Research on Open Data and Transparency

Elysee Eavesdropping and Radical Transparency

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A fascinating reminder of a very powerful source of transparency that’s often ignored-leaks. Today it seems the French President has called an emergency meeting to look into claims that the US has bugged the last three French Presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francoise Hollande-if true, a hugely controversial action. You can read the Wikileaks press release here. Imagine if the French intelligence services had listened in on Obama, Bush and Clinton? At the same time the government and GCHQ is under pressure about drones outside of recognised war zones, specifically in Yemen.

Leaks of course sit on the grey zone between legality and illegality and are rarely part of mainstream openness debates. It perhaps offers, as Claire Birchall argues, a new, more radical form of transparency that challenges some of the cosy ideas about where openness and secrecy begin and end. Leaks are also something that governments ignore at their peril-just see the US Freedom Act.


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