The recent leaks of diplomatic cables have prompted fierce U.S. criticism of the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. Internet commentator Evgeny Morozov, argues that the U.S. could take a different view.
In the future, WikiLeaks-style organizations could be useful allies of the West as it seeks to husband democracy and support human rights. Morozov argues that the state that will benefit most from this course of action, is America itself.
The White House is currently engaged in a fresh move to promote open government around the globe. Chastising a group that aims to "keep governments open" threatens to stall progress in these areas.
Morozov believes that WikiLeaks currently stands at a crossroads: one route ahead would see a radical global network systematically challenging those in power -- governments and companies alike -- just for the sake of undermining "the system." The current quest for transparency could soon become an exercise in anger, one leak at a time.
Alternatively, WikiLeaks could continue moving in the more sensible direction that, in some ways, it is already on: collaborating with traditional media, redacting sensitive files, and offering those in a position to know about potential victims of releases the chance to vet the data.
It is a choice between WikiLeaks becoming a new Red Brigade, or a new Transparency International. And, argues Morozov, forcing Mr Assange to go down the former route would have far more disastrous implications for American interests than anything revealed by "cable-gate".
Evgeny Morozov is a visiting scholar at Stanford University, and author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom.
Charlie Beckett is the first director of Polis.
He has 20 years of experience with LWT, BBC and ITN's Channel 4 News. He broadcasts and writes regularly on media and political affairs and is the author of SuperMedia: Saving Journalism So It Can Save The World (Blackwell, 2008).
He teaches at the LSE and LCC. He is also a trustee for The Media Society, Article 19 and the International Development Institute.
Evgeny Morozov is the author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom. He is a contributing editor to Foreign Policy and runs the magazine's "Net Effect" blog about the Internet's impact on global politics.
Evgeny Morozov is currently a visiting scholar at Stanford University and a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation. He was formerly a Yahoo! fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University and a fellow at George Soros's Open Society Institute, where he remains on the board of the Information Program.
Previously, he was Director of New Media at the Prague-based NGO Transitions Online (TOL) and a columnist for the Russian newspaper Akzia. He is also on the sub-board of the Information Program of the Open Society Institute.
Morozov's writings have appeared in many publications, including The Economist, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The International Herald Tribune.
Blogger Evgeny Morozov assesses the value of WikiLeaks as an anonymous portal for information and its network of analysts that distribute the data. He argues WikiLeaks may undermine its own relevance and uniqueness as it matures and continues to develop relationships with traditional news organizations.
Blogger Evgeny Morozov details the social and political movements that have grown out of the WikiLeaks affair. Attempts to shut down WikiLeaks spawned an online movement to decentralize web hosting and payment systems technologies, and also goaded Internet-savvy groups like the Pirate Party and Anonymous into action.