Tuesday, October 18, 2016

WikiLeaks and the Dead Man's Code

No matter how you personally feel about Julian Assange and his organization Wikileaks, the silencing of his internet access is a clear attempt into pressuring him not to release the information he's in possession of. At this point, the cutting of his internet in the Ecuadorian embassy seems to be the action of a state actor who's attempting to quite WikiLeaks. I think it would foolish to think that this would stop WikiLeaks from moving on with their mission of transparency and is more of a power move by those concerned about what he might have.

WikiLeaks as an organization has proven to be resilient against attacks in the past (either by the financial blockade of denying VISA, Mastercard and PayPal the ability to process donations flowing to their site, Amazon dropping them off their service, constant DDoS attacks against their site, etc), but this particular attempt was more personal. I'm not sure what the mindset was of removing his internet access, but I would have to think those who orchestrated this outage would know he'd have contingency plans in effect for something of this nature.

Yesterday there were multiple tweets from the WikiLeaks Twitter account which people called a "Dean Man's Code". This started rumors that Assagne had been killed and that these were decryption codes for sensitive information about to be released. They have since been deleted, but are being considered per-commitment codes or a way to prove authenticity of any downloads of the dumps of documentation WikiLeaks has in their possession. After his latest dumps against Hilary Clinton there has been rumors that the documents were being edited, or that they were fake. Maybe this is Wikileaks attempt to validate them before being downloaded.
Either way, it's a difficult place for both parties involved. Assange has been holed up in the embassy for years and is supposedly in bad health. For someone that contains potential damaging information against another party it would be dangerous to think he'd be pressured into following along. He's cornered right now and that makes him even more dangerous to his opposition.

It's should also be mentioned that WikiLeaks only publishes what they're given. There's a fair amount of editing down to the documents themselves, but they're being given to this organization because people feel the need to shed light on what they deem inappropriate behavior. If there's damaging information to people within these leaks it wasn't this group that went out and "stole" them, they were given the documents and WikiLeaks has made it their duty to attempt to bring transparency to a situation they deem important.

We need to consider all things in perspective when thinking about WikiLeaks. Many people don't like the organization because of Assange's ego, the way they seem to be attacking certain individuals, or the damage to a group these documents may shed. At the end of the day it's my opinion that by trying to intimidate WikiLeaks into going quite also intimidates whistleblowers from having a voice. This in my opinion, is bigger than Julian and Hiliary's ego combined. There needs to be a place people can alert of wrong doing (after multiple attempts to take make the problem known through standard channels) and for the time being that place seems to be WikiLeaks.

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