The New York Times And Wikileaks

Information technology played a huge part in the events described in the New York Times story. Lacking such technology would have completely changed how these events took place. Bradley Manning, the man accused of leaking the documents to WikiLeaks, was one of half a million people who had access to the classified information stored in the computer database. The ability to place such a large amount of information in a database is only possible through the development in information technology.

                Another way information technology comes into play is the way in which the newspapers and WikiLeaks distributed the information to the public. In the story there is little mention of any type of paper material printed regarding the leaked cables. The original distribution system was via the New York Times website and the WikiLeaks website. Choose to distribute it over the internet allows for the public to access this information almost instantly after it is made available rather than having to wait for a printed copy.

                In addition to the data being stored on computers, both the New York Times and WikiLeaks used special software to edit the leaked cables. Having all the data in digital form allowed for them to be easily searched and edited on a large scale rather than going through each word and changing it that way. The New York Times chose to read through the entirety of the documents and change items relating to specific people in order to protect their identity. WikiLeaks chose to take a different approach. Originally they leaked the documents unchanged, however over time they began to filter out names, making the documents almost illegible [Keller 2011]. Just deleting the names was not enough and lead to some unfortunate terrorist attacks.

                As an IT person, I am proud that this technology enables such developments. The ability for news reporters and journalists to gather such a large amount of information and then proceed to read, search, and edit this large amount of data in such a short amount of time is amazing. Also having the internet as a distribution system allows for the public to gain access to the information they display instantly. The man power needed to process all this information is significantly less due to the innovations in the information technology field.