Brooke in 2012
|Born||1970 (age 46â€“47)
Pennsylvania, United States
|Citizenship||United States, United Kingdom|
University of Washington Double degree in Journalism and Political Science, 1992
University of Warwick
Master’s degree in English Literature
|Known for||Role in exposing the 2009 British MP expenses scandal|
The movement towards radical transparency and accountability has been gaining steam for several decades.
In America, you have the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. You've got drones now being considered for domestic surveillance. You have the National Security Agency building the world's giantest spy center.
If you don't think there is any value in the work I, or any other serious journalists do, then don't spend your money on it. At least you have the choice.
Politicians often claim secrecy is necessary for good governance or national security.
The way the Establishment deals with people like me is to ignore them. When you become unignorable, they will try to smear you, and that's what I feared for a long time. Now I have somehow vaulted into this space where it's difficult for someone to smear me because it would look as though they were being vindictive and spiteful.
Traditional publishers require an author to submit a manuscript six months in advance, and if pressed, no later than two or three.
When I was 26 or 27, I gave up journalism. I came to England after my mom died, to let serendipity take its course. And I just found myself back in journalism again.
I've written for 'The Times' because they have valued what I do enough to pay me. The 'New Statesman' magazine also asked me to write an article, but they didn't want to pay me anything. To me, that shows how much they value quality journalism.
There's a lot of hand-wringing going on about the death of journalism and particularly the death of investigative journalism. What I see is that there is more need than ever to have experienced information processors – people who can look through this mass of data.
Newspapers are not free and they never have been. They can appear to be so, but someone, somewhere is covering the costs whether that is through advertising, a patron's largesse or a license fee. Advertising is no longer subsidising the industry and so the cost must fall somewhere – why not on the people who use it?
You can't hope for a better result as a campaigner than to have the prime minister announce a major policy change within 48 hours of your documentary.
Politicians often claim secrecy is necessary for good governance or national security.
It seems appropriate that the author of '1984' was a British citizen. George Orwell must have seen how easily the great British public's lamb-like disposition toward its leaders could be exploited to create a police state.
There is a very intense culture of secrecy in Britain that hasn't yet been dismantled. What passes for transparency here would serve any secret society well.
A lack of government oversight hasn't hindered the Internet. Quite the opposite. A hands-off approach is largely responsible for its fantastic growth and success.
I'm very optimistic, but I'm optimistic about individuals, not institutions.
In Britain, it's bred into you, the idea that you can't really change anything, so why bother. When I went to school in America, it was the total opposite view – you, as an individual, can change anything and everything. It's how you're raised.
The values of WikiLeaks have been completely overshadowed by Julian Assange.
Diplomacy has always involved dinners with ruling elites, backroom deals and clandestine meetings. Now, in the digital age, the reports of all those parties and patrician chats can be collected in one enormous database. And once collected in digital form, it becomes very easy for them to be shared.
I pine for a return to the type of old-school journalism and the tough newspapermen and women of the Thirties.
We need to codify our values and build consensus around what we want from a free society and a free Internet. We need to put into law protections for our privacy and our right to speak and assemble.
There's a temptation not to vote at all as a protest, but it's definitely not a protest. In fact, all it does is keep the people in power in power, and I don't think they should be.
What the interconnected age in which we live allows us to do is instantly connect with each other.
Leaks are not the problem; they are the symptom. They reveal a disconnect between what people want and need to know and what they actually do know. The greater the secrecy, the more likely a leak.
There are corporate private investigators, companies doing very forensic background checks on people. They buy data, they get their own data… They don't want their industry publicised.
A lot of people have a lot to gain from peddling scare stories about cyber 'warfare.'
If you really believe in a cause, let the cause speak for itself. And if you, by your personality, are damaging that cause, if you really believe in it, you step aside.
I'm a freedom of information campaigner, so obviously I support the cause of Wikileaks.
When journalism is treated as just another widget in a commercial enterprise, the focus isn't on truth, verification or public good, but productivity and output.
CCTV is seen either as a symbol of Orwellian dystopia or a technology that will lead to crime-free streets and civil behaviour. While arguments continue, there is very little solid data in the public domain about the costs, quantity and effectiveness of surveillance.
Public relations is at best promotion or manipulation, at worst evasion and outright deception. What it is never about is a free flow of information.
People are used to getting a lot of information quickly, and they're used to being quite empowered as consumers, and they go to governments expecting a similar treatment; they want to find data and they want to influence events quickly, and yet they come into this brick wall.
In whose interest is it to hype up the collapse of the Internet from a DDoS attack? Why, the people who provide cyber security services, of course.
When you're a crime reporter, you see the nub of what life's about, and you don't have much patience for the falsity of politics.
Unwarranted search and seizure by the government officials was unacceptable to the American revolutionaries. Shouldn't it be unacceptable in the digital age, too?
Britain's legal structure is basically the same as in feudal times: laws are written for the elite.
There's not a self-regulating group of nice fair-playing people in politics. There are a lot of dodgy people in politics.
If the public can't see justice being done, or afford the costs of justice, then the entire system becomes little more than a cozy club solely for the benefit of judges, lawyers and their lackeys, a sort of care in the community for the upper middle classes.
You don't make a system more effective by increasing the number of regulators.
As the news agenda goes into warp speed, it becomes ever more difficult for authors writing about current events to keep their books timely and relevant.
The hacker community may be small, but it possesses the skills that are driving the global economies of the future.
When I came to Britain I was in awe of the British press, afraid of them. But they're not as ferocious as people think. In some instances they are, but when it comes to taking on power they're really deferential.
If any of us were faced with a huge bag of free money and very little accountability, it would be human nature that you would make the most of it.
Digitization is certainly challenging the old ways of doing things, whether that's in publishing or politics. But it's not the end. In many ways, it is just the beginning.
It used to cost money to disclose and distribute information. In the digital age it costs money not to.
The biggest abuses in society happen when people are not able to communicate and not able to connect.
Slightly embarrassing admission: Even when I was a kid, I used to have these little spy books, and I would, like, see what everybody was doing in my neighborhood and log it down.
We pay a lot for our court service, but it's not enough. Courts are under-resourced, which leads to delayed justice – particularly in criminal courts.
Say what you will about Americans, but one thing they are not is passive. The Bush administration may have pushed through the Patriot Act weeks after 11 September, but, as the American public got to grips with how the law was affecting their individual rights, their protests grew loud and angry.
The speed with which WikiLeaks went from niche interest to global prominence was a real-time example of the revolutionizing power of the digital age in which information can spread instantly across the globe through networked individuals.
If Anonymous and Lulzsec are the id of hacking, then physical hackerspaces are the heart of the higher-minded hacking ideals: freedom of information, meritocracy of ideas, a joy of learning and anti-authoritarianism.
For information to be useful, it should be dynamic, searchable, and accessible.
Whether I'll get the chance to write fiction, I don't know. I could do political conspiracy thrillers, couldn't I? With an investigative journalist as the heroine.
Many of us are under the delusion that the police exist solely to deal with crime and keep us safe. That is to ignore the major focus of many of today's top cops on managing reputation – both of their force and, by default, their careers.
Hackerspaces are the digital-age equivalent of English Enlightenment coffee houses. They are places open to all, indifferent to social status, and where ideas and knowledge hold primary value.
I know people don't like America very much, but the one thing it's very good on is local government.
I never thought I would get married. I didn't think I was that type of person.
I trained as a journalist in America where paying sources is frowned upon. Now I work in the U.K. where there is a more flexible attitude.
It is quite surreal having a film made about your life. The whole process of turning real life into drama is interesting in itself, but even more so when it is your own life being put into the narrative forge.
I've always worked on the fringe of the British press establishment, carving out this niche for myself.
A generation of people are being radicalised by the criminalisation of information sharing.
When it comes to reforming MPs' expenses, the answer is simply to keep it simple: show us receipts as they're claimed and, where there are abuses, enforce the law.