We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks (2013)
We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks
An Alex Gibney Film
Back in the 90s, one of my favourite “guilty pleasure” movies was a film called Hackers. It’s an early film of Angelina Jolie’s where her and a bunch of outcast friends are hackers, rewriting the rules of the Internet like 21st century wizards. Was this movie an accurate portrayal of the Internet and those who would hack it? Of course not. But I love it none the less. And the world of hackers was no less real just because Angelina Jolie rocked a keyboard like it was nobody’s business.
Perhaps the most well known, and most controversial, name in the hacking world is Julian Assange. To some he is an anarchist hero of the information age. To others he is a cowardly traitor putting lives at risk. Love him or hate him, he is someone you should know about. Because the issues his life brings up will come to define the Internet Age. We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks takes a look at the life of Assange and explores the ethical issues his actions have brought up. Alongside Assange’s story is that of Bradley Manning. He may not be as public a figure as Assange, but Manning’s story is just as important.
We Steal Secrets is a documentary filmed by Alex Gibney, using a combination of interviews and news footage to tell the story of these two men, whose lives eventually intersect with a website called Wikileaks. Assange set up the site with the belief that information should be free and transparent, looking to expose the secrets our governments were hiding from us. Manning was a US soldier working in Baghdad, who has access to information about his governments wartime actions that he believes should be made public. When Manning made contact with Assange, a series of events were put into motion which resulted in Manning charged with treason and Assange hiding in an Ecuadorian embassy.
Whether you have an opinion on the Wikileaks saga or not, you really should see this film. Even though the Internet has been around for a fair while now (some of you reading this may not remember a world without the Internet) our society is still working out the rules of engagement. What impact should the Internet have in our culture? Should our governments keep secrets from us? How do we respond to those who share information with good intent? These are the questions we need to answer in this online age, and We Steal Secrets is a compelling exploration of these issues.
Regardless on where you stand on the issue of governments and secrets, it’s clear that there are things done in this world that are wrong. Sometimes these things, like murder and torture, are done with good motives, but the fact that they’re done at all is a tragedy. Sin has done a good and proper job of polluting this world. The world is full of evil and hurt. And a lot of that evil is done in secret. But there is a day coming where everything done in secret will be brought to light. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13) God sees all. Everyone will have to give an account for what they have done. While we might not see justice in this life, we can be assured of justice in the next.
We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks is a compelling documentary. It takes a fair look at everyone involved and will have you questioning what you thought you knew about the story. These are issues we as a society need to be grappling with, and We Steal Secrets is a great way to begin engaging with them.