Giving The Dogs A Reason To Party

WSJ and Al-Jazeera Lure Whistleblowers With False Promises of Anonymity | Electronic Frontier Foundation. – legal analysis by Hanni Fakhoury

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

** The success of Wikileaks in obtaining and releasing information has inspired mainstream media outlets to develop proprietary copycat sites. Al-Jazeera got into the act first, launching the Al-Jazeera Transparency Unit (AJTU), an initiative meant to “allow Al-Jazeera’s supporters to shine light on notable and noteworthy government and corporate activities which might otherwise go unreported.” AJTU assures users that “files will be uploaded and stored on our secure servers” and that materials “are encrypted while they are transmitted to us, and they remain encrypted on our servers.”…

Despite promising anonymity, security and confidentiality, AJTU can “share personally identifiable information in response to a law enforcement agency’s request, or where we believe it is necessary.”…

…AJTU makes clear that “AJTU has no obligation to maintain the confidentiality of any information, in whatever form, contained in any submission.” Worse, AJTU’s website by default plants a trackable cookie on your web browser which allows them “to provide restricted information to third parties.” So much for anonymity! **

I’ve looked at Al Jazeera. I found it to be funny, as in not quite right. I haven’t gone so far as to document that experience. It was just something I noted and filed away in my mind. As well, I was routing for Al Jazeera for the same reasons other progressives route for Al Jazeera. Even though I had some misgivings about Al Jazeera, I thought that any news org that the establishment didn’t want to legitimize just couldn’t be that bad.

EFF’s report is disconcerting. And I trust EFF much more than I trust Al Jazeera. Something is rotten in Denmark.

The Toronto Star carried an article back in April of 2009, titled “Tough Reception For Al-Jazeera Bid In Canada.” Bruce Campion-Smith wrote that “Tony Burman, the Canadian who is managing director of the Al-Jazeera Network, knows he is fighting history and stereotypes as he seeks regulatory approval to get the broadcaster’s English service on Canadian airwaves. But Burman, a CBC veteran, is asking people to judge Al-Jazeera’s English network on its merits rather than the sometimes controversial record of its Arabic service.”

Maybe that’s how Al-Jazeera finally got approval to be broadcast in Canada. But, with this revelation by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Will the progressive community find Al-Jazeera to be meritorious?

For a short while, my enthusiasm for this upstart news org that didn’t embed with imperial storm troopers and which fearlessly went wherever the stories were unfolding, while allowing all sides of conflicts reported on to have a say about those led me to include Al-Jazeera among the links in my blogroll. But then I found some things in their reportage that caused me to yank that link. I see, from a Rabble article titled “Al Jazeera English Comes To Canada,” by Anita Kraznc and Walied Khogali, that OpenMedia’s Steve Anderson, whose org I ‘do’ link to on my blog, has no such compunctions. But that was before EFF’s recent report. I wonder what he says about this?

I would like to know how this could happen? What is Mr. Burman doing? Did he okay this travesty? I’d really, really like to know. Can Al-Jazeera be saved?

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