“WikiLeaks R Us” by Daniel Henninger, deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page.

We can’t put the Internet genie back in the bottle.

There is one certain fix for the WikiLeaks problem: Blow up the Internet. Short of that, there is no obvious answer.

This summer I was in a movie line behind two guys, and one said: “I hate Facebook. I wish it had never been invented. But I can’t live without it.” Welcome to the WikiLeaks problem, which was born along with the Internet itself. What we can’t live without may kill us.

In October, the Secret Service arrested a Malaysian man in New York who had 400,000 bank-card numbers. He’d hacked them out of the Cleveland Federal Reserve and other financial institutions. Last year a contractor remotely inserted a potentially destructive “logic bomb” on Fannie Mae’s servers that could have erased a lot of its data. 

What about your co-worker? Two years ago, a worker in the City of San Francisco’s technology department created a password that let him access virtually all the city’s files and business on its FiberWAN network, while blocking access to everyone else. They caught him, but for a while he held the city hostage, refusing to give up his key to the city.

Can Bank of America say with certainty they haven’t been robbed of the data Julian Assange claims to possess? No, they can’t. Once you input anything into the digital ethers, it will never be “safe” or “private.”

Sun Microsystems’ co-founder Scott McNealy famously said: “You have zero privacy. Get over it.” We know that. What we don’t know, or won’t admit, is that the idea of confidentiality—State Department cables, the design for weapons systems, health records—has eroded, perhaps permanently. Read more…

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As published in http://online.wsj.com


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