DOD's response could be driving traffic to WikiLeaks
Government briefings, other activities spike interest in leaked documents, traffic data shows
The Defense Department is upset about the leak of classified e-mail messages and other digital documents about the war in Afghanistan that WikiLeaks.org posted online. The military wants its documents back, but an analysis of traffic patterns by cloud security company Zscaler indicates that the government could actually be driving traffic to those documents.
In its most recent State of the Web report, which requires a user registration to be viewed, the company identified four sharp spikes of visitors to the controversial Web site in April, June and July, two of them corresponding to government activities.
Could WikiLeaks set back the cause of information sharing?
The first spike, which occurred April 5 through 8, corresponded with the posting of the “Collateral Murder” video that reportedly shows an attack that killed Afghan civilians. The last spike on July 25 corresponded with the release of the Afghan War Diary e-mail messages posted by WikiLeaks. But two spikes in June corresponded with the June 7 arrest of Army Spec. Bradley Manning, who is believed to have leaked the documents, and a June 11 State Department press briefing on the incidents.
“The WikiLeaks saga is an experiment in Internet rubbernecking or gawking,” the Zscaler report states. Drawing attention to the problem apparently is not the best way to keep a low profile when documents are leaked.
William Jackson is a senior writer of GCN and the author of the CyberEye blog.