If I ran a small company making fishing rods, I would be unhappy if someone ripped off my company email logs and gave them to a rival company also making fishing rods, giving them the names and credit card details of all my customers, the pricing details of all my suppliers, etc.
Of course, if I was making fishing rods using slave labour, you'd argue that public interest demanded I be made unhappy, and you'd be right. But absent the public interest, do you really have a right to see all my emails?
What about emails that include personal details of customers and contacts? What if my firm isn't a fishing rod manufacturer, but a local newspaper? Or a solicitor? Or a GP's practice?

Nomad: can't really see any public interest there, to be honest. Couple of people speculating about what Israel may or may not have done. There's nothing there to suggest that they have any particular insight or privileged access, and given it's Stratfor I rather suspect they haven't.

ejh

Only a raving idiot would use their work account for personal email rather than work-for-hire

Or just somebody who was less familiar with email than most other people. Which is, still, a lot of people.

chris y

Only a raving idiot would use their work account for personal email rather than work-for-hire

Depends on the personal email, innit. "Can you pick up some milk on the way home" isn't worth logging into your own account for if your work account is open in front of you; ordering an AK-47 for delivery, not so much.

john b

Chris has a point. "Only a raving idiot would use their work account for something personal that they didn't expect their boss and their corporate IT department to see, particularly given that everyone who has a work email account signs a disclaimer when they start work saying that they accept this".

ejh

Of course they do. Everybody. And of course everybody at work reads and understands all their contract material thoroughly, remembers it in its entirety and understands its implications, as they understand the implications of everything they do with a computer.

Everybody except raving idiots, of course.

Barry Freed

"Stratfor is just The Economist a week later and several hundred times more expensive."

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