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What are your thoughts on whistle blowers?

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I don't think you can draw any single rule on whistle blowers. It'll always come down to a balance of what is for the public good and that is rarely an easy line to draw. The bulk release of illegally obtained information without review is likely to cross that line in most people's opinion. In the UK there are legal protections for public officials as long as they are acting in good faith. Which again will often be a difficult line to draw. To a certain extent you have to have confidence in the justice system. 

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6 hours ago, Alex Mercer said:

People obtain information illegally and spread to the public. Do you side with the whistle-blower or not and why?

People like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange 

"Whistle-blower" has an official designation (in the US, at least)

"On the simplest level, a whistleblower is someone who reports waste, fraud, abuse, corruption, or dangers to public health and safety to someone who is in the position to rectify the wrongdoing." (emphasis added)


i.e. they report incidents and infractions to someone within the system. Leaking to the press and outside world is not whistleblowing. In the US, they are supposed to be afforded legal protection from retaliation from reporting on the organization for whom they work.

Neither Snowden nor Assange are whistle-blowers. Assange wasn't even inside of the system, and only received information from leakers, so he's not even a whistle-blower by any relaxed, lay definition of the term.

If you want to discuss leaking private/classified information, then call it what it is.

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I'm 100% aligned with both Klaynos and Swansont above.

It really depends on the details of the situation and varies case-by-case. There is no way to remain reasonable and rational when attempting to apply "one size fits all" thinking on this type of issue.

It's also no longer "whistle blowing" when the information is being cascaded through external channels or media outlets without regard for the safety of our personnel or our country. If the internal processes (or local ombudsmen) in place to address these sorts of ethical issues have already been tried and failed, then it MAY be appropriate to take other steps outside the system, but this once again returns us to the "it depends on the details of each individual case" territory.

After that, and beyond the process focused discussion, these decisions all occur within the subjective territory of what constitutes the "public good," and "which" public is benefiting or being harmed by the release / leak. This obviously will differ from one person to the next. Ask 10 people what's in the public good and you'll get 10 different answers.

Finally, I'm also far less sympathetic to the leaker and their good intent / positive motivations when their source (and/or their funding) is from some other nation state which has a clear agenda... where the leak is basically being used as a soft / non-kinetic attack on another nation state or on democracy itself (like the Podesta emails or disinformation campaigns on social media, for example).

Worse yet... even I myself am inconsistent on this subject within my own thinking. By example, I'd be far more open to an attack on another country launched by my own than on an attack launched on my country by another... or from my employer on to a competitor. 

This is anything but a simple question which leads to simple and binary yes/no answers. Nuance matters here, and the ONLY correct answer is that "it depends" and varies case-by-case. 

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