I argue with my friend Amy Bruckman about the goodness of WikiLeaks on her blog. Basically she's taking the not unreasonable position that institutions need to be able to have a degree of privacy if they are to operate, and I'm saying, well, if your institution is up to no good, then it deserves to have its veil torn away. And the function of WikiLeaks, and the press more generally, is to provide that kind of a check to power.
I don't think there is an objective ethical solution to this (which she seems to be trying to provide). It's a battle of interests between the institutional insiders and outsiders.
On NPR I heard a guy from the Government Accountability Project criticize WikiLeaks for being irresponsible, and damaging their efforts to get better legal protections for responsible whistleblowers. That was a very good argument, I thought, although it still seems to highlight a division between "insiders" (in this case, lawyers who want to get good laws passed) and "outsiders" (the hacker/anarchist/whatevers of wikileaks). I am temperamentally sympathetic to outsiders, but I suppose more real change happens due to the boring activities of the more adult insiders.
Tom Slee is a guy who write critically of libertarianism and starry-eyed technology visionaries, and usually I agree with him, but I think his take on Open Government is overly negative. Here he's talking about the relationship between WikiLeaks and Open Gov, because apparently a lot of other people are, but this seems very confused. Open Gov is about making very ordinary government data and services public, like crime statistics or health code violations, with the idea that developers and others will create apps that help connect government to the citizenry in useful ways. I think this is a great idea, although with an associated hype bubble. But it's basically an apolitical idea, a technocratic vision that thinks the government should do basically what it does now, but more efficiently and with sexier interfaces than you typically associate with the DMV. Nobody in the Open Gov movement, as far as I know, expects the CIA or DoD to open up their operations to anybody with an iPhone. WikiLeaks is just operating at a very different level of government with very different issues, and I don't see the two as having a whole lot to do with each other.