Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Keeper of secrets


N A VERY short time, Julian Assange has become one of the most intriguing people in the world. The mysterious Australian founder of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks is as elusive as the public servants, spooks and - he assures me - cabinet ministers who regularly drop their bombshells from the anonymity of his cyberspace bolt-hole.

Of no fixed address, or time zone, Assange has never publicly admitted he is the brains behind the website that has so radically rewritten the rules in the information era. (He acknowledges registering a website, Leaks.org, in 1999, but denies ever having done anything with it.) He has never even admitted his age - although this is not so hard to work out from the parts of his life that journalists have so far been able to piece together.

''Are you 38?'' I ask. He gives an unintelligible response. So that's a yes? ''Something like that.''

Far more tantalising, however, is what he says are some very, very big leaks to come - apparently within weeks. ''Right now we are sitting on history-making stuff,'' he says.

Wikileaks appeared on the internet three years ago. It acts as an electronic dead drop for highly sensitive, or secret information: the pure stuff, in other words, published straight from the secret files to the world. No filters, no rewriting, no spin. Created by an online network of dissidents, journalists, academics, technology experts and mathematicians from various countries, all with similar political views and values apparently, the website also uses technology that makes the original sources of the leaks untraceable.


(Full article linked in title. Very interesting - worth checking out)

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