Umberto Eco on Wikileaks

Umberto Eco has to be one of my favourite people. An academic, an historian, a scholar in the field of semiotics, a novelist, he’s one of those educated and well-rounded people who’s opinion I have a lot of time for.

He has recently written an interesting article on the phenomenon of Wikileaks.  He has some interesting thoughts on the circularity of espionage in a digital world:

Formerly, back in the days of Orwell, every power could be conceived of as a Big Brother watching over its subjects’ every move. The Orwellian prophecy came completely true once the powers that be could monitor every phone call made by the citizen, every hotel he stayed in, every toll road he took and so on and so forth. The citizen became the total victim of the watchful eye of the state. But when it transpires, as it has now, that even the crypts of state secrets are not beyond the hacker’s grasp, the surveillance ceases to work only one-way and becomes circular. The state has its eye on every citizen, but every citizen, or at least every hacker – the citizens’ self-appointed avenger – can pry into the state’s every secret.

This article is well worth reading. You can read it in its entirety here: Not such wicked leaks by Umberto Eco, at the PressEurope website, December2, 2010. He also has a very rich site of his own, containing his own articles and commentaries at Porta Ludovica