The latest mass publication of hundreds of thousands of private documents by WikiLeaks will continue to stir ethical controversy. The organisation is certainly publishing content it does not own which may be defined as theft. Some call WikiLeaks a threat to civilisation as we know it, arguing that the website steals private correspondence and publishes it regardless of the consequences, even when soldiers are still in action.
Others argue that WikiLeaks is an essential source of free information in an increasingly censored world. WikiLeaks has just published more than five million emails taken from Stratfor, a private security company.
This follows more than 250,000 internal emails from the US State Department; more than 500,000 military logs from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The problem is not in the publication of secret material, but in the justification of this act. If each publication exposed a particular piece of corruption, or policy failure, then it would be much more justifiable. But this deluge of the entire inner workings of a particular organisation serves much less purpose. It certainly will expose hypocrisy and wrong doing, but it will also damage random personnel, who might, for example, write speculative suggestions to trusted colleagues.